Torment: Tides of Numenera

Smart and commendably weird, InXile's homage to Planescape Torment doesn't exceed its inspiration but certainly does it proud.


Key events

FeatureInXile acquired by Microsoft: the interview

"We've had one hand tied behind our back; now, no longer."

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.

Torment: Tides of Numenera free update reinstates cut companion Oom

Torment: Tides of Numenera free update reinstates cut companion Oom

Plus: Voluminous Codex! Higher character tiers! More!

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.

Read more

Torment: Tides of Numenera gets first significant performance patch

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.

Read more

Planescape: Torment Enhanced Edition announced for iOS, Android, PC and Mac

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."

Read more

FeatureThe making of Torment: Tides of Numenera

A written and two-hour podcast accompaniment.

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.

InXile aware of Torment: Tides of Numenera issues, working on updates

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.

Read more

Torment: Tides of Numenera review

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.

Read more

Torment Tides of Numenera finally has a release date

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.

Read more

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.

Watch 30 minutes of the Torment: Tides of Numenera beta

VideoWatch 30 minutes of the Torment: Tides of Numenera beta

While chatting with creative lead Colin McComb.

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!

Read more

inXile saving Van Buren trademark for a rainy day

Black Isle's Fallout 3 codename not dead and buried.

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.

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 story behind Black Isle's cancelled PlayStation Planescape game

The story behind Black Isle's cancelled PlayStation Planescape game

The From Software effect, generations before Bloodborne.

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.

Read more

Numenera RPG hoping to become a film

The Kickstarter campaign is almost there.

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.

FeatureTorment: Tides of Numenera is still worth getting excited for

The quiet Kickstarter champion that's still on course for this year.

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.

Torment: Tides of Numenera debuts its first gameplay footage

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.

Read more