Posted by Rampant Coyote on January 9, 2013
Holy crap. RPG fans, this could be big.
InXile is working with Monte Cook, one of the key people involved in creating the original D&D “Planescape” setting, to set the new game in Cook’s own custom pen-and-paper RPG universe. Thus, no need work out licensing with Hasbro. But it will be a spiritual sequel to Planescape: Torment, involving many of the original developers.
To be completely honest, I was never that thrilled with the Planescape setting, especially coming as it did in the middle of the 2nd edition D&D era when TSR was desperately trying to hide the actual mythological and theological foundation of their multiverse. They changed and renamed devils and demons so that they were outwardly not so much more than evil aliens from alternate dimensions. It never meshed well with my more traditional gaming universe. But ripped completely from that context to stand on its own (which is how many people played and enjoyed it), it was probably fine. As I hope this new one will be.
And beyond the refreshing alien-ness of the setting (which I’m sure will be just as alien in the new setting) and the existential/metaphysical quandaries it posed, it was really the quality of the characters and plot that made Planescape: Torment special. They had fun throwing certain tropes on their respective ears, layered on mysteries, and just built a quality RPG experience. I have heard that in many ways, the secret to Torment‘s success was the same as Fallout‘s: The project was of such low profile that it was left alone so the designers could really have fun with it.
With InXile’s demi-indie approach to developing these games, there’s hope that similar alchemy could be fostered with this spiritual sequel. We’ll see. Fargo sounds like he has a good handle on this, from the interview: “We know it hasn’t been done often in the game industry, but we’re envisioning Torment as a thematic franchise with certain themes that can expand over different settings and stories. We will focus on the same things that made people appreciate PST so much: overturning RPG tropes; a fantastic, unconventional setting; memorable companions; deep thematic exploration of the human condition; heavy reactivity (i.e., choice and consequences); an intensely personal (rather than epic) story.”
But dang it, I’m excited. I keep talking about how modern RPGs have maneuvered themselves into an ‘evolutionary dead-end’ where the only way out is to either merge with other genres, or to do what mainstream studios are loathe to attempt and actually use the greats of the past as launchpads to go off in new directions. Between the indies and stuff like this, it’s happening. It’s a fun time to be an RPG fan.
I look forward to hearing more about this one! I can’t believe I’m actually looking forward to another Kickstarter…
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