A veritable smörgåsbord of Torment news has hit in the wake of press events both in the United States and Europe. We've got a huge number of articles coming out covering Torment, and we've decided to include just a taste of them below:
Three hours disappeared.
That’s how it felt when I sat down to play Torment: Tides of Numenera recently. I was the last one scheduled to use the PC that inXile had set up in the corner, and so I was told I could play pretty much as long as I wanted.
I took full advantage of that offer, wending my way through half a dozen discreet stories in “The Bloom,” a massive slug-like organism that contains an entire city inside its stomach, itself stuffed with multiple political factions, a transdimensional marketplace, and “The Gullet”—a place where those who’ve fallen out of favor with the Bloom are slowly digested and then spat back out, body intact but their memories gone.
Torment: Tides of Numenera is weird. As. Hell.
It’s within this strange setting that I eventually stumble across the situation mentioned earlier. The guards who keep order in The Bloom and a faction of mutants in one section of the city have had a mounting tension for weeks, and we just happen to wander in right as things are primed to explode.
Since you don’t actually need to fight, Torment has a unique approach to how it handles what could be combat situations. At these points in the game, the words “Crisis Initiated” flash across the screen. Actions then become turn-based, with both party members and NPCs trading off. We could choose to launch directly into an attack here, but we can also spend each party member’s turn talking. And since we’re trying to talk both the mutants and the guards down, we need to devote our best speakers to the task and spend our turns carefully.
Meanwhile, the NPCs spend their turns talking as well — only they are bickering and threatening each other. We’re essentially given a natural time limit: Convince them to back down before they push each other to violence, or else decide which side you want to take in the ensuing fray. After a few rounds of sweet talking, I’m able to talk sense into the mutants.
I don’t know what such choices will mean in the long term, and I’m not sure I actually care. The writing is clear and outlandish enough to feel natural to the blank slate character of the Last Castoff, giving emotional texture to a fictional universe without a bottom. Whether the overarching narrative builds and releases in a satisfying way remains to be seen, but as a dense series of disgusting, surreal, and morally twisted short stories that I can play as the hero or a nobody, Torment is trending towards excellent.
RPGs are supposed to be about more than just managing a character sheet; in the best pen-and-paper campaigns, the bulk of your time is spent talking. You’re prodding the DM to see how much information they’re willing to give up, and making persuasion or perception rolls in an attempt to uncover some hidden clue or alternative path to success. This is a part of the RPG heritage that modern games have largely forgotten (or at very least simplified into practical irrelevance), but Torment: Tides of Numenara makes it feel both vital and approachable.
In this most recent demo, I had around two hours to explore The Bloom - a fascinating new environment - and in that time, I never once drew my sword, dagger, or my menacing-looking, Tesla-inspired arc-thrower. I certainly could have, many times, but Torment provides so many other avenues for success that brute force rarely even seems necessary in order to get what you want - even when what you want is to be unambiguously evil.
The Bloom is a living creature serving as a gateway hub between dimensions and places, and gruesomely, it eats its occupants. It's very much typical of the weird world of Torment, which plumbs philosophical depths and goes via text, a lot of text, places other games do not.
Once Torment is released, what happens next depends on how well the game does. "We have plenty of ideas for expansions or standalone content or new games or follow-ups to this game," creative lead Colin McComb told me at the event.
"We've got plenty of ideas for expansions or ways that we could improve on it, or if we just want to patch it and add more content in, we've got ideas for that. If Brian [Fargo - inXile boss] wants to do a different Torment game - still use the Torment franchise but in a different world - we've got ideas for that. It could keep jumping between licensed properties; it could jump into a wholly original world that we create."