Skip to main content

Chris Avellone blesses inXile's Planescape: Torment successor

His friend and PST key person Colin McComb in charge.

A successor to Planescape: Torment is happening. No it's not Project Eternity, no it's not Chris Avellone; it's Colin McComb (Planescape: Torment second in command) and inXile (Wasteland 2). And it has the blessing of Chris Avellone, the lead designer of PST.

Colin McComb told me this moments ago:

"As you may recall, Chris [Avellone] mentioned his ideas for a spiritual successor to Torment with some frequency over the summer. This stemmed (at least in part) from discussions he and I were having about the possibility of resurrecting the IP, and this led to my reaching out to Wizards of the Coast. That did not yield fruit, but it did get the two of us talking about what we'd like to see in any regard, and we both agreed that Planescape was not the best route for us to take anyway, due to the mechanical issues and editorial oversight WotC would want.

He's so excited!

"The Project: Eternity Kickstarter took them in a different direction than a direct successor. I told Chris that I would not work on a Torment successor without his approval. We talked about it for a bit, and he told me that he was entirely comfortable with me moving forward on a Torment game without him, and he gave me his explicit blessing to do it.

"Right now he's incredibly involved with Project: Eternity, and I do not want to distract him from a project that is incredibly important to his company. With that said, I would be happy - no, wait, overjoyed - to have him on board in any capacity whatsoever."

The project itself is still "waaaaaaaay early in pre-production", McComb told me. The team is still being put together.

Will it be funded via Kickstarter as Wasteland 2 was? "No comment," answered McComb. But it's very likely.

McComb's comments come after a wave of excited speculation sparked by his own blog post titled "What's Next?". He wrote this because he had more or less finished the Wasteland 2 work he was hired by Brian Fargo's inXile for.

After wondering out loud about what to do next he wrote: "The point is that of all the games I've written, the one that I keep circling back to is Torment. And now that the bulk of my work on Wasteland 2 is largely complete (with some iteration work that still needs to be done), I can start thinking about Torment seriously."

He then started discussing ideas for a new Torment game.

"The first step in designing a new Torment story is to ask the primary question. I'm older than I was when I worked on Torment, and my questions now are different than they were. I have children now, and I look at the world through their eyes and through mine, and that's changed me - in fact, the intervening years have changed me so much that I have new answers for the central story in the original Torment. So now that I know what can change the nature of a man, I ask: What does one life matter? … and does it matter at all?" he scribbled

"Then I'd re-examine the fundamentals of the setting. I'd put it some place other than Planescape. I'd use a system other than D&D, because I'd want to align the player's story axes along different lines than Good/Evil or Law/Chaos to something more subjective. The core of Torment is, after all, a personal story, and while we can be judged by others on the basis of our actions, arbitrarily aligning those actions on an external and eternally fixed line removes some of the agency from the player's game.

"I have a lot of ideas about what to put into a new Torment game," he closed, "but my primary goal would be to help the player tell a story that was evocative of the original Torment without aping it. To be faithful to the odyssey of the Nameless One, and to recognise that it has ended, and that stories of Torment are ongoing."

Add to this the backdrop of a company called Roxy Friday - which inXile's Brian Fargo is a part of and has used before to register trademarks - trademarking the name Torment a few days ago.

Brian Fargo popped up with this to say: "I commend the sleuthing abilities of the Codex. There are many other pieces to the pie on this project that I can't speak to yet which prevents me from much comment. I need to get the other elements in order so you can fully understand the detail, team, approach and reasoning first. There will lots of pleasant surprises but I had not planned on talking about it yet."

I brought together a small portion of the Planescape: Torment team in the summer for a post-mortem chit chat. I was joined by Colin McComb, Chris Avellone, Scott Warner and Adam Heine. Avellone and McComb even stayed around for a little not-for-my-ears chat after the session that resulted in McComb taking a position at inXile on Wasteland 2. I'd like to say I had something to do with it, but, well, you know.

Read this next