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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Planescape: Torment - What's in a Face?

Default Planescape: Torment - What's in a Face?

October 26th, 2011, 23:28
If you've been around for a while you may know the face on the cover of the Planescape: Torment box was the producer, Guido Henkel (also well known for his work with the Realms of Arkania series and then with Sir-tech). The Rampant Coyote noticed a new entry at Guido's blog that tells how that came about, and offers a couple of photos:
Well, who am I to say no? So, the next day I went to the photo shoot. The really cool part about it is that we needed a monster-like look on the cover, as the character to be portrayed was undead. The agency had hired Hollywood special effects guru Tom Burman for the job, so I went to his workshop in Burbank. It was bit surreal, to walk into his studio and seeing all the work he had done on all sorts of movies, going way back to the original “Planet of the Apes” movies.
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October 26th, 2011, 23:28
But apparently the makeup was so good, it scared away potential buyers in droves from one of the best RPGs of all time?

Give that makeup artist an award!
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October 27th, 2011, 00:02
In my case, the hall in which the character woke up in nearly scared me away !
Not the box !

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October 27th, 2011, 04:17
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
But apparently the makeup was so good, it scared away potential buyers in droves from one of the best RPGs of all time?

Give that makeup artist an award!
The whole reason they did the photo shoot was that owner(s) of Interplay were trying to mandate some sort of silly box cover art, so the Planescape team threw it together on a shoestring budget instead. I always thought it had been the plan that Guido be the model for it — but he says he was filling in for a no-show model.
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October 27th, 2011, 04:34
But why was the face blue? Honestly it's a lousy cover.
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October 27th, 2011, 05:00
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
But apparently the makeup was so good, it scared away potential buyers in droves from one of the best RPGs of all time?
I did not know that. Are you being serious or just joking?

That reminds me of the controversy over Ultima 8's Pentagram that was on the front cover of the U8 box. I seem to recall a few organizations having a hissy-fit over it. Not really that similar, but the end result was the same. Less copies of the games were sold because of a box cover.

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October 27th, 2011, 05:10
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
I did not know that. Are you being serious or just joking?
No joke but I almost didn't buy the game myself because I was embarrassed to bring it up to the counter to buy. At the time, I didn't know anything about other than it as D&D and it used the Baldur's Gate engine which I loved so I went ahead and bought it anyway. I cannot imagine too many mothers buying for their kids either. They would have been better off just showing the Lady of Pain's symbol or something.
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October 27th, 2011, 20:11
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
I did not know that. Are you being serious or just joking?
I can't remember where I read it, but that was one of the reasons given for its poor initial sales. It certainly is one of the ugliest box covers I've ever seen.
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October 27th, 2011, 22:22
ultima viii pagan was the only game i've ever bought at/on bx (military exchange). i was with my grandparents at the time too so looking back in retrospect makes the situation even more amusing.

the fallout cover actually shied me away from buying the game at the time. still not a fan of the brotherhood of steel helmets or really anygame box that doesn't have an actual face on it, or at least not a "storm trooper" one.

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October 28th, 2011, 00:08
Huh. I rather like it - it looks intriguing to me.

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October 28th, 2011, 00:44
In a way, doesn't an ugly cover fit one of the themes of the game? As in, what you see on the surface isn't always what it seems? I guess it doesn't help sales to have a metaphor on the cover if people just think it's ugly though

Really though, I don't see the cover as ugly and in fact I kind of like it - I just wish Morte was on it somewhere. If the cover truly had an effect on sales, that would be quite a tragedy.
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October 28th, 2011, 05:08
Yeah the cover works once you've played the game. However, considering how shallow we are, I can see people looking at it and not wanting to pick it up. I remember seeing it before playing the game and thinking it looked like crap. I only picked it up because I heard of it through word of mouth.
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October 28th, 2011, 05:25
Originally Posted by Grimlorn View Post
I remember seeing it before playing the game and thinking it looked like crap. I only picked it up because I heard of it through word of mouth.
I just remember reaching for my wallet as soon as I saw "AD&D" on the front of the box and "Infinity Engine" on the back.
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October 28th, 2011, 21:18
I'm glad I'm not the only one. When this came out, the cover turned me off. I can't remember the specifics anymore and I know it sounds stupid, but I got the feeling it wasn't going to be my kind of game. I think I thought it was Rob Zombie or something. And the "darkness" of the title (at the time) probably added to my snap reaction. If I'd known it was a deep RPG I certainly would have bought it right up, but I didn't even get that far. I figured it was meant for a less… thoughtful crowd. How wrong I was eh?

I didn't actually play it until it hit bargain bins a couple years after and, of course, it became probably my favorite game.

So, yeah, don't judge a game by its cover may be obvious, but sometimes we make stupid snap decisions and forget to revisit it with intelligence later.
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October 29th, 2011, 03:57
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
I just remember reaching for my wallet as soon as I saw "AD&D" on the front of the box and "Infinity Engine" on the back.
They already had me sold with the ad when you installed …..BG II: TOB?? or was it BG II? Can't remember which one. I think when you installed BG II it had the trailer for Descent and when you installed BG II: TOB it showed Planescape.

That trailer had me hooked the moment I saw how different it was. I hardly even noticed the box when I went to buy it. I zeroed in on the title and developer and grabbed that sucker up with hardly a second glance at the front cover.

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October 29th, 2011, 04:18
Yeah, that's true. Maybe I liked the box because I already knew I was going to buy it.

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October 29th, 2011, 04:23
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
They already had me sold with the ad when you installed …..BG II: TOB?? or was it BG II? Can't remember which one. I think when you installed BG II it had the trailer for Descent and when you installed BG II: TOB it showed Planescape.
I doubt it was ToB since that didn't come out until 2001, and Planescape was released in 1999. Are you sure it wasn't Icewind Dale that had the trailer?

Damn it, don't make me look for my CDs.
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October 29th, 2011, 04:27
Seriously, I can't remember which. It might have been Baldur's Gate 1….though I think it was an expansion. Either BG1 expansion or BG2 expansion. I know that much because everytime I reinstall these games I have to go through the stupid Descent trailer, but then come to that really nice Planescape trailer.

You may be right and it was Icewind Dale. I've got them all installed on my computer so it's got to be one of them. Had to reinstall them when I bought this new computer. No computer can ever not have BG 1, 2, Planescape, Icewind Dale 1 and 2 on it. They're always one of the first games I reinstall.

There's a trailer for Icewind Dale II as well in one of those games.

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October 29th, 2011, 06:14
Must have been the BG1 Expansion or IWD because BG2 was released 3-6 months after PS:T. I found it much easier to forgive the interface before the new and improved ones came out. Though I still think PS:T had one of the better interfaces of all the infinity engine games.
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October 29th, 2011, 11:29
From memory (since I've installed IE games fairly recently):

BG1 - Torment video
IWD - BG2 video
BG2 - IWD2 video
IWD2 - NWN

Something like that. Not 100% sure though.

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