Torment: Tides of Numenera Post-funding Update #31: Delay and Production Details

We're still far from having a concrete release date in the first place, so it's not too shocking to learn that Torment: Tides of Numenera has been moved to the third quarter of 2015 from its initial "first half of 2015" window. Thankfully, the rest of the latest Kickstarter update for the game makes up for this disappointing (but understandable) bit of info with some juicy production details. Here's a snippet:

Now that we have a more certain roll-off plan for the production team from Wasteland to Torment, we're better able to predict the shape of our schedule. And, as you may have guessed, the first half of 2015 isn't realistic anymore and we're looking at the fourth quarter of 2015.

You may wonder how we can extend TTON's development for a year longer than planned. By running a small core team during the preproduction phase, we have been extremely efficient in developing the foundation and the pipeline for the game we make decisions more quickly, and we'll have set a strong vision to help eliminate uncertainty. This will help us make fewer mistakes as the full team ramps up. One year following TTON's Kickstarter, more than 80% of the development budget remained, so we have a lot of firepower for our production, beta, and finalization phases.


Over the past months, we've been working on three segments within the game. One of them is what we're calling the Breach, which is the opening of the game. The decision to have the beginning of the game be one of the things we did first was internally a slightly contentious one. Typically, the first areas you create for a game are the weakest because you haven't figured everything out yet. And you want your opening to be very strong, of course. We chose to put some emphasis on the game's beginning for a few reasons, namely:

  • The Numenera setting is welcomingly simple, yet deviously complex. It's easy to obtain a surface understanding of the concepts, but there are many nuances, especially in trying to present the exotic world to new players. This isn't a typical fantasy place and we want to immerse you in the Ninth World in ways that let you explore its mystery and wonder without handholding you.
  • Our story is complex, as are our characters. When we combine that with the rich setting, we have a lot of information to convey to you (or intentionally not). The beginning of the game has the clearest parameters here: We know (or assume) that you know nothing about the game or setting. And we know what we need you to grok (or at least be vaguely familiar with) by the end of the Breach. Focusing on this part tests out our ability to communicate to you if we have too much trouble doing so, we can simplify aspects of the story. That sort of difficulty is harder to detect when working on the middle of the game and it's harder to correct if unearthed after much content has been created.
  • The game's first Crisis occurs in the Breach. At this point in time you have no Focus or Type, so your abilities are limited. Therefore, to make this Crisis, we have only the core mechanics to work with in creating compelling gameplay. This is doubly beneficial: a) it makes us focus on getting those core mechanics right; and b) less programmer effort is required for all of the necessary features to be available.
  • [This is still many months away!] We want to share the beginning of the game with our Alpha Testers. Being a story-driven game, it's hard for us to share too much without risking ruining the experience. But the first few minutes seems fair game.
  • Partially related to the previous reason, we intend to iterate as much as is necessary on the opening to make it great, so the fact that it's one of the first areas we're creating won't affect its final quality anyway.