For a while, Torment: Tides of Numenera was the highest funded video game kickstarter that was surrounded by a ton of hype. Promising a spiritual successor to the classic Planescape: Torment Brian Fargo raised over 4 million for this project from people who wanted to see that taken to Monte Cook’s newest setting and a followup to many elements. Like many Kickstarters though the original target date turned out to be nothing of the sort, especially with getting over 5 times it’s goal (counting paypal pledges) and it is continuing to see delays from the estimated delivery date of December 2014.
The latest delay comes in the form of the beta test that was available for backers who pledged at a level for it, or who got it as an add-on. Previously expected to be released before the end of this year, according to the latest update it will be delayed until early next year, which according to their new project lead Chris Keenan, is to help make sure that it is more polished. While the Alpha Systems Test was aimed at being about 20 minutes to test out some of their Crisis system concepts, the Beta Test is going for about 10 hours of playtime, like Wasteland 2‘s beta access.
For those who missed it, Keenan took over project lead at the end of October when Kevin Saunders and InXile decided to part ways. This was after the launch of the Alpha System Test and seeing how people responded to the Crisis System that they are using. The rest of the team, including people like Adam Heine, Colin McComb, and George Ziets are still working on the project.
Speaking of George Ziets, he posted a good amount in this update about the Backer NPCs. Ziets explained how they worked with the 55 backer NPCs that were pledged for. What they did was take the notes players had and as they were designing the regions in Torment is keep a list of the NPCs and when putting in a spot for an NPC – like someone to help flavor a region, or get information from – would consult it to see if the general feel for any of the submissions would fit and worked the character so that it would fit the area there. Their goal is so that the backer NPCs feel no different than the NPCs designed themselves. According to Ziet a few of the stories they were sent in lent themselves so well to short stories that they designed sidequests to explore that territory with the character and flesh out the world further.
They also bring up their recent opening of the New Orleans office and explain that the New Orleans studio contributions to Torment: Tides of Numenera will be on Playtesting and QA.
It’s pretty normal for kickstarters to run significantly late, especially if they overfund a lot, so especially with the change in project leads this isn’t a big surprise. Keenan did a good job with Wasteland 2 but it remains to be seen if he can take what was being worked on with Torment: Tides of Numenera and make it work this late through the development process. It is possible as well that like Wasteland 2 the beta test may be done as an Early Access for others as well to give them more time to iterate on it if they generate sales and get greater community access. The length definitely gives that possibility for it. It is interesting that this delay announcement comes only a month and a half after Keenan said he expected it to be out this year perhaps hinting there were more unfinished things than he thought, or just a general delay in game development.