Planescape: Torment is the best. We’ve all been there. We all get it.
There’s this question The Nameless One asks at one point of the game, “I wonder what it was I said that made Death reject me?” the sole answer I can come up with being, “Whatever it was, it was well written. You’re now immortal. Good for us all.”
Yes. That’s right. He’s now immortal. I have seen a lot of games. A lot of, hundreds, more than hundreds. From the first Fallout in 1997, from the first Baldur’s Gate and the first Unreal Tournament in 1999, all through Age of Empires, the Heroes’ series, through Warcraft and Starcraft, to the last Fallout so far, Fallout 4, in 2015, and all of its subsequent DLCs in 2016. From the classic Deus Ex to the modern ones. And I am not even going to mention Mass Effect. Still, if I had to pick one single game to save from a nuclear holocaust, it would be, that’s right, You’ve guessed it, it would be the fabulous Torment.
To all who’d do the same – and, from looking at the crowdfunding campaign at hand, there’s quite a lot of us, I take it – it comes as no surprise whatsoever that the game’s spiritual successor, Torment: Tides of Numenera, is one of the most funded Kickstarter Projects of all time, reaching its minimum funding goal in about 6 hours and raising more than $4,000,000 in pledges from almost 75,000 backers in total.
Released in December 1999, its basic script 80,000+ words in total, the original Torment game is considered one of the biggest, if not the biggest, narrative breakthroughs in the medium, transcending the traditional boundaries of the “video game writing” in favor of – there’s no exaggeration on m’ side here – the actual literature. A good one. Not the “Pulitzer winning fiction” kind of good, but a good one nonetheless. With some strong philosophical underlining to it – and tens, hundreds, thousands of meaningful, ambiguous choices, each with its own set of deliberate and non-deliberate consequences to affect the world presented – it set the bar for all the character-driven stories in video games to follow. And did it set it high, this one! Did it set it high!
A snippet. The game has You assuming the role of The Nameless One. Deprived of all the memories, tattooed and scarred, You wake up – most naked – on some strange, disturbing table in some strange, disturbing room, in some strange, disturbing building, in some strange, disturbing world. Then, there is this floating skull – a floating, sarcastic skull, all bent on getting laid – that approaches You and tells You that the table is, in fact, a dissection table, the room – a dissection chamber, the building – a morgue, the world – one of hundreds. You have died, it appears, You have died more than once, each death to result in the loss of the memories from the past life. The tattoos and scars – the instructions to follow. The quest? To die. Yes, that’s right. To die. Indeed.
Not to mention that, of course, there’s also this ominous figure there: looped on killing You again and again, shadowing You all the time, chasing, it, paradoxically, prevents You from dying.
In one word, a masterpiece.
Will the Tides of Numenera live up to the expectations?
The hopes are high.
Torment: Tides of Numenera is developed by inXile Entertainment. The studio, comprising in part of the people who brought us the original Torment back in 1999, promises to deliver the fully finished game in Q1 2017. The release date, however, is susceptible to change, as it was moved several times now, the reason – quite obvious – to polish the content, performance, and writing.
Some screenshots from the game:
Image Credits: inXile Entertainment