Torment: Tides of Numenera - Interview @ Gamestar.ru
Gamestar.ru has an interview with Torment: Tides of Numenera leads Colin McComb, Kevin Saunders and Adam Heine.
First we get more details on the story.
Tell us about the story and the world of Torment: Tides of Numenera in more detail? Who is the main character? Whom he will fight?
Colin: The Ninth World of Numenera is a far-future Earth — a billion years in the future. They call it the Ninth World because they say that eight great civilizations have come and gone on the earth: civilizations that onceacted as the hub of star-spanning empires, or that mastered the folding of time of space, or who had mastered the shaping of worlds, and more. They have left an indelible imprint on the face of the planet, and they share another feature: they have all vanished, leaving behind remnants of their knowledge and their tools. Now humanity rebuilds on the shattered ruins of these ancient civilizations, in a world filled with the unimaginable energies of forgotten races, and begins to discover its place in a universe that is very, very different from the one we know.
It’s against this backdrop that our story begins. A man decided he did not want to die — his reasons are lost to time — and discovered a way to grow a new body and transfer his mind into that new body. Over the course of thousands of years, he has lived countless lives in countless bodies… but what he doesn’t know — or perhaps doesn’t care to know — is that when he leaves those bodies, they don’t die. Instead, they begin their own lives in near-immortal shells, with no memory of the mind they housed before.
Something about the process has awoken an old enemy — the Angel of Entropy. It finds the Changing God and vows to eliminate his works, and now it hunts the PC.
You play the Last Castoff — a shell of the Changing God, on the run from the Angel of Entropy, in a desperate search for answers in a world where it seems nearly anything is possible.
Then came the gameplay questions. This is only three of them.
What about the gameplay? What can you say about the role-playing system of Tides of Numenera?
Adam: We're adapting the system for Monte Cook's tabletop RPG Numenera. Numenera has a ridiculously smooth tabletop system, with only three character statistics, broad skill definitions, and a strong emphasis on collaborative storytelling. But we won't be creating a computerized version of the tabletop game—that would be too simplistic for a CRPG. Instead, we're working closely with Monte to adapt and add to the tabletop rules in a way consistent with Monte's vision for the game, while still being complex and interesting enough for a CRPG.
We're still at work adapting it, but what we do know is there will still be three character stats. There will be a defined set of skills, including some skills not found in a typical RPG. And we're working on ways to adapt Numenera's unique GM intrusion and XP mechanics.
How much the player will be free in choosing what he will do? Will an open world be in Torment: Tides of Numenera?
Adam: It won't be a true open world in the sense that you can go wherever you want in search of the next story thread. But giving the player choices that matter is very important to us. So while the player might not be able to walk all over the world map until they meet certain story beats, they will have a variety of choices of how to reach those beats, each of which will have a significant impact on the story and the world. Additionally, though the story beats may determine which locations the player has access to, they will have significant freedom of movement within those locations.
How serious our choices and actions will affect the storyline? How many endings will be in the game?
Adam: Like I said, one of our primary goals is to give the player choices that matter. They won't be easy choices either. You might be asked to choose between sacrificing a companion or allowing a village to be destroyed—or you might find a third option which will have consequences of its own. The theme driving the story is "What does one life matter?" and throughout the game, you'll find that your choices and actions matter very much.
And I just had to include this. Maybe we can learn a thing are two from his answer. We always talk about this on the watch.
In recent years, the concept of role-playing games was blurred a bit. For example, we have The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim with hundreds of skills and spells and endless loot, and we have Mass Effect with pure action gameplay. Nevertheless, both mentioned games are RPGs, and each of them has the high scores from players and press. What is the role-playing game for you?
Kevin: Even in their earlier years, RPGs had quite a wide variety in terms of the gameplay. Wasteland had an open, reactive world and conversations with NPCs. Eternal Dagger had intricate tactical combat and extensive character customization, but no NPC interactions. Legend of Zelda had action gameplay and environment puzzles. I think some of the distinctions have become clearer over time because there have been more games — you can start to group several games together whereas initially each RPG was pretty much its own type of experience.
My introduction to RPGs came with D&D in 1980 and then games like The Bard’s Tale, Zork I (I know this may not be considered an RPG today), Treasure of Tarmin (for the Intellivision), Ultima III. For me it was indeed about the «role-playing» part. By this I mean that you were imagining yourself as this other person (or group of persons, or yourself in some cases) creating a story of how they responded to (and influenced) the world and its situations, how they achieved their goals.
I don’t worry about definitions very much anymore. I don’t mean that definitions aren’t important — having common terminology is critical to communicating with others. But what makes something an RPG, or not, doesn’t strike me as a very practical thing to consider. Each game is trying to create its own experience for the player and there are so many valid combinations of features and approaches.
That was one thing I love about (Torment). With just that one word, gamers have a pretty good sense of what kind of game we’re making. By describing our four pillars of gameplay (a deep, thematically satisfying story; a world unlike any other; a rich, personal narrative; reactivity, choice, and real consequence), we further cement what Torment is about. It provides a strong, clear vision — one that our backers have told us they want. We know what we are making; now we just have to craft it.