The Power of Introspective Narrative

Planescape: Torment and Torment: Tides of Numenera fans will find this editorial on Medium to be of particular interest, as the author offers both a retrospective for the former and his personal thoughts on what the latter might offer in regard to narrative design. A sampling from each section of the article:
In a nutshell Torment is a tale of self-determination, commitment and redemption. It is told by a troupe of bizarro characters: The Nameless One, a scarred barbarian-looking amnesiac with a mysterious past; Morte the flying skull; Fall-from-grace, a succubus turned intellectual courtesan; Ignus, the ever-burning wizard, whom you yourself sentenced to eternal torment (!) in a previous life. . It takes place against a backdrop of a caricature fantasy world where magic, gods, planes of existence, angels, demons and every other supernatural trope are common-place, matter-of-fact occurrences.

It may seem a bit self-indulgent at first, but it does come together well. Like a good drink, each ingredient stands on its own, yet if gently shaken, it creates a potent, memorable experience.

There are many individual qualities that set Torment apart from its siblings. As if to prove a point it takes every computer game cliche and throws it out the window. It is a game in which you achieve more by insulting, persuading, lying and guessing rather than fighting. A game in which there are no magic armors or flaming swords, in which you can sacrifice your companions for your own selfish goals. It compels you to make moral choices that make you cringe at the keyboard, and makes you second-guess and doubt your own moral spine. Torment is a game in which the main characters has no name.


Last but not least, the twenty-something designers of 1999 are now in their forties. Their creative output has matured. They have all fallen from grace themesleves after Planescape, and are no strangers to commercial and artistic failures (though to be frank also a few critical and commercial successes: Knights of the Old Republic II, New Vegas).

Will this result in a more serious game, a more cautious and less self-indulgent one? Or a boring one? Can this team deliver the same juvenile passion, dark humor and bravado again, after a decade?

More than seventy five thousand people put their money down in a belief (hope?) that this team can indeed deliver.

I don't doubt that inXile will approach the project professionally, equipped with superior technology, advanced content creation pipelines and a fantastic design team. They will also enjoy one of the benefits of Kickstarter funding, that removed the pesky publisher from the equation: total creative freedom.