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Info about Torment's Tides and Combat at VG247

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Info about Torment's Tides and Combat at VG247

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Sun 10 March 2013, 23:48:55

Tags: Colin McComb; InXile Entertainment; Kevin Saunders; Torment: Tides of Numenera

VG247 have an interview with Torment: Tides of Numenera developers Kevin Saunders and Colin McComb lined up for this week. Since we had no official Torment update today, I'll post some tidbits from the previews of the interview that they posted last week.

The first preview was actually posted before the Kickstarter began, and is mainly about the game's Tides system. Here's an excerpt:

“We don’t to go for a cheap emotional hook here,” McComb replied. “We want to build relationships with our NPCs and we want to build ways that we can track the choices that you make within the game.​

“To do that we developed what we call the ‘Tides’ system, which is essentially our alignment system. It’s more complex, more nuanced than just ‘law versus chaos’. It’s an internal thing that manifests itself through external powers.”​

Saunders then added by saying, “When looking at the Tides we looked at what things motivate people, what the results of their actions are, and what the concept of a legacy is. We realised that weren’t really words in English that were quite right for the concepts we were imagining.​

“We decided to extract the Tides into colours that would represent various facets of complex forces at work in our world. Unlike an alignment system in D&D – where you have good or evil – the Tides are not directly in competition with each other.​

“In a way they’re competing for your attention in that we’re tracking you favour them, and that will have effects on both gameplay directly, and on how people will respond to you. We don’t want to describe to the player what the answer to the question is. We don’t have the answer to ‘What does one life matter?’​

McComb then cut in to add, “Our players are going to find this out for themselves, and we’re going to guide them, challenge them and make them think, but we’re not going to say, ‘Here’s what one life matters’, because it’s going to be different for everybody depending on how they play.”​

To help differentiate each moral Tide, inXile has colour-coded them for ease of reference. Game parameters such as choices and NPC reaction may change if you have ten points in blue, and five points in red for example. The indigo Tide may stand for justice, there could even be another for unity, or one for the end justifying the means.​

“Part of the reason we colour-coded these choices is that they don’t have exact analogues in the English language”, McComb continued. “Something like the gold tide will be similar to empathy, charity or sacrifice, but at he same time if we called it an ‘Empathy Tide’, people would attach all of their pre-conceived notions about what empathy is to that.”​

Saunders added, “Players were learn about this two-fold, through the outcomes of their actions in the game and through myths and legends told within the game world.”​

The second preview is about the game's combat, a topic that will no doubt launch many a flamewar here on the Codex once inXile decide how they want to implement it.

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.”​

Interesting that Colin doesn't mention the option of turn-based combat at all...

Update: The full interview has been posted on VG247. It doesn't actually contain much new information beyond what the previews already revealed, except for the fact that an undescribed "third mechanic" for combat may also be under consideration.

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