On Saturday 10th November, Microsoft announced buying Californian role-playing game developers inXile Entertainment and Obsidian Entertainment. Two studios independent which had fought for survival for a decade-and-a-half were now under the Xbox umbrella. The message from Microsoft was reassurance: don't worry, nothing will change, we won't kill them - they'll continue to make the games you love, only they'll have more resources and support available to "fully realise" their ambitions. Nevertheless, questions remained.
"We've had one hand tied behind our back; now, no longer."
28th February 2017
14th December 2016
27th January 2016
18th September 2014
The rumours were true: Microsoft Studios is buying Obsidian Entertainment. It's also, in an unexpected twist, buying inXile Entertainment.
Cut companion Oom - the Toy - has arrived in Torment: Tides of Numenera, along with the lore-expanding Voluminous Codex and a clump of game changes, including the addition of tiers (character levels) five and six.
This is a free update, as promised. Torment: Tides of Numenera update 1.1.0 is available on PC now and is coming to PS4 and Xbox One in the "near future".
Oom is a blob of a character, maybe an organism, maybe a construct, whose abilities and development depend on your desires. In theory Oom has sounded great, but how much of that has made it into the game I don't know.
The first significant Torment: Tides of Numenera update addressing annoying performance issues has been rolled out on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The upshot of the many nips and tucks - listed in the longer Torment patch notes - is to make the game a pacier, less stuttery experience, which was a particularly noticeable problem in the console versions. Frame-rates have been improved, then, as have combat encounters.
Be warned there are slight spoilers in the patch notes.
UPDATE 29TH MARCH: The Enhanced Edition of Planescape: Torment will be released 11th April on PC and Mac for £15. Mobile Android and iOS versions are "coming soon" and will cost $9.99.
What will the Enhanced Edition have that modded versions of Planescape: Torment currently do not? "Lots!" answered the official website. "A new interface rebuilt for 4K, better compatibility with modern hardware, no loading times between areas, a remastered musical score, and great Enhanced Edition features like quickloot, zooming, floating combat log, widescreen support, and more. And, of course, less hassle because you don't need to mod your game to get it running properly."
What exactly has Chris Avellone, lead designer of PST, done for the Enhanced Edition? "He reviewed and approved all user interface adjustments and did an editorial pass of all the text in the game," said the website. "In addition, in the few instances where new text was needed (ie. additional journal entries and special ability descriptions), Chris wrote the text himself."
One 4am nearly five years ago I ended a Skype call and went to sleep, but two of the people I was chatting to stuck around. They were Chris Avellone and Colin McComb. I had been speaking to them, and others, about Planescape: Torment, a game they all helped make. And it was a really good game. A legend, if you like.
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UPDATE 10.30PM: Developer inXile has released a fuller statement, sent to Eurogamer, about the issue. It reads:
"Though many of our players have finished the game without issues on all platforms, a few players on consoles have reported that they are running into performance drops. We have heard your feedback and want to assure you we are already investigating these reports and looking into solutions.
"Currently, we've identified that performance drops can occur in some of the game areas that have more characters and visual effects, and can also be triggered by background memory cleanup while playing. If you have any specific feedback about how we can improve, such as certain locations or situations you have experienced trouble with, please let us know and we'll mark those for investigation.
Kickstarter-fuelled nostalgia or not, it takes more than a little self-confidence to name your game after one of the smartest, most beloved, most respected RPGs ever made. That's not a percussion heavy soundtrack you're hearing in Not Planescape Torment: Numenera, just the clanking of its giant brass balls. And yet somehow, against the odds, inXile does it proud. To be clear, Planescape remains by far the superior Torment, but Numenera is as close as anyone's gotten to not just recreating what it did, but the experience of discovering it.
Both games have their roots in pen-and-paper universes, though as with Planescape, it actually helps not to know much about the world so that you can learn along with the main character. You're not an immortal amnesiac this time, but rather the 'Last Castoff' - in brief, there's an entity called the Changing God who likes building himself new bodies every decade or so, then just dumping the old one. That's you this time, though like your brothers and sisters, you retain your consciousness, and are a relatively common sight in the world.
It's a fantastic world, too. Numenera is SF rather than fantasy, set on top of eight civilisations' worth of toys and wreckage that range from familiar robots to full-on demonstrations of Clarke's Third Law that any sufficiently advanced technology can be combined with a silly hat to make its user look like a wizard. It's a multicolour world of strange floating doohickies and spinning triangles and particle fountains and ancient clocks the size of buildings, and honestly a real breath of fresh air after the far more traditional settings of recent RPGs like Pillars of Eternity and Tyranny and even The Witcher 3.
Torment: Tides of Numenera developer inXile has issued an apology, following the discovery that certain stretch goals promised in the game's then-record-breaking 2013 crowdfunding campaign have not materialised.
Funny to think a brand new Torment game is nearly here. Four and a half years ago it was a dream, an exciting idea, but on 28th February, Torment: Tides of Numenera lands.
I've never seen a kind of Choose Your Own Adventure YouTube video game before, but here's one for role-playing game Torment: Tides of Numenera. It's a great fit.
Torment Tides of Numenera finally has a release date: 28th February 2017. It came out as a Steam Early Access title in January.
InXile's sci-fi fantasy role-playing game is set for release on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Techland, developer of the original Dead Island and Dying Light, has signed on as distributor.
The video, below, shows Torment running on an Xbox One.
The famous computer role-playing game Planescape: Torment, and the new video game Torment: Tides of Numenera are peas in a pod, linked by the same deep, philosophical themes - their joint heritage referenced by the shared Torment title. But whereas Planescape is a weird Dungeons & Dragons setting we've had years to get our heads around, Numenera is a role-playing setting that's completely new - and no less strange.
It's Torment: Tides of Numenera running on console! Moreover, it's new areas of the game we haven't seen before. And look at the user interface: someone's had a makeover haven't they?
PC role-playing game Torment: Tides of Numenera will also be released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
UPDATE 11:45AM BST: Eurogamer can confirm that Techland, the Polish company behind Dying Light, will publish Torment: Tides of Numenera. It will be the first game Techland has published as part of a brand new venture.
A weird scene catches my eye. There's a man standing on a rostrum with a creepy mummy-like figure behind him, and it's wrapping a rope around him - a rope coming from his mouth! Rank! I have to know more.
Here I am, Mr Smartarse, thinking I know all about role-playing games and what the boundaries are - the lines developers will cross and won't. And then I play Torment: Tides of Numenera and in the first two minutes I am stunned.
What are you doing for the next, say, half-an-hour? Nothing? Oh that's good because I've got a video for you to settle into.
Torment: Tides of Numenera has arrived... sort of. Three years after the record-breaking Kickstarter campaign, the thematic successor to Planescape: Torment is playable via Steam Early Access, which means it isn't quite finished but there are around 10 hours of a much larger game to enjoy.
To mark the occasion I phoned creative lead Colin McComb, who had kindly recorded some game footage for me, and we waffled over the top. Mute us if you like, and focus on the game's painterly locations and evocative writing, but you'll miss some interesting tidbits if you do - promise!
InXile's crowd-funded fantasy role-playing game Torment: Tides of Numenera launches in beta form this month.
InXile's Torment: Tides of Numenera has been pushed to 2016. It never had a rock solid 2015 date but the hope was to have it out in quarter four.
Because you don't directly earn experience points for combat in Torment: Tides of Numenera - you may as part of a quest - it means combat is handled a little differently.
Van Buren was the codename for a game Black Isle Studios intended to be Fallout 3. But in 2003 Black Isle went down with the Interplay ship and the series would eventually be resuscitated by Bethesda - a series that will continue, maybe as soon as this year, with Fallout 4.
InXile Entertainment has just released a new video showing off in-development story-driven classic role-playing game Torment: Tides of Numenera.
Colin McComb has a soft-edged voice, which offers a nice contrast to the intense stare his face can't help but settle into. Bald and gaunt and wiry in that peculiarly American way, he is what my grandfather would have called a railway man. But McComb is not a railway man. On the day I meet him at Rezzed, he is a dungeon master: the same preoccupation with nuts and bolts as a guy who rides the rails, perhaps, but these nuts and bolts hold together story and far more exotic materials - and McComb's rails can take you anywhere.
The Souls effect will reach fever pitch this week with the release of Bloodborne, and very important gaming people at lunch around the world will wonder how they can copy it. Feels like a recent thing, given that Dark Souls appeared in 2011 to really kick it all off. But as I discovered, in something of a crypt in London recently, the Souls effect was felt a long, long time ago.
It's 1996 and Super Mario 64 has come out, Quake has come out, Tomb Raider has come out. The Spice Girls are only just coming out (I could have worded that differently). Meanwhile, over in America, Colin McComb writes Planescape campaigns for Dungeons & Dragons. But he wants to go to California because there's this girl there. Then he sees his chance.
"Come on out and be the lead designer of this PlayStation game that we're doing with the Planescape licence," a company offers him.
Numenera is a role-playing game like Dungeons & Dragons except it's new, a 2012 Kickstarter success. It's the foundation for the computer game Torment: Tides of Numenera. And now there could be a film about it.
It seems like a long time ago we got excited about Torment: Tides of Numenera, the record-breaking Kickstarter game. Things were quiet in gaming back then, and bringing back beloved old games in new ways was exciting. But the world has moved on, new consoles launched, and similar kinds of nostalgic Kickstarter games eventually came out. Excitement naturally died down.
Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera developer inXile said that it's begun work on an unannounced, but "passionately demanded" RPG to be revealed in 2015.
Torment: Tides of Numenera, the highly anticipated Kickstarter-funded follow-up to Planescape: Torment, has finally revealed its first gameplay footage in a new video.
Developed by inXile, who is currently busy wrapping up the last minute details on Wasteland 2, this spiritual successor set a record for being the highest-funded game on Kickstarter after it raised nearly $4.2 million from 83K backers in April 2013.
Based on this first look, Tides of Numenera certainly seems heavy on text, just like fans like it. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but why not have both? This latest Torment adventure certainly seems to have its cake and eat it too in that regard.
InXile has pushed the release of Torment: Tides of Numenera back to Q4 2015. We had previously been expecting it in the first half of the year.
For Torment: Tides of Numenera the votes are in, and a decision about whether combat will be turn-based or 'real-time with pause' has been made.
InXile isn't sure whether gameplay in Kickstarter champion Torment: Tides of Numenera should be turn-based or real-time with pause. So it's gone down to a vote.
Update: The final Torment: Tides of Numenera tally has come in and it's ended at $4,188,927.
Torment: Tides of Numenera will need "a few months" more development time than originally expected.
Update #3: InXile has shared a video of the Sagus Cliffs area in Torment: Tides of Numenera. It's another Unity tech test.
Chris Avellone was the lead designer of Planescape: Torment, his number-two was Colin McComb. Colin McComb is the lead designer of Torment: Tides of Numenera, that thematic successor to PST that's absolutely flying on Kickstarter.
Update 2: Torment: Tides of Numenera has already achieved its $900,000 Kickstarter goal in about six hours. That's got to be some kind of record, right?
For months I believed Wizards of the Coast had, for whatever reason, declined use of the Planescape Dungeons & Dragons licence for another video game.
InXile's successor to Planescape: Torment has a whole new ruleset.