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What was the most important thing to you, going into creating Torment: Tides of Numenera?
For me personally, it was recapturing the exuberant weirdness of Planescape: Torment. That’s what I loved most about the game, and that’s what I still remember now, more than fifteen years after I first played it. In PST, I could remove my own eyeball, carry around my intestines, learn to understand the language of creatures who spoke in rebuses, engage in philosophical discussion with giant golems. Nearly every NPC was strange and memorable, with a unique voice that sounded different from everyone else. (At the time, as someone who was just getting started in game writing, this was a revelation to me, and it inspired me to be a better, more flexible writer.)
It was clear to me that the Planescape design team wasn’t worried about conforming to expectations or being too different from the usual fantasy fare – they were letting their imaginations run wild.
I wanted to do the same in TTON. Fortunately, we had the benefit of the Numenera setting, which encourages imagination. It’s a setting with a billion years of history and technology behind it, and literally anything can happen. We also had the benefit of some excellent, highly creative writers. When I was designing areas and coming up with strange NPCs and circumstances for the player to encounter, it was always a pleasant surprise to see how the writers fleshed out the characters and made them even more interesting than they’d been in the design documents.Based on my playthroughs of our first zone, Sagus Cliffs, I think we’ve succeeded in creating a highly imaginative world for players to explore. If anything, some of the later content feels more “Tormenty” than Sagus Cliffs – it keeps the weirdness, but it gets a little darker and feels even more like the original game.