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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 (54): Production Status, Beta Feedback

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tl;dr: Writing milestone achieved, beta feedback, shout-outs

Hello Exiles,

Eric here! We'd like to start today's update with an important announcement. As of February 29th, our writing team on Torment: Tides of Numenera has completed its first pass on all of the game's writing. Our latest estimates put this at around one million words. We will know the final count in the coming months, but this is a big milestone for a Torment game, as you can no doubt imagine.

Torment's story is a carefully crafted one, and "first pass" means we have a lot of revisions and edits still to do as we perfect the game's word-smithing. But it does mean our story and quests are more or less set, and our design, scripting and engineering teams can focus their efforts on tightly implementing our remaining game systems and environment/level scripting.

So what is next for Torment? We are hoping to have the game content complete by the beginning of April. At that point, we will be taking the game into iteration. We are dedicated to getting Torment right, so just like the writing needs to go through polish passes, we have allotted significant time for ourselves to improve upon the game's content. This includes things like additional passes on environment art and visual effects, quests and dialog, user interface art and functionality, and gameplay balance, not to mention fixing bugs and optimizing performance.

We know that this will make some of you wonder – when is the final game coming? As we've mentioned before, we are still targeting a 2016 release. The benefit of our continued funding and the success of our back catalog (such as Wasteland 2: Director's Cut) means that we can continue put resources into Torment to make it something special for everyone who backed the game. We'll be able to narrow in on a more specific date once we are a bit deeper into iteration and know how much work we have left.

Torment Beta - Processing Feedback

Our beta test for Torment, which released in mid-January, has given us a huge amount of feedback from our community, and it has been invaluable for allowing us to prioritize things we want to change and improve upon. Having people able to submit their thoughts on the game directly while playing it is no small benefit to us and has led to incredibly detailed and nuanced impressions.

Many of our backers might be wondering exactly what our iteration stage for Torment will entail and what ways we respond to feedback. The truth is that this is often as much art as it is science, but we have a number of ways that we try to collect and process opinion and work to respond to it effectively.

The first, and most direct way we grab user impressions is from our feedback tool, which is incorporated into the Torment beta client. We originally developed this for the Alpha Systems Test, but it was such a success that we expanded its use and functionality for the beta. At all times while Torment is open, there's a "Feedback" button tucked away in a corner of the screen. Click it, and up pops a special UI where you can submit both bug reports as well as impressions and thoughts on gameplay, including the category and priority level.

Just a tiny taste of backer feedback and bug reports. Currently we have well over 4,000 direct submissions from our players.
Just a tiny taste of backer feedback and bug reports. Currently we have well over 4,000 direct submissions from our players.

Once player feedback is beamed back, we are able to read over and massage that information and import it directly into our JIRA bug tracking system.

Not all feedback collection is quite this ordered. Our commitment to ensuring Torment's quality (and perhaps just a little vanity) means that our team members continually scour the Internet for impressions on the game. This can be anything from forum posts on our official forums and the Steam forums, to other RPG communities, to Facebook and Twitter comments, and of course, professional previews and articles from the press. Even the darkest reaches of reddit and Something Awful don't go unchecked.

Of course, there are larger points of feedback we receive which can't always be handled with a simple bug report or which require more significant design decisions, writing or engineering. For those points where we see significant amounts of feedback or critique, we often end up taking meetings dedicated to those topics, and the team will discuss how to act on it. One example might be specific combat or interface issues, and another might be a particular quest or story element we feel we want to change. From there, we work on a plan to address that in a way that fits into our development timeline, figure out exactly what needs doing, and then task that work out. A lot of this is often handled by my compatriot and name-brother Eric Daily, who is invaluable at keeping things on track behind the scenes.

Just one example of how we've acted on feedback can be found in our first beta patch for Torment. This was put out shortly after the initial release, and addressed many of the comments and issues that players ran into – everything from combat lock-ups, to save/load issues, to performance and optimization, to gameplay balance, and interface bugs. Getting these reports directly from our players allowed us to prioritize and address them much more effectively.

At the end of the day, we are making Torment primarily for our backers and our fans, so this kind of process is extremely helpful to us. In traditional development, we'd be making a game in a vacuum, guessing at what people might think of it or relying on limited playtests. With the beta, we have a pool of our most dedicated players to draw on, all of whom want Torment to be an awesome game as much as we do.

News Update

Torment's beta release has brought on a wave of new coverage from press. There is much too much to share here, but we've picked out some of our favorites from Eurogamer, PC Gamer, and GameReactor. Long-standing community site RPGWatch has also named Torment its most-anticipated game, which we are certainly honored by.

More recently, Colin and George hung out with Arvan Eleron's Twitch channel to play and talk about the game. You can find the archived stream here.

Our friends at Monte Cook Games have also launched a new Kickstarter. Worlds of the Cypher System includes three new campaign settings to play in, along with expanded rules, fiction and new tools to power your own games for years to come. If you are a fan of Numenera, The Strange or tabletop gaming in general, this is one to check out. 

We'd also like to take a moment to congratulate Obsidian Entertainment. Obsidian recently released The White March Part II, the second expansion pack to Pillars of Eternity. Obsidian had a part to play in Torment's development, with its technology helping to make Torment possible, so check out their latest release to support more classic-style RPGs.

That concludes today's check-in. In future updates, we'll be going into more detail about how we are polishing and refining the game further based on our backer feedback. We have exciting things ahead.

Eric Schwarz
Line Producer

Comments

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    1. Estimated delivery: Dec 2014 on

      How's that beta going? Making lots of money from sales on Steam?

    2. Missing avatar

      LnGrrrR on

      Another person saying to take your time. As long as it's good, I'm happy. I have less and less time to play games nowadays, so it had to be really worth my time. I'm hoping TTON will be.

    3. BlackGauntlet
      Superbacker
      on

      @Atlictoatl - I guess so. In the sense that, those failures either had to obtain more funding through a 2nd Kickstarter campaign or never, ever be trusted on Kickstarter ever again.

      I've yet to see any creators who did not deliver create a 2nd campaign and had it funded. Even Massive Chalice had to promise that they are not, in any way, controlled by Tim Schafer's development visions to succeed even after Broken Age was released.

    4. Atlictoatl on

      @Lim Yeow Seng - Just to clarify, the "baggage" I'm referring to is baggage attached to crowdsourcing in general; namely, that there have been a number of well-publicized projects that failed post-funding, and it's quite possible that anyone who has pledged to more than a handful of crowdsourced projects has lost their pledge to no delivered reward at least once.

    5. BlackGauntlet
      Superbacker
      on

      @Atlictoatl - Well said. Thing is, I wouldn't say that any crowdfunded project would have a lot of baggage attached. It just means that, except answering to 1 boss (publisher), you answer to us all (the backers). We do give them free rein in production but we do still have *one* single thing we expect from them: Respect for our loyalty and trust.

      Think about the backers who made this game possible first.
      If the project creator is unsure if their next action is gonna piss the backers off or not, ask and gather feedback.
      If vast majority approves, go ahead. If there's a 30% disapproval rate, see if there's a balance that could be struck. If vast majority disagrees, cram that idea up where the sun don't shine immediately.

      If the creator starts thinking about profits first, then it is the creator who should not be on Kickstarter because this is a platform to make their project a reality for the benefit of the creator and the backers; whether it makes money or not. If it benefits people outside the project BEFORE the backers and/or the creator, something is very wrong and should not be so.

    6. Atlictoatl on

      @Paul Marzagalli, managing the perceptions of one's customer base is an important element of doing business in today's climate. This is doubly so with one's most committed fanbase, and probably 10x as important with Kickstarters.

      People below have suggested that those backers upset by things shouldn't be KS backers and instead get a discounted product when it goes on sale. I think that misses the point, but it could also be turned on inXile: by crowdsourcing their product, they're exposing themselves to the need to better manage the perceptions and expectations of their backers, that most committed core of their audience. If they didn't want that or weren't prepared for it, they shouldn't be crowdsourcing their product.

      Regardless of one's perceptions of the situation, there are certain indisputable facts:
      - The game was estimated to deliver Dec 2014.
      - It's now March 2016.
      - The update above states that the writing team has only just completed its first pass on writing.
      - inXile is targeting a 2016 release date.
      - inXile has produced 54 updates since the KS opened March 2013, averaging 1.5 updates/month.
      - inXile decided to sell access to the game to non-backers before a significant number of backers received access.
      - inXile sent no update to backers about that decision ahead of time.
      - Some backers are upset by either the decision or the lack of communication, or both.

      Crowdsourced projects have a lot of baggage attached to them. There are many unrealized projects. Many backers have had their investments lost to no delivery or sub-par delivery. It's part of the risk of being a crowdsource backer, and I think we all understand this, but it's perfectly reasonable to want to mitigate one's risk.

      tl;dr Crowdsourcing one's product requires greater attention to managing the perceptions of one's crowdsourced customer base. Backers will rightly get nervous when decisions that affect their perception of the project occur and there's a lack of communication about those decisions.

    7. Paul Marzagalli on

      "Feeling cheated" and being cheated are two entirely different things. Perception is not reality. The reason why beta access cost more during the Kickstarter is because the point of a crowdfunding campaign is to push the totals upwards. The point of supporting a Kickstarter is complimentary: to help bring an idea you like into existence. If it means so much to you to have access to a less than finished product, then you invest a little more in the game for that right. You get the access you want, the devs get the extra funding they are hoping for.

      If you backed Torment, congratulations. You helped it become a major success while backing it at a level you were comfortable with. Your role in the process is now complete pending the release of the game. If you want to stay engaged, there are the forums and there are the comment sections here. If you want to play the early access version, you either backed the game accordingly at launch or care enough to pony up the extra $20 for access. You are not entitled to anything free after the fact.

    8. ET3D on

      I understand backers who are disappointed with the price of the beta compared to the price for the general public, and frankly I think that beta access shouldn't be a perk that project creators put a price on. This isn't "entitlement", it's just feeling cheated, and it's a good move for companies to make sure that their clients don't feel cheated. Project creators, especially established ones, have become less generous with backers over time, and getting more money pledged has become a game. inXile is no different.

      That said, Kickstarter is not a store. You're backing projects because you want them to be made, not to get a good deal. If you want a good deal, waiting for sales some months after release is better than pledging for a Kickstarter project.

    9. BlackGauntlet
      Superbacker
      on

      I too don't feel entitled to the rewards but charging the same price offered to a backer (no Early Bird $25+20 for Beta Access) who pledged years ago with that of a regular Steam user ($45) who paid for it yesterday just... doesn't seem right to me.

    10. alcaray on

      I was hoping inXile would give me a pony. I assure you that I deserve one.

    11. Kenny
      Superbacker
      on

      I also don't feel entitled to rewards I didn't back for. The hostility is just hilarious.

    12. Missing avatar

      seyEliveD on

      This entitlement is amusing; there was never any guarantee of when the game was going to be released, nor should it be expected that people who backed at lower tiers should get for free what those at higher tiers have already received. If you wanted it earlier, you should of paid for it! I backed hundreds of dollars, had access to alpha and beta, but haven't played yet and I have no intention to. I don't care if it takes them a year or two to finish the game - what's most important is that they get it right. So please, take all the time you need InXile. Everyone else, practice patience.

    13. Jedra7609
      Superbacker
      on

      I hope your staff have Teflon Souls if they are looking at Steam forums for feedback!

    14. Missing avatar

      Damon Lok on

      Take your time. Make this game right.

      However, since the game has been delayed N times already, it'll be nice to give lower tier backers early access as well. I don't plan on playing EA even if I could, but that might be a nice thing to do for your backers.

    15. Michael DeOssie on

      I can agree that early access is not release, but I'm sick of people calling it a beta. You are giving someone money for a game that you get to play. When that game is released, they just take the early access tag off and you get to keep playing. DayZ has been in early access since 12/16/13. I would hardly call it a beta anymore, despite whatever label they want to put on it.

    16. Jacqland on

      @alacray
      Thanks for the info. I'll ask now :D

    17. Bryy Miller on

      @Khsalus,
      "Still no beta access for the lower tiered "backers" that helped fund this KS so you could make the damn game to begin with! Thanks for making it clear you don't give two shits about us, will never back another InExile game again!"

      You mean the tiers that expressedly never mentioned including the beta?

    18. alcaray on

      @Ohad &@Valk:

      To address your question directly, yes you can ask for a refund and probably get it. Just send inXile a pm with your request.

      Or you can continue to hang around and bitch.

    19. Khalus on

      Still no beta access for the lower tiered "backers" that helped fund this KS so you could make the damn game to begin with! Thanks for making it clear you don't give two shits about us, will never back another InExile game again!

    20. Jacqland on

      You spent 80% of an update talking about how much you're listening to feedback, while still ignoring the thing people are talking about most.

    21. K Wirick
      Superbacker
      on

      but hey guys.. 15Months after projected release and the writing is finally done.. so that's good!

      Torment is a major reason I do not back video game kickstarters any more.

    22. Estimated delivery: Dec 2014 on

      Thanks for the advice. You don't need to beat it into me.

    23. Missing avatar

      Skirge01 on

      @Clint Foster: You're more than welcome to. The campaign said it would be released on Steam and GOG, so everyone should have already known that. The reason to back on KS is to show support for the studio by letting them know the demand is there, help ensure the game gets made in the first place, possibly get the finished product for less, and/or to get the rewards. If you just want to buy games, you shouldn't be looking on a crowd funding site.

    24. Estimated delivery: Dec 2014 on

      Oh, I see. Had I known I could have skipped the Kickstarter and just bought this on Steam I would have. I'll just do that in the future.

    25. Tobi (Crusader Kickstarter pls!!) on

      I meant thank you "to" all the backers, not "for" ;)

    26. Tobi (Crusader Kickstarter pls!!) on

      This is AWESOME!! sounds good, looking forward to playing the game. your behind the scenes stories are great and they are a big part of the fun of kickstarting projects! and thank you for all the backers who tested the alpha/beta and hunted bugs :)

    27. Ohad - Obsidian Order's Village Shaman on

      Paul - I have no complaint about the time it takes. I am irked about the early access ordeal. we definitely weren't informed about it

    28. Paul Marzagalli on

      Ohad, I swear, people like you and Valk drive me crazy. It was supposed to come out in December 2014, which was an original/early estimate before the game received massive funding and then in the preliminary stages. That date was never going to stick, and each milestone reached was a nail in 12/14's coffin. The virtue of investing during the Kickstarter, like we both did, is in helping the game achieve its various stretch goals, allowing us to get more bang for our buck. That there turns out to be a numbers discrepancy between Early Access cost and our investment is meaningless. We knew what we were getting at the time.

      Few companies have been better at giving detailed updates at various elements of the production than inXile. They've been upfront with delays, personnel channels, and they've been extremely receptive to fan feedback throughout both their kickstarter campaigns and development cycles. You are behaving like they are thieves in the night when they are behaving exactly like they ought to be - a very small, independent, but veteran design team leveraging its resources as best it can while adjusting where needed and being transparent in the process.

      Seriously, stop. Anyone complaining or thinking of complaining could budget for early access if you really wanted it. If it matters so much to you that you didn't receive it now, then fine, don't back the crowdfunding next time, just wait for the game's release (early access or otherwise). Just don't go complaining about this current game, acting like you've been misled. You haven't. You have been informed every step of the way.

    29. Missing avatar

      Empirimancer on

      I guess giving beta access to all backers above a certain level would make sense, considering the delays. Personally I don't really care, I have access to beta but I'm not playing it to remain completely unspoiled (though I have played the alpha tests to give feedback).

      That said, I still believe that thinking of your money as "tied up" misses the point of a kickstarter. Speaking as someone who's made a pretty huge pledge, the only way that I'll feel bad is if Torment turns out to be a disappointment, no matter when it comes out.

    30. Asa on

      Thanks for the update! It's too bad people are still complaining about not having beta access, personally I'm happy to wait until the game is finished. These kinds of games take a long time to make. In the meantime I really appreciate that inXile continues to post regular updates on the development progress.

    31. Ohad - Obsidian Order's Village Shaman on

      sorry, but I do feel bad about pledging for bard's tale after seeing how this project treats us backers. it will definitely be my last pledge for inxile

    32. Ohad - Obsidian Order's Village Shaman on

      Empirimancer - for beta you had to pledge 75 dollars (with a lot of extra stuff), or add 20 that makes your min of 20 as an early bird to 40 or 45 if you weren't. the early access is 44.
      I pledged 35, with 20 more it's 55. 10 more than early access.
      the game was supposed to come out on December 2014. it is now March 2016. I think they could have let us all have the beta access. I would be a lot less bitter then.
      yes, we made the game possible. I think it means something. don't you?

    33. Atlictoatl on

      Empirimancer, our money has pledgers has definitely been "tied up". In my case it's $50 of discretionary funds that I could have spent on a different gaming purchase, or many of them, including electing for higher tiers on other projects I've backed which shipped on time, which would have given me better rewards. Instead, I invested that money in Torment, which has held my money for 15 months past anticipated delivery with nothing delivered to me.

      I can have some tolerance for an extended game development, though I didn't ask for that. But what about the other products I was supposed to get for my tier? Surely those could have been produced in the last *three* years, couldn't they? Where's my digital novella compilation? Where's the high-resolution Digital Concept Art? Other backers at higher levels ave other materials due them... where is it?

      Imagine InXile said, "As a result of the funding we received, we've decided we're going to take an extra ten years to develop the title and make it the best we could". Wouldn't it be reasonable for many backers to say, "Umm.. I funded this project in part based on its expected release date, and am not willing to wait ten years. Please refund me."? Maybe a two year delay is a reasonable delay, but it's also reasonable for some backers to be unhappy about it and want their funding dollars back.

      The whole situation is exacerbated by the developers selling beta access to the public at large and telling backers whose funds have been tied up in the game for years that they have to pay more to see the current stage of the very thing they funded. Give Beta-Access Backers first entry to the beta test. A few months later, give that same access to all KS Backers, as an apology and acknowledgement of the delay. Then send a letter to all Backers explaining the desire for more testers and more funding, and release the Beta on Steam Early Access.

      The manner in which the Beta Release was conducted by InXile was disrespectful to KS Backers, and a number of us are pissed off that InXile has taken our money and delivered nothing in the last three years.

    34. Missing avatar

      Empirimancer on

      My previous comment should read, "Torment hasn't taken an unusually long time to be developed."

    35. Missing avatar

      Empirimancer on

      valk, your money has not been "tied up", it's been spent. You didn't pay for a game, you paid to make a game possible (and get the game at a price under its real value when it comes out). And come out it will, when it's done. For a game of its scope, Torment hasn't taken an usually long time to be developed.

      Clint, only the beta has been released. Backers who pledged the sufficient amount and those willing to pay the full price for early access can play it.

      inXile, thanks for the update.

    36. tarasis on

      @Clint it's in Beta / Early Access on Steam, it's not a finished release by any stretch.

    37. Estimated delivery: Dec 2014 on

      So has the game been released then? It's now available for purchase on Steam. I'm confused by this update.

    38. Weresheep of Sin AKA Stefan
      Superbacker
      on

      In all fairness: we were able to back (and later increase our pledge) to include the beta ... buying the game on Steam early access is more expensive than what I pledged for the game ... if I had wanted it early, I could have added enough funds to get the beta.

    39. valk on

      What a great update for those who bought the game on steam and got instant access. Meanwhile, my money has been tied up for years in this game and I'm just waiting. Anyway to get a refund?