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January 18th, 2009, 09:35
Originally Posted by Avantenor View Post
I think the last years have been under the sign of the rising 3D graphics engines. PsT came out nearly at the peak of 2D gaming. After year 2000, games had to advance primary in a technical way. It was a new technology, a new way of thinking, it needs a completely different game philosophy than in the old days. It always needs some time to recognize the weakness and the strengths of a new technology. E.g the telephone has been seen in the first days as a method to transmit orchestra music over a long distance. They didn't see the real point in that technology. The same for the internet. In the beginning, they thought of it as an exchange for scientific essays. Even the first homepages mainly consisted of business descriptions like a commercial flyer. Compare the old days to Web 2.0 nowadays, it's totally different how we use it.

3D engines had and still have a big influence on PC gaming. But it needed some time to get it under control. For me 3D technology now seems to have evolved long enough to create a similar game experience than PsT. For me the so called NextGen games are an indicator for the next step. It's not all about graphics anymore. It's still important, but they don't rush for it any longer. Creating a believeable world and filling it with a motivating gameplay. Take a look at Bioshock, GTA IV or Assassin's Creed. Even if not perfect, they are way better than many of the games between 2000 and 2005/6.

It's simple a question of time, when we will see another milestone like PsT.

Personally I think Max Payne was such a Milestone in terms of storytelling. And Deus Ex in terms of level design and nonlinearity combined with a motivating story and a simple, but also demanding gameplay
Torment wasn't released at the peak of 2D gaming, it was released near the end. Now, 3D gaming hasn't peaked yet - but after Doom in 1993, it's steadily become the way to go. Think of games like Ultima Underworld and System Shock - both before the middle of the nineties - and you'll realise that technology didn't dictate depth of gameplay, even back then. Note that none of those games were "true 3D" - but that's irrelevant.

I know there's this idea that technology is constantly evolving, and the evolution of gameplay is stagnating - but in my opinion it has very little to do with technology itself. Also, Torment was basically an interactive book with RPG elements, and definitely not the flag-carrier for advanced gameplay. No, the story and presentation would hold it back today, not the simplistic gameplay.

But as I said, technology is not the problem. It's the audience - and before we can see a modern equivalent of PS:T, we need the general audience ready for such an experience. When I say equivalent - I mean in terms of production values. Torment had reasonably good production values, which means the investment was not insignificant. That's really the key to a repeat, that a reasonable investment will yield a reasonable return.

The problem with big developers today, is that they all seek the gold. They all aspire to the big hit, and none of them seem content to invest small and yield small profit. No, they MUST hit it big. It's a mystery to me, really, as a company like Bioware/EA could easily make a few games for smaller markets and ultimately profit by investing less than they're used to.

I guess that's not what you do in America.

Anyway, the only shot we have of another Torment, though I'm not personally a fan, is to have a talented indie developer make a go for it.

I don't see the general audience ever being ready for another Torment, or at least not one that's as demanding in terms of reading superfluous text.
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