A Conversation With the Creators of Torment: Tides of Numenera

While this interview from GameRanx doesn't really add anything we don't already know about Torment: Tides of Numenera, you might still want to read it if you admire Colin McComb and George Ziets' past work as much as I do. Here's an excerpt on the philosophy the team embraced while writing the game:

“From the designer’s perspective, we can justify anything,” McComb said, listing off technologies that can bend time and space or rekindle suns.

“Because of how the world is, and how you can justify literally anything based on some technology in the past, we just let our imaginations run crazy,” said Ziets.

“We wanted to make this a game about your choices, and about the things you do,” McComb told me. “So to that end we wrote about a million words.”

As a point of reference, the average thriller novel is around 100,000 words. The reason there’s so much writing is because, McComb and Ziets say, every decision node produces more potential outcomes. If you’re making a game where decisions matter, and where, as they say, the world “flows around those decisions,” by definition your “end states” are going to vary more as you create more nodes. And each of those endings needs more writing. This focus on writing is clear in the game, where you routinely have seven or eight or more response options in each dialogue tree.

“We have quests with twelve different end states,” Zeits said. “And we consciously made the decision to embrace that on this game, because we wanted to make sure that we paid off on the choices and consequences we promised.”