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A story-driven CRPG set in the world of Monte Cook's Numenera.  We are deeply appreciative to all of you who made this possible.
A story-driven CRPG set in the world of Monte Cook's Numenera.  We are deeply appreciative to all of you who made this possible. Torment: Tides of Numenera is available now for PC on Steam or GOG, as well as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
A story-driven CRPG set in the world of Monte Cook's Numenera. We are deeply appreciative to all of you who made this possible. Torment: Tides of Numenera is available now for PC on Steam or GOG, as well as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
74,405 backers pledged $4,188,927 to help bring this project to life.

Updated Our Journal (51): De-Cyphering the Beta Release Date

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TL;DR: Road to Beta, and Item Design with Thomas

Hello Exiles, Brian Fargo here.

Here we are in 2016, 17 years after the original Planescape Torment hit the scene and became a cult classic. This is finally the year for the spiritual successor to become a reality. I’m proud to tell you that Torment: Tides of Numenera Beta will be coming to all eligible backers during the week of January 17th and to Steam Early Access on the 26th of January. The team is incredibly passionate about this game and it shows in every aspect of their work. Having the opportunity to create a wholly original experience and intricate world is exactly why we got in the games business to begin with.

The beta will start you right in the beginning of the game and is quite lengthy for an early beta. It covers the game's introductory sequence (some of which you may have already seen a portion of in the alpha) as well as most of the first major location of the game, Sagus Cliffs. Sagus is a very old city that was built on top of ancient structures that predate the return of humanity to the Ninth World. It's split into five main districts: Circus Minor, Cliff's Edge, Caravanserai, Government Square and the Underbelly. As you might expect from a city location, it is rich in lore to discover, characters to talk with and obviously quests to complete!

Of course, we'll be looking to gather your feedback and use it to improve the game. During the alpha, we had a direct feedback form in the game and we'll likely provide that again, as it turned out to be an excellent way for us to gather feedback in a way that was easy for us to parse and implement. Indeed, many points from alpha feedback informed our design decisions during beta production, iteration is after all key to making our games. I look forward to gathering more unique insights from this release.

In a future update we'll talk more about the details of the beta release, but during the lead-up to the beta we will be providing you with new information on what it contains such as profiles of individual locations and discussion of characters and game mechanics. Keep an eye out in coming weeks for updates, starting with today's setting and design details.

Brian Fargo
Your leader inXile

The Unusual Items of the Ninth World

Thomas here.

Numenera is a setting known for its incredibly strange, quirky, and interesting items, which are a perfect fit for Torment. So when I was offered the chance to take ownership of item design, I jumped to it. For most items, I come up with the concept, determine what exactly it should do gameplay-wise, implement them into the game, write descriptions, work with scripters on any custom events that might be required, and coordinate with our art team on the icon, animation, visual, and finally work to layer in any sound effect needs. While a number of items come from level designers or the suggestions of writers, some were directly from backers, and many others I designed from scratch.

For inspiration, I turn primarily to the Numenera Corebook and Technology Compendium, but most importantly I take time out weekly to play Planescape: Torment and pore over that game's item lists. Even to this day, PS:T stands out to me as a game with great itemization due to how memorable even the most mundane of items was, and this is something we hope to recreate in Torment: Tides of Numenera. Of course, I'm also constantly jotting down ideas as I consume science fiction or fantasy novels and films. The Numenera setting has the flexibility to allow for many different types of items, from the organic, to the "magical", to the impossibly high tech, a latitude we are fully exploring in the game.

As a quick refresher: items are split into ordinary items – swords, armor, and things people can craft with a medieval level of technology; and Numenera – remnants of the prior civilizations, technology so advanced as to seem like magic. These numenera are further split into Oddities, Artifacts, or Cyphers.

Oddities have no apparent practical use, but their uniqueness and rarity make them valuable. Examples: A goblet that appears empty even when it has a liquid in it; a synth flower that blooms only in total darkness; a squirming fishlike creature that gibbers constantly in an indecipherable foreign tongue. From a gameplay perspective, most of these exist to be sold to merchants as a source of income, but the Numenera setting allows for us to give them a much more unique and interesting flavor. And some of them can be useful in the right situation.

Artifacts, on the other hand, are numenera objects that do have an use and can typically be held onto permanently. These uses can range from minor boons to major powers. Examples: A cloak made of golden feathers that stiffens to offer protection when struck; a ring that acts as a transdimensional conduit to strike enemies with various damage types; a device that compresses some of an opponent's blood into a projectile which is then sucked out of the target and into the device. These are very rare and valuable, and from a gameplay perspective serve as the equivalent of magic equipment in a more typical fantasy setting.

Cyphers, however, are one of the most unique elements of the item system in Torment. These have no real equivalent in other games, and offer the most interesting design opportunities and challenges. Put simply, Cyphers are one-time-use numenera, somewhat similar to consumable potions, charms and so on in other games. However, Cyphers are also very powerful, and tend to be somewhat unstable as a result, especially when large numbers of them are carried together. Carry a Cypher around by itself and you'll be fine, but if you start taking too many with you, you will run into side-effects that provide negative Fettles (or status effects) on your characters.

As a result, Cyphers are best used quickly, and because they are relatively abundant, you will always be finding new ones throughout the game. By their very nature, Cyphers counter the hoarding instincts that cRPGs have built up over the years. This requires us to communicate the positives and negatives of Cyphers to players, to make sure that that they are interesting enough for players to want to use, and that the density and distribution of Cyphers throughout the game makes players feel like they're getting them at just the right rate. We don't want Cypher limits to feel like an annoyance, but rather to provide a natural flow for the player to experiment with and use them, and keep the progression of items interesting throughout the game.

Cyphers are extremely varied and interesting. A few examples: a detonation device that increases gravity in a confined area, pinning your enemies down; a sentient spike that burrows deeper into any target it hits; a thick red grub that when consumed will greatly enhance your ability to perform certain tasks while inhibiting others; a foam that makes your enemy's armor brittle as glass; a statuette that when pried open releases an entity that is unseen yet provides a tangible presence, healing injuries and alleviating fatigue before phasing into another reality.

As you can probably tell, there is not a lot limiting the nature of Cyphers. They can be consumed to give a passive bonus to a number of skills or stats, such as Might/Speed/Intellect Pools, attack damage, speech skills, armor values versus a variety of damage types, etc. They can be projectiles thrown at enemies or allies for various effects. They can have instant one-time effects or last until the player next rests. They can even be set to trigger themselves when certain conditions are met. They can target one or many characters, or have an area of effect. Their usefulness isn't limited to combat either: though some can only be used in combat, others can be used during exploration and dialog, and some can even be used in both.

From a design perspective, the challenge of crafting numenera is one all too common: it's not hard to have plenty of crazy ideas, but the real work happens in determining what ideas work for this setting and this game. It is important to give each item enough character to stand out while not making them so unique that you create a crowded field of The One True Item. The templates set up by our programmers allow for a very wide variety of interesting items, and our excellent combat designers Jeremy Kopman and Evan Hill can help me with any custom scripting needed.

But the most important step of all happens once the items exist in the game – testing, polish and endless iteration to get them perfect for our backers. The Beta Test won't feature every last item in Sagus Cliffs – we're still working on the game after all – but it will contain a great cross-section of mundane items, Oddities, Artifacts and Cyphers for you to use and experiment with. We look forward to seeing your feedback once you get a chance to try them out.

Shout-Outs

As usual, we want to highlight a few more ongoing crowdfunding projects.

First up, you should check out the big news from Lone Shark Games and Monte Cook Games. The Ninth World: A Skillbuilding Game for Numenera is a brand new board game from the designers that brought folks the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Smash Up, and other fantastic games. This is a new type of game that's one part deckbuilder, one part Eurogame, and one part RPG, all set a billion years in the future. You can play Jacks, Nanos, and Glaives all competing to see who can be the boldest adventurer in the strangest world. The game has already met its funding goal, but you can help get cool new locations to adventure, new characters, and new components. The Kickstarter ends January 15th, so hop on it!

Next, our buddies at Double Fine are back to crowdfunding with a long anticipated title: Psychonauts 2. It's been ten years since the original unique platform-adventure cult hit, and people have been clamoring for a sequel. Now with all our help they can finally deliver! They are raising funds on Fig (where Brian is a part of the advisory board), meaning you can support as an investor or as a backer. As of this writing they're tantalizingly close (97%) to hitting their goal, we're hoping to see them run past it in their final week.

We're now entering what's promising to be a very exciting year for Torment and inXile. We were honored to see our game listed on the most anticipated crowdfunded titles on Red Bull, as well as Rock Paper Shotgun's most exciting RPGs of 2016 and USgamer's top games they are looking forward to in 2016. The Torment Beta Test will be our first step towards hitting these high expectations, we hope you'll be there with us for the ride!

Thomas Beekers
Associate Producer/Designer

Comments

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    1. Lee Sweeney on January 27, 2016

      Thanks for screwing the backers, No more money to Fargo now, cheaper to wait until I can buy it on Steam, and get to play sooner.

    2. Douglas Bramlett on January 26, 2016

      Popping this question again:

      Does this mean that everyone that backed at the $20 level and above for a copy of the game upon release will get a key that works for the steam early access, or will those backers, of which I am one of, have to wait until it transitions out of steam early access into final release? If the latter is the case, then it is disappointing that people who didn't back it at all at this point would have access prior to the kickstarter backers.

    3. Adam Sherman on January 13, 2016

      Every update i get more excited.

    4. Bryy Miller on January 6, 2016

      @Stoibs,
      Don't be immature and further prolong dumb by responding to immature replies. Yeah, I don't think they should be promoting DF's new crowdfunding effort either, and I'm probably one of the most vehemently vocal people I know about Broken Age's BS as a whole, but presuming to lecture InXile about DF's shortcomings is lame.
      These guys are smart. They KNOW this stuff. They all have different opinions on it. And what's more? They also make games, so there is even, yes, a bit of sympathy there.
      Don't presume to tell them what is what.
      It's up to them who they do and do not want to associate with.
      All that matters is InXile has proven their worth, so who gives a crap who they are friends with?

    5. Stephen "Stoibs" D
      Superbacker
      on January 6, 2016

      Why do you keep saying unjustly in brackets when I just explained exactly why this is just?
      And Inxile proved themselves with Wasteland 2 which I put several hundred hours into, thus they are actually worth supporting again in my eyes. If they had flubbed that then I'd be holding the same opinion of them most likely. What, pray tell is hypocritical about this?

      You just sitting there and immaturely calling people 'pathetic' and 'hypocritical' when I've already stated my piece and addressed all these points with explanations and examples doesn't just magically make what you are shouting true, regardless of how many times you want to repeat it ad nauseum like this in light of the counter points.

      The irony here is that you're in the same boat as someone who 'took the time to directly attack' other folk here for merely holding their opinions when you could have just nodded, agreed to disagree, and moved on instead of drawing it out like this. Hypocrisy indeed.

    6. Missing avatar

      rusty_dragon on January 6, 2016

      Double this question. I hope it will be answered, because we have bad suggestions due to this uncertainty.
      Does this mean that everyone that backed at the $20 level and above for a copy of the game upon release will get a key that works for the steam early access, or will those backers, of which I am one of, have to wait until it transitions out of steam early access into final release? If the latter is the case, then it is disappointing that people who didn't back it at all at this point would have access prior to the kickstarter backers.

    7. They_Called_Him_The_Sans on January 6, 2016

      Quoting Jukka: will we be able to play beta on OS X or Linux? Or is it a Windows-only release?

    8. Nerdy Suit on January 6, 2016

      It's pathetic because you're taking time to (unjustly) call out someone who can't defend themselves...simply because InXile is suggesting that those interested check out their friends at DF? And if you're not interested then don't? Why even take the time to (unjustly) attack DF as a result? And it's hypocritical because here you are supporting other crowdfunding projects, but feel the need to get self-righteous and demean other crowdfunding projects. I am not financially supporting Psychonauts 2...but I also don't feel the need to (unjustly) tear down Tim Schafer and his studio and InXile's support of them. If you don't like DF then don't buy their games or crowdfund their stuff. Your attacks against them here is both pathetic and hypocritical.

    9. Stephen "Stoibs" D
      Superbacker
      on January 6, 2016

      *Bleh, double word. Wish KS allowed edits.

    10. Stephen "Stoibs" D
      Superbacker
      on January 6, 2016

      Still waiting for the part where any of that makes me a hypocrite or makes the hurling of names like 'pathetic' appropriate? If anything all that says is that our concerns and warnings are warranted, DF dropping the ball like this (on more than one occasion, Spacebase Df9 anyone?) is *ofcourse* cause for a alarm, and any other future projects they decide to have crowdfunded should very much indeed be put under scrutiny and have people warned about, rather than encouraged and encouraged.

      And the subjectivity of whether someone enjoyed what they delivered should indeed be taken into consideration in relation with the 3.3million figure I feel, especially when I've backed things that only raised about 1% or so of this amount that I thought were of higher quality upon completion, hence me bringing it up mockingly in regards to Tim and Co in being unable to budget and utilize these funds efficiently which has been evidenced on more then one occasion - ergo advertising and suggesting that I fund this next fiasco of theirs is a big nope for me.

      I'm sorry if you personally feel differently and are apparently ok with the way that DF has (mis)handled this financial/unfulfilled promise situation time and time again to apparently 'give them a pass' and stick up for them like this. I personally don't, and feel Inxile associating themselves with what was one of the bigger KS controversies and failing embarrassments of yesteryear is pretty unprofessional, not to mention potentially damaging and quite questionable overall.

    11. Shamshiel on January 6, 2016

      I really would like some clarification on the "Steam Early Access" part because if the early access doesn't cost at least 45$ (Scholar Level + Digital Add-On Beta Test Access) then I feel wronged.

    12. Tomimt on January 6, 2016

      Because in the end Double Fine did produce the game, It cost a lot more than they envisioned, but they did produce it, no matter if you liked it or not. And unlike some other KS games that have done new KS funding rounds in order to fund temselves, Double Fine shelled the extra money themselves.

    13. Nerdy Suit on January 5, 2016

      All of you Tim Schafer and DF haters are really pathetic (and hypocrites).

    14. Tim Meier on January 5, 2016

      Does this mean that everyone that backed at the $20 level and above for a copy of the game upon release will get a key that works for the steam early access, or will those backers, of which I am one of, have to wait until it transitions out of steam early access into final release? If the latter is the case, then it is disappointing that people who didn't back it at all at this point would have access prior to the kickstarter backers.

    15. Missing avatar

      Lephys
      Superbacker
      on January 5, 2016

      Woohoo! Should be able to put together my new gaming rig next weekend, so I'll have to fire up the beta and see if I can't provide some excellent compla... err... "feedback." :)

      Seriously, though. I'll give the beta a shot, and try to provide useful critique. For science.

    16. Ahenobarbus on January 5, 2016

      I`m so looking forward Torment: ToN and Psychonauts 2! Wasteland 2 and Broken Age were two excellent games so both developer teams have my full trust. Keep up the good work guys on all fronts!

    17. Christian on January 5, 2016

      @Sérgio Schüler
      It says "Beta" four times before you even get to the date ;)

    18. Christian on January 5, 2016

      @Steven Grimm
      Given that the art consists of bitmaps, 4K doesn't make the art prettier, just smaller ;) And yes, I, too, would like to see this art in as many pixels as possible but it would seem even for good old 1080p they are dealing with some pretty insane texture sizes so I don't think we'll see such games in actual 4K or even QHD any time soon.

    19. Christian on January 5, 2016

      Between all the Schafer bashing by self-declared "real gamers" an important point made by Stefano Anselmi might get overlooked: isn't it a bit odd that buying the game on Steam Early Access for what I presume to be less than $75 gives you access to the beta while being a normal backer does not?

    20. Stephen "Stoibs" D
      Superbacker
      on January 5, 2016

      Yeah can't at all imagine why you'd promote Tim "I don't know how the hell to budget, gib moar monies please" Shafer like that :S

      I backed Double fine adventure at some high physical tier (Haven't received any box or anything yet mind you..) and the game itself was just such a let-down and a joke considering the 3 million raised. Quite bizarre and baffling I have to say, to be ignorant of what the general consensus and feeling surrounding him and his approach to crowdfunding has proven to be.
      Meh.

      I too would like to know how much the Steam Early Access is. In the interest of fairness, one would imagine and hope that it is the same price as the Beta tier here was.

    21. TrentJaspar on January 5, 2016

      "Cyphers counter the hoarding instincts that cRPGs have built up over the years."
      (looks in mirror)
      (/shame)

    22. Tobi (Crusader Kickstarter pls!!) on January 5, 2016

      looking great guys, really looking Forward to this!!!

    23. Benjamin Hüll on January 5, 2016

      Wow, really great guys, calling Tim Schager pos and similar statements. Boohoo, he needed extra money for Broken Age and got it, without asking backers for anything. What a horrible human being, because he overscoped the game. Because not a single game in history has done it! How horrible that they let the backers know this and managed to get the extra money they needed. Really horrible people.

      Great update, can't wait to play the game :)

    24. Eero Salonen on January 5, 2016

      @Stefano Anselmi if they do as they did with Wasteland 2, then those who buy beta access through Steam pay bit more than those who backed the game.

    25. Stefano Anselmi on January 5, 2016

      I'm confused: people who buys Torment on steam will have access to the beta? What will be the price compared to those who bought the game in the inxile shop long ago?

    26. Tomimt on January 5, 2016

      Considering Fig is a a site founded by people from Double Fine, inXile, Obsidian and a couple of other prominent crowdfunding companies, it's no wonder that this update pushes it.

    27. smudboy on January 5, 2016

      Love the Cypher concept. That'll make coding the various dialog scenarios quite a challenge, but hey, you can always push back that release date, right?

      Greatly not interested in anything Tim Schafer. Brian should remove himself from Fig.

    28. Evan Dawson on January 5, 2016

      Why would you ever promote the Psychonauts 2 campaign? Are you not aware of how little faith actual gamers have in it, and how shady and questionable it's investment model is?

      This is the last thing you need. Do yourself a favor: Get yourselves as far away from both Fig and Doublefine as possible before they drag you down with them.

    29. Jayne Veidt on January 5, 2016

      So disappointed you threw your lot in with Schafer.:S I backed all your three Kickstarters, but there's no way I'm touching Fig as long as that shady PoS is involved with it. Just sayin'. You're gonna do what you're gonna do, clearly.

    30. Missing avatar

      Ian Toltz
      Superbacker
      on January 5, 2016

      It seems really irresponsible to talk up DF's kickstarters. Every single thing they've put out for the past several years has over-promised and under-developed. Please don't give Tim Schafer any of your money. He doesn't know how to handle it.

    31. Steven Grimm on January 5, 2016

      That's great news! Looking forward to seeing what's changed since the alphas. Any word on whether the beta will include support for UHD (4K) monitors? The artwork is so gorgeous that I was disappointed to have to play it at less than full resolution.

    32. Missing avatar

      Fry on January 5, 2016

      As I recall, Wasteland 2 EA cost the same as the minimum beta backer tier. I expect they'll do the same thing here.

    33. Sérgio Schüler on January 5, 2016

      2 comments:

      1. Mini heart attack after reading the 1st paragraph and thinking the full game was going to be released on the 17th. Probably should wrote "beta" somewhere there :)

      2. So people with Steam Early Access will pay less and have beta access anyway?

    34. Jukka Palko on January 5, 2016

      Will the beta be available for all operating systems?

    35. HaikenEdge on January 5, 2016

      What's the Steam Early Access price going to be like, then?

    36. Chuck Dee
      Superbacker
      on January 5, 2016

      $75 or higher. Or have paid an additional $20 on top of your pledge. Which will make pricing for Early Access an interesting thing to see...

    37. inXile entertainment 3-time creator on January 5, 2016

      @Billy Gilmore - Beta was part of the $75+ digital tiers and $250+ physical tiers, as well as available as an add-on. For a detailed breakdown of what your tier contains you can log into your account at https://torment.inxile-entertainment.com/ or look here http://tormentrpg.tumblr.com/thekstiers

    38. Billy Gilmore on January 5, 2016

      Sorry, I couldn't find the info as I browsed the pledge levels, but what levels are eligible for beta access? I backed at $20...