Colin McComb Interview

Russian RPG-focused website RPGNuke has published an interview with Torment: Tides of Numenera's creative lead Colin McComb. As you might assume, most of the questions focus on the upcoming Kickstarter-funded Torment title, but there's still space for some Planescape-focused questions and some general RPG chat:

Excluding praised-by-everyone-classics (like Fallout, Planescape: Torment etc) what are your favorite RPGs? Are there any modern RPG projects you are interested in/following?

So you're saying I have to skip the Gold Box D&D games and the Ultimas? Those were the formative games for me - Ultima II-VI especially - and I'd hate to rule those out. :)

For the modern projects, I plan to finish Wasteland 2 and play the final release of Pillars of Eternity. I really want to get to Divinity: Original Sin and Shadowrun, and am looking forward to seeing what Brian Mitsoda is cooking up with Dead State.

I know that you worked on a number of interesting projects, which were unfortunately canceled. What were they and on what stage they were canceled?

Let's see... there was the original Playstation Planescape game. I spent about six months on that before Interplay management realized that they were developing three separate Planescape titles and it would be a better idea to focus on a single one. As you noted above, it was to be similar to King's Field, and it didn't get anywhere beyond a storyline, some rough maps, and some pitch documents written before I'd even showed up. The next major canceled project was the world I built for Torn, a Black Isle Studios original IP that featured design work from Adam Heine and Brian Mitsoda, among others. The world was intended to have the standard fantasy touchstones that could draw in players, but each of those foundations would be twisted. For instance, the dwarves were biomancers, four or five different sub-cultures competing against one another in endless war to see who could create the most fearsome monsters. They were the creators of the elves, who in turn were beautiful but soulless killing machines who had turned on their masters. Halflings were feral prairie dogs. I wrote about 128 pages for that, creating a reasonable geology for the world before building its history, living and dead civilizations, and mythologies and gods for each.

While it was a bummer to have those projects canceled, it didn't compare to a much larger cancellation I got a few years later. Having worked in a responsible adult industry (human capital management software, if you must know), I found a new opportunity to get back into making games. The company I worked for had been acquired by a Hollywood-payroll firm, and the owners were looking to get into the game industry. When they found out that I'd been involved with games, they asked my wife and me to develop a proposal to create a game studio for them. I flew out to California to pitch to the company's primary owner, and while I was in that meeting, the entire company was in the process of being shut down and its bank accounts swept by its creditors. I walked out of the meeting feeling extraordinarily positive about the future. until I got the phone call from my wife saying that she'd just received a company-wide email saying that employees shouldn't go into the office the next day or work on anything in our own time. That was a much rougher cancellation than the other two put together.