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Torment: Tides of Numenera's combat tied to the narrative

Torment: Tides of Numenera hit Kickstarter last night and surpassed $900,000 in the space of six hours. Developer inXile Entertainment has spoken with us about the game's proposed phase-based battle mechanic, which will ultimately be decided by the project's Kickstarter backers.

As part of an interview you can read here next week, we spoke with inXile's project director Kevin Saunders and creative lead Colin McComb about the many combat mechanics the team is considering, and how fans will get to decide which one makes the cut.

McComb explained, "What we're favouring for combat is a phase-based combat system. But how we've approached it is we want it to be a stronger combat system than Planescape: Torment had. We've defined the main characteristics, so we want there to be strategic elements.

"By 'strategic' I mean the customisation of your character outside of combat, like your choices in terms of what class you are, what capabilities you have and what equipment you're using. Within combat we want tactical decisions that are planned.

What you do away from the battlefield will also have a profound impact on how characters behave in combat, similar to Obsidian's Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer.

"We also want a tie-in with the narrative," McComb continued. "There will be aspects from the creative side that influence the gamplay. One example of this is what we did for Mask of the Betrayer, with you being the Spirit Eater, and having powers that had effects on combat that changed depending on what you did outside of combat.

"We want to have a focus on the quality of combat encounters over quantity, so this isn't going to be an action RPG where you slay mobs of minions and get lots of treasure. The combat will be relevant to what's going on.

McComb explained that combat will also be avoidable if players wish to use words, rather than weapons, "In the tradition of Planescape: Torment we want combat to be avoidable in many if not all circumstances depending on the choices you make."

Ultimately however, the game's Kickstarter backers will have the final word on which format inXile rests on, even if it is currently favouring phase-based combat. "So with all of these goals in mind for our combat, we think it's agnostic of whether its real-time or pause-based like Planescape: Torment was, or if it's phase based," McComb concluded.

"What we're intending to do is lave that call to our backers. We'll present what we envision a different options for combat, and see what kind of input we get. For us it's important we accomplish those goals from the combat system."

We also spoke with inXile about Torment's vast moral 'Tides' system and plot. Check out what they had to say here.

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Torment: Tides of Numenera

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Dave Cook


Dave worked on VG247 for an extended period manging much of the site's news output. As well as his experience in games media, he writes for comics, and now specializes in books about gaming history.