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Planescape Torment: This is what a spiritual successor would look like

Tuesday, 21st August 2012 11:46 GMT By Dave Cook

Planescape Torment was a revelation when it launched in 1999, setting a new standard in RPG story-telling. Developer by Black Isle and designed by Obsidian’s Chris Avellone, the developer has revealed how he would tackle a spiritual successor to the game in great detail.

Speaking with Kotaku, Avellone described his dream plans for a Planescape: Torment successor, but stressed that while he would like to Kickstarter the project, he already has another crowd-funded project in mind.

Here’s a snippet, but head to Kotaku for the Avellone’s full wish list.

Similar, but not exact, campaign mechanics in the following respects:

  • 1) A plane-jumping universe with diversity in environments, cultures, religions, and people.
  • 2) Tactical combat – it doesn’t need to be turn-based, but pausing and choosing your actions is important.
  • 3) A diversity of creatures, perhaps not to the same extent as in the Planescape original title (would depend on budget, but just like the main cast, I’d prefer to have fewer, higher-quality creatures that allow for a spectrum of behaviors rather than a grab-bag of a thousand random monsters).
  • 4) A small group of extremely detailed companions.
  • 5) A mechanic similar to “remembrance” in the original game – this metaphysical interpretation of your immortality and amnesia is something that can be explored in a number of ways depending on the game premise.
  • Avellone’s full list is rather massive. Would you like to see a successor to Planescape: Torment? Let us know how you’d like to see it handled below.

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11 Comments

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  1. noeska

    Really cool and I’m excited about the potential of such a successor, but Planetscape: Torment, really?

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Sini

    People were killed for less, Dave Cook.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Dave Cook

    @2 meaning? :/

    #3 2 years ago
  4. noeska

    You made a typo in the original game title throughout the article ^^ Except for when you mention the Planescape license.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. B_O

    @3: He means, people have been killed for less than misspelling Planescape: Torment. XD

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Dave Cook

    @4 Where specifically dude? A lot of that was direct quote :)

    @5 I see that now hehe :P It’s an utterly insane day today and we have to b fast. Typo are usually caught where we can though.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. DSB

    I called it Planetscape Torment for years before I realized there was no T :D

    Hang in there Dave!!!

    #7 2 years ago
  8. noeska

    Dudette ;)

    It has kind of a ring to it though, Planetscape: Torment. Perhaps they’ll consider it for the successor ^^ Good luck with the busy day!

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Ercarret

    I kind of think of NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer like a spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment. Absolutely loved that expansion.

    But I don’t know what an actual “spiritual successor” to PS:T could accomplish, especially after MOTB. I think that there is a risk of PS:T holding back the new game, just as the D&D ruleset held back PS:T. I don’t really see what good could come out of linking a new game to PS:T, except making old Black Isle fans like myself all giddy. For all the awesome things PS:T did, I would rather see Obsidian do something wholly original. Use some of the things that made PS:T fantastic, sure, why not, but don’t stare to blindly at that game.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. TheWulf

    @9

    I agree and I’ve said as much in the past. Mask of the Betrayer held up the same tenets as Planescape: Torment. An unusual setting, wholly unfamiliar to most players, and filled with philosophical and ethical dilemmas (right up to and including the Wall of the Faithless). In terms of conveyance of a game with a message, it achieved that better than Planescape: Torment did.

    And to be honest, I dare say that Mask of the Betrayer had more interesting characters, too. PS:T was good, very good, but it was also very raw. There was a mountain of dialogue, but at points it almost felt like quantity trying to take the place of quality, and that felt a little like a Bioware game and PS:T lost a little of its sense of direction and purpose because of that.

    Mask of the Betrayer, by comparison, is smooth and sharp. It doesn’t have the overall word vomit and walls of text that Planescape did, but it was more eloquent, and indeed, more beautiful. It was also a truly poignant experience, which I felt that PS:T was never trying to be. PS:T was a little pseudo-intellectual in its obsession with metaphysics, but Mask was the more intelligent game. It was because it was at the same time the more emotional game.

    It handled emotional depth well, across all of its characters. The sense of loss in that game was profound, like few others I’d ever experienced. It was a point the game was trying to make, it was what everything surrounded – loss. And it made its point well. Damned well. That it wasn’t bad at punching me in the feelings didn’t hurt it, either, nor that it made me fall in love with all of its characters.

    I feel that PS:T is more of a college student, but Mask of the Betrayer is what happened when PS:T grew up and became a more rounded, intelligent, responsible adult. A person with more depth, and greater understanding, yet without ever losing sight of their sense of imagination, romance, and wonder.

    It really was a beautiful thing. I’ve played Mask multiple times and I’ll never forget it. I’ll never forget the powerful story it shared with me.

    PS:T within its walls of text became forgettable to a degree, and I’d hope that that pseudo-intellectual college student isn’t the future of Obsidian. We don’t need them regressing. Perhaps it had something to do with Kevin Saunders being the lead developer of Mask of the Betrayer. I find that Chris Avellone works best when he isn’t leading projects, he’s very destructive and aimless when he is. I respect and love the man, I really do, but it’s just something I’ve noticed.

    (Compare New Vegas with the New Vegas DLC to see what I mean about when Avellone is the creative lead. Since Avellone had more control with the DLC than he did with the game, and of the DLC only Old World Blues was really, really good. The rest were meandering and typical of him.)

    Oh for another game like Mask of the Betrayer.

    Sigh.

    Another game so exotic, another game that would make me think and feel so profoundly, another game with a story so ethereally elegant, eloquent, and beautiful that I might never forget it.

    PS:T didn’t do that for me. Mask of the Betrayer did.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Ercarret

    To me, MOTB will always be the kid brother to PS:T. I was totally blown away by PS:T when I first played it. It completely changed how I saw fantasy as a genre; what it could do, what it could say, what it could mean, if done right. Up until PS:T, I had grown bored with fantasy. There were (in my experience) just orcs and wizards and dire threats to the entire world that needed a Generic Hero. When I played PS:T, all that changed. I suddenly realised that fantasy could actually be fantastical, and what amazing things that meant in the right hands.

    That feeling – that relationship with something – cannot be replicated. MOTB is fantastic in so very many ways, but to me, it didn’t move me the same way PS:T did. Had I played MOTB first, it’s possible my feelings would have been reversed. MOTB certainly has many of those very same qualities.

    While I agree with you regarding how well MOTB handled loss, I would say that PS:T handled regret just as good. I have never felt so bad for something that I’ve done as I did in PS:T. It (frequently) ripped the heart out of my chest, held it up in front of me, and crushed it while constantly reminding me that it was all my fault.

    #11 2 years ago