bit-gamer: Torment: Tides of Numenera is being billed as a spiritual successor for Planescape: Torment. With a game that's been so popular for so long, how do you guys face up to that responsibility?
Very, very carefully. I was a designer on the original Planescape: Torment. I feel the success or failure of this thing even more keenly.
We will blame him directly, is what we're trying to say.
That's great. Thank you. When Brian Fargo offered me the gig, I almost didn't take it, because it's a really daunting responsibility. 'Hey guys, I'm going to remaster this thing that you loved, and who can say if I'm successful or not?' It turned out that I was talked into it. It didn't take that much talking into, but it's such a wonderful thing to be brought back into, to have the opportunity to do this. Honestly, we're approaching this game with very much the same philosophical frame of mind as Planescape: Torment.
The question in Planescape: Torment was, 'What can change the nature of a man?' This one is, 'What does one life matter?' These are complementary questions. They're not just restatements of the same thing. You ask the one question, then you ask the other. We're hoping that that same sort of philosophical immersion will provide people with the opportunity to have a thought-provoking game, and to actually, I guess, kind of take advantage of the potential of games, to explore deeper questions about their own lives.
bit-gamer: How do you you set about making a narrative that is still interesting to people, and kind of drags them to play through the whole game when there are so many other games out there these days?
It's a good question. Like we've said a few times, this isn't an epic, world-spanning thing. This is a personal story. You are being hunted, your life is in danger, but this story is yours.
We're trying to keep the stakes high for you throughout the game without being so overwhelming that it's just like, 'eh'. We want to keep it personally tangible, I guess, for the player in a way that they feel emotionally invested, and that's part of the reason we've taken such care in crafting these conversations and the direction of the narrative. We've gone through seven or eight major story iterations. It's like, 'okay, this does not grab me any more.' Okay, if we pull that out, then we've got to rebuild this and this and this. There's a whole series of cascades once you change one small thing. We've had to plan this out very carefully, and I guess the players are going to tell us whether or not we've managed to succeed.