Torment: Tides of Numenera Update #63: A Look Back on Development

A new Kickstarter post-funding update is up for InXile's Torment: Tides of Numenera. It reminds us about the interactive quest video from a while back, provides links to a number of previews of the game, and talks a bit about Monte Cook's Palimpsest Torment novella.

Apart from that, the bulk of the update has Colin McComb addressing the recent controversy surrounding the cut content and abandoned stretch goals. The short version is: things change, development scope isn't really clear at the start, and the thing they regret most is the lack of transparency surrounding all of this. From this point onward, things are promised to improve on that front. Which, I hope we can agree, is a good thing. An excerpt:

As with any creative work, game development is an iterative and uncertain process. When we over-funded at a higher level than we could ever have expected, that led to an increase in scope and size of the game accordingly. We went from one major city hub to two. We added new companions, more locations such as the Ascension, the Castoff's Labyrinth, new cults like the Dendra O'hur, and more. We added Meres to the game, whole text-based mini-stories that themselves have their own reactivity and many branching paths, and even more surprises to find. We have an expanded soundtrack that's longer than Planescape: Torment's by a decent margin, and a universe rich enough to fill multiple novellas.

During the Kickstarter, we had to move fast. We had to make decisions and add content on the fly. The problem is, as with any plan, some of those decisions looked great on paper but didn’t survive contact with reality. Building a game is not a straight line from start to finish. It’s not as simple as creating a design document, implementing it, and shipping it. It’s an endlessly iterative process, one where ideas must be thought up, discussed, prototyped, iterated on again, and tested in game. The cycle repeats frequently. Sometimes, these ideas don’t work out the way you intended or just don’t feel like they fit properly in the theme of the game. A lesson we've taken away since the Kickstarter campaign is to avoid being too specific in detailing early designs, locations, and characters – it's fun and exciting at the time for us and you, but...

Well, what can change the nature of a game? This is one (non-canonical) answer: Creating it. For instance, the story we launched with, while still being true to the vision of the game, has undergone at least seven major revisions.


Changes like these happen in the development of any game. Speaking for inXile, I can tell you that we always undertake them to deliver you a better experience. To do anything else would be doing you a disservice.

But our focus on the game led to a different disservice. Namely, our lack of communication. We have always been major proponents of openness during development, but we did not communicate these changes earlier, and we should have done so sooner. For this, you have the entire team’s sincerest apologies. Going forward both with Torment and our future games, we hope to increase our efforts in making sure that you know the status and future plans for inXile’s projects.

So, you might be asking, what’s up after Torment releases next month? Fortunately, we're in the era of internet connections and ongoing post-release support. We still have plenty of ideas for Torment! We'll be thinking about ways we can restore some of the remaining ideas that work in the game. Of course, as our backers who helped make the game happen, any of these updates – such as DLCs and expansions – will be yours free of charge. This goes for both Kickstarter backers and those who backed through our website.

Also important to note, Italian backers, who will not be getting their localization on release, are eligible for refunds.