Torment: Tides of Numenera Previews and Gameplay Footage

The beginning of September brings us a few more previews and a long gameplay look at Torment: Tides of Numenera, inXile's spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment, a cult classic and unique anomaly in the landscape of D&D RPGs, developed by Black Isle and published in 1999. It's too early to tell, but the previews definitely make it sound like McComb and his team might be onto something with their Numenera-based RPG.

We start with a piece from PCGamesN:

“We didn’t want to go too crazy. We wanted to tell a coherent, cohesive, satisfying story that is about you,” says Colin McComb, creative lead on Tides of Numenera, as he presents his work at Gamescom 2016.

Some examples of the ‘not too crazy’ things you can do in Torment are:
  • You can die, reappear in your own mind, and chat with the ghosts of people you’ve met. You can press them for secrets they would never have told you in the real world.
  • You can enter someone’s memories and change their past. When you emerge from that memory, reality will have changed around you.
  • You can sell a companion to a robotic slaver, who will harvest their body for its youth.
  • You can help a giant robot give birth, steal the babies, and use them as explosives.
  • You can feed your friends to a predator the size of a city.
  • You can travel to a world of crystal and light and discover that it’s a supercomputer that killed itself out of desperate loneliness as it circled a dying star in a forgotten corner of the galaxy.

There are over 1 million words of story in Torment: Tides of Numenera, and as such you’ll see an estimated 30% of the game’s content during any one given playthrough. In other words, Tides of Numenera will be a completionist’s nightmare. Death, as in Planescape: Torment, is not the end. While there will be some “game over” deaths, for the most part when your character dies you enter the Labyrinth – a sort of constructed space in your mind that’s been discovered over the billions of years. This applies to other characters too. You will eventually enter someone’s mind and be able to interact and alter their memories, which also alters the real past for that character. Yeah, it’s some trippy stuff, guys.

But it gets crazier: you’ll find a giant beast known as The Bloom, almost like a complete functional planet with people and societies living within it. You’ll be able to enter one of its mouths into a sort of dimensional portal across space and time. You’ll help a long-lived robot give birth to its baby robots that won’t stop dying without interference and aid. You’ll visit a planet where the beings are all beings of light… that happen to be the last flickering fragments of a giant robot’s mind which committed suicide eons prior due to loneliness. This is the world of Torment: Tides of Numenera. It is, without a doubt, some of the most creative and intelligent RPG writing I’ve seen in the space since the original game wowed us all in the 90s.

Finally, the folks at Alienware streamed some gameplay with the help of Colin McComb and George Ziets from the inXile team. If you've played the Early Access build of the game, you'll be familiar with this section, but you might still want to watch for the commentary: