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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. 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 (9): Chris Avellone

Posted by inXile entertainment (Creator)

TL;DR: Chris Avellone @ $3.5M.


Welcome, newcomers, to the land of the Forgotten Ones. We are thrilled that Pat Rothfuss may join our writing team. We have yet more good news for you all today.

$3.5M Stretch Goal – Chris Avellone

Our $3.5M Stretch Goal will add Chris Avellone to our team. You’ve probably heard of him, as he was the lead designer for Planescape™: Torment, the game that inspired us to create this project. Chris will be the first to say PS:T was a team effort, but he was its creative visionary and wrote the lion’s share of the game. He later cofounded Obsidian Entertainment, where he is the Creative Director. Chris was the lead designer for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2, and has contributed his design expertise to every project Obsidian has developed. He also worked with inXile on Wasteland 2 last year, including designing the area showcased in our gameplay first look video.

Of course, from the start, we hoped Chris could contribute to Torment as well. But as recently as a couple weeks ago (16 days to be precise), we didn’t know whether Torment would even fund. And besides, Chris’s commitment to Project Eternity made it unclear whether he’d have the time. Given his key role in Planescape™: Torment, and the respect he has earned from the game’s fans, we didn’t want to even hint that Chris might be involved unless we were certain it would be possible. Our unexpectedly strong start – because of you – made it an option we could explore. So explore we did. We’ve been able to work out the scheduling matters so that Chris can contribute to Torment without impacting Project Eternity. 

At $3.5M, Chris will be joining our design team. He’ll have two primary roles. First, he will be reviewing and providing feedback on all creative elements of the game, including the story, characters, and areas. His input will be invaluable as a resource to Colin in further detailing the creative vision for the game. Second, he’ll be designing and writing an eighth companion for the game, working with Colin and Monte to craft a companion ideal for both Torment and the Ninth World of Numenera.

We are truly excited at the possibility that Chris could collaborate with us on Torment.

Other Things

We have a few other things to mention.

$2.85M Stretch Goal – Achieved!

Thanks to you, we’ll be implementing the Extensive Epilogue to give each playthrough a more thorough conclusion. (See our Stretch Goal information on tumblr for more information.) You surged us past this Stretch Goal less than a day after we announced it!

$3.35M Stretch Goal – Castoff’s Labyrinth gains new feature: Lacunae

Not everyone in the Labyrinth has a living counterpart. Lacunae are figments of your mind that represent parts of yourself (or do they?). Through conversing with a Lacuna, you'll discover puzzles and quests, and might even enhance your own abilities. As we delve to deeper fathoms, you’ll be able to find more Lacunae with whom to interact. (The Fourth Fathom is less than 2000 backers away!)

Signed Items

In case you were curious, both Chris and Pat will be signing the Collector’s Edition game boxes in the Artifact Collector and higher Tiers.

Graphical Approach

We'll be speaking to the topic of graphics next week.

Too Many Writers?

A few of you have asked whether we're bringing too many writers on the project. Will it be difficult to manage? How will they all agree? Rest assured that more writers only helps us. Colin is in charge of the overall story, and will define the constraints required for each area to connect with the larger story. Each writer will then have one or more specific areas (and/or companions in some cases) to flesh out. There will be considerable creative freedom, especially for areas that are less central to the core storyline, but the result will be a cohesive whole.

We’re also developing conventions that all writers will follow, ensuring consistency in design and also how the Ninth World setting is conveyed. These will include writing style conventions, though not any so rigid as to constrain each writer’s talents.

The result is a very modular design, with a single creative lead to make sure everything ties together (and having Chris Avellone review the creative elements will only strengthen the vision). Managing a team of writers is how many story-driven RPGs are made, including Planescape™: Torment. Chris Avellone was the lead on PS:T, but there were seven designers working with him to make the game as deep and rich as it was. We’ll be following the same approach on Torment, as well as having Ray Vallese as a dedicated editor to further bolster consistency.

Have a great weekend!



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    1. Anton Belyanin on

      Uped my pledge from 28 to 75

      In case you wouldn't collect the whole sum - leave some place for DLC (we can fund it through Kickstarter either, I think)

    2. Missing avatar

      Taziar on

      I prefer limited saves in a game if it is done in a way that doesn't force people to frequently rerun content because of random bad luck. When there is consequence, you are much more invested.

      I replayed Fallout Tactics recently, and finally completed it. Then I immediately started again on hard-core-iron-man-no-saves-outside-of-base-whatever-it-is-called mode. Even having just played the entire game, the risk of death made it much more intense and fresh. Combat was nerve wracking, and I couldn't run around with half-dead guys because there was actual risk. A member of my squad died, and I couldn't insta-reload. I could redo the entire level but that would have sucked, so instead, I mourned the loss of my squadie and continued on. As all the characters are unique, it was an actual loss. In normal mode, I would hit the reload button before the corpse even completed its bullet dance.

      Of course, Fallout Tactics also illustrates the pitfalls of limited saves. If a game is too luck-based and characters can go from fully healed to dead with a bad roll, it can be frustrating. As is the case with burst weapons, or in my case, a failed mine-disarm-roll. Suddenly It's raining men.... (in little, tiny charred pieces)

      But overall, it is worth it, especially with NPC interaction. You won't be tempted min-max your choices based upon the rewards you get, like you do with quick-save-before-talking-to-npc games.

    3. Luis Alonzo on

      It's amazing all the stuff you can get when you bypass the middle man

    4. Steve Dozniak on

      Come on guys, drive up some updates already! It's only 10 days left.

    5. wererogue on

      Regarding saving: I think XCom:EU got it as right as you can. You have autosave gates (actually, PST did this pretty well) at important events or locations changes, and you also let players save whenever they want. But when starting a new game, give the player an Iron Man checkbox which turns off manual saving - the perfect way to remove the temptation to rework your choices.

    6. Calibrula on

      I'm happy with the way the modular writing is going to work. It's already clear that tons of great material is coming, and having an editor will be awesome.

      I'm concerned that with a scheduled release date, things will be cut. While it helps to have some sort of deadline that gets everyone to clean things up and finish, I do NOT want the ending to feel rushed. I'm concerned that extra stretch goals and other add-ons from the kickstarter will increase the content of the game making a Christmas release more difficult. As more material is added, there will be more interactions between that material and other things within the game. A goal for deeper reactivity increases the content of the game in a compound fashion. While having author-modules be separate will help with this, I imagine they aren't going to be completely separate and these interactions will increase content also.

      I want to know how you will deal with this increase in content w/ respect to deadlines. How solid is the estimated release date? I imagine that all of the writers will be working at once, but will any of the extra levels of depth require a longer writing time than expected? With extra content, how much longer will play testing and final edits take? I also understand that the writing and graphics/scripting stuff happens in two parts---I'm not sure how this affects what I've said, but basically, what can you do that makes me more comfortable you will ship a full game?

      You guys are doing great with the updates and transparency. I can already see that you have Avellone be a reviewer will help with the connecting pieces and "compounding" content I mentioned.

    7. T.J. Brumfield on

      At 3.6 million, will we get MCA's thumb?

    8. Aletheides on

      @petar: You contradict yourself. Ill quote you and then lets leave it at that.

      You said "I can only assume that the greater number of pledges towards a project are made by people with disposable income to spend - i.e. people with jobs, like me. For a PC developer to make me replay a long portion (and yes, I consider even a 5 min. needless replay "long") of a game just because I want to explore the different RPG options and decisions available to my character - I find that downright offensive. "

    9. Missing avatar

      Petar on

      @ Aletheides:
      I don't have a problem with the concept of replayability - quite the contrary, in fact. And I'm also against immersion-breaking shortcuts.
      That being said, I don't see what your example has to do with saving? You present 2 approaches towards consequences for the player, and you seem to be in favor of the second one. Guess what, so am I. But neither of them has any relation to the Save implementation. The approach towards consequnces (game design) won't be chosen just to suit the save system- actually, if they DO take the Save Anytime into account - I should think they'll take exactly the approacvh to consequences that you prefer.
      From what you've written it looks like an example of backward logic where you expect the designer at inXile to think: "hey, players can save anytime, so lets give them an XP and Affinity pop ups so they can better exploit the saves". Wait, what?
      I trust the guys at inXile to make the best choice about consequence, but even if it is XP/Reputation pop-ups - how does that prevent YOU from not loading and just sticking whit your choice ?!?

      And this: "Then the point of having consequences for dialogue is lost. It will all be about what is the Right or the Wrong choice (the one benefiting you the most) not what the character you want to play would have done in that particular situation." - is contadictory and makes no sense at all. How is the possibility to make a WRONG choice and having to deal with NOT sufferening the consequences of your decisions? I suspect you meant to say that you want different, but equally GOOD consequences, but the possibility of making a bad choice and having to face bad results is just as valid as a consequence and - dare I say- much closer to the decisions we're facing in real life. Again, the choice to stick with a bad decision or load should be left to each particular player to make.

    10. Aletheides on

      @Petar: I think you missed the word "if" in there. Im against "save when you want" *if* it means dumbing down Torment. I don't have a problem with saving as it is. You however have a problem with the concept of replayability and I respect your opinion on that but I don't share it. A game should make you want to replay it for another 60 hours, then you know you have a great game.

      I'm against implementing time savers or short cuts into game design in a way that breaks immersion and practically invalidates content and kills replayability. Let me illustrate it in a couple of examples.

      If rewards and results of an interaction with a character is too obvious, for example, you get a message at the screen that tells you that when choosing dialogue alternative #1 gave you 1000 exp and 10 affinity with a character but dialogue entry #2 gave you 500 exp and only 5 affinity. You will then reload to test ALL the alternatives before progressing to find out which one benefits you the most. Then the point of having consequences for dialogue is lost. It will all be about what is the Right or the Wrong choice (the one benefiting you the most) not what the character you want to play would have done in that particular situation.

      Instead if you have a system where you do not see any exp messages nor do you see any gains in any form of faction standing, affinity or the like with the character but instead the consequence of your action will come later or much later, then it will be irrelevant to load a game to find the "optimal" path taking focus from the story of the game. Also if you have proper reactivity in the environment of both the population and the story elements of the game world the replayability increases significantly and the risk of short cuts invalidating content lessens.

      Another example of how important immersion are. Take final fantasy Xiii. A game that has a great story compared to some predecessors but is still seen as one of the worst. Why? Presentation or lack there of. FFXiii feels like a corridor shooter but in RPG form due to the way the world is designed. Thats really how most RPGs of that ilk are designed but people aren't bothered by it or realise it due to there being important layers on top that makes it seem open ended. Usually in the form of a world map that gives everything a context, but there is other mechanics of this that has the same effect of immersing the player.

      Games that has great replayability is also the games we remember. The games we give one play through then shelve should be considered a failure because they failed to captivate us enough to keep us interested.

    11. Missing avatar

      StrangeCat on

      More great writers the Better!

    12. JDL: Operative - on

      Who's the dude in the picture? I was expecting Avellone's thumb, not some guy's face.


    13. Hiver on

      Guys. Its practically a certainty we will have the usual save everywhere system in this game.

      Baring saving in the middle of conversation, of course.
      And i will try to argue that there should not be saving in combat too, especially if its going to be Turn Based or Phase based.

      So you can pretty much relax.

    14. Missing avatar

      Petar on

      @ Aletheides
      Hm, and how exactly is the possibilty to Save going to dumb down the game? (If anything, I believe the use of Checkpoints is more conductive to design dumbing, but that's another discussion)
      I don't see paying $80 (or $30 even) as a good value for a 10h game - but that's the thing: if I want to explore different options in Torment, I don't want to have to sink another 60+ hours for a full alternative playthrough.
      I get what you're saying, and what you want, and I can respect that. But then - you can always chose NOT to save (or to save every 2 hours only, or only when you get back to a hub, etc..)
      But if you tell me "Oh no, if the option to save is there - I won't be able to restrain myself from using it" - then my respect is lost as all you want to do is impose limitations and all other players, because you can't control your compulsions.
      I cencerly hope that's not the case, and as I said - I don't believe the ability to Save dumbs the game. I don't think there's a single person who pledged for Torment that would want a dumbed-down and watered experience (and even if they do - I think Inexile stated pretty strongly that they won't cater to them) so I think you can relax on that issue :-)

    15. Aletheides on

      I have a job. A very time consuming one. Im against "save when you want" if it means dumbing down Torment. Im tired of games being dumbed down to cater to people who are looking for quick bursts of entrainment, preferably where they have their hand held all the way, just so they can shelve the game as soon as possible.

      Whats the point of playing games if all you want is to get it over with as quickly as possible? Its scary that its seen as good value today to pay 80$ for a game that has 10 hours of content. Content thats so shallow that all the thought it requires is for you to push the X/A button at the exact moment the game tells you to get through the short snooze-fest without any risk of you actually having to spend your precious time thinking. Thinking! Scary thought huh?

      No keep torment as hardcore as possible and as detailed as possible! I want to be challenged! I want to feel with the characters, I want to have a world that I want more of not less, a story that I never want to end. I want to have to make difficult choices that has real consequences. That there is no right or wrong answers. A story that makes GameFaqs obsolete because its your choices that matters not what's seen as the right choices.

      If someone is so pressed for time that 5 minutes is too much of a downtime then I recommend spending on a movie DVD instead. Cheaper, shallow and you can shelve it quickly.

    16. Missing avatar

      Petar on

      I have a question that is of great importance to me (and I don't believe that it's been mentioned in the context of Wasteland either)
      What kind of Save system do you plan on implementing, guys?
      I was prompted to ask this in light of Shadowrun Returns revealing they're going for a checkpoint system. It's 2013 and it's a PC-focused game so such a decision looks absurd to me (I know the technical/production reasoning behind it, and I understand it, but it doesn't make me any less bitter)

      I can only assume that the greater number of pledges towards a project are made by people with disposable income to spend - i.e. people with jobs, like me. For a PC developer to make me replay a long portion (and yes, I consider even a 5 min. needless replay "long") of a game just because I want to explore the different RPG options and decisions available to my character - I find that downright offensive.
      Harebrained Studios claimed that it's a matter of lack of resources for them (I believe that quite possible), but I wouldn't want to run into the same disappointement with Wasteland/ Torment down the line.
      So I'd kindly ask you to reveal your plans for the Save system, and if need be - just announce a stretch goal for a proper "Save when you want" (well, maybe not in combat) funcionality.

      Keep up the awesome work :-)

    17. Darklord on

      Awesomeness! This was something I specifically requested, so I'm really glad it's happening! :-D

    18. Trister - OO's Tormented Master Wetboy on

      @ adam heine

      how utterly bizarre and weird that must be for you guys. but given the game... i'm not sure anything that ISN'T bizarre and weird would really be fitting.

    19. Dominic Ashfield on

      @MaybeNever Aww, but the tragic unrequited romances are my favorite kind!

    20. Johan Ankerstjerne Otkjær on

      I'd wish there was i digital tier between the 125 and 350. I really wanna raise my pledge, but I'd really wish i could have some digital exclusive tidbits. The physical collectors get signed stuff afterall, maybe us digital folks could get some love as well.

      Modding tools could be tasty for example.

      One can dream, right?

    21. Theobeau:OOoE\Mad man with a box/Exiled on

      Upped my pledge to help reach the MCA stretch goal.

      More granularity in the physical mid-tier rewards might convince me (and others) to considering upping again.

    22. finallyanime on

      @MaybeNever good point (even though I'm still playing planescape

    23. Missing avatar

      Michael on

      Well jeez we'll have a Chrono Triggeresque dream team when it's all said and done. At 4 million will we be raising Gary Gygax from his grave to contribute to the game as well?

    24. Missing avatar

      MaybeNever on

      I'm sure we'll hit the $3.5M stretch goal, but Chris Avellone under no circumstances can be allowed within a hundred yards of the game's romances. If I wanted tragic, unrequited romance I have my life.

    25. Missing avatar

      Polyhedron on

      great news!

      I just hope it does not distract too much from the arcanum playthrough. Seeing him fail so hard playing that game has left me LMAO.

    26. Adam Heine on

      Trister wrote: "MCA isn't polishing this, he's writing stuff that'll BE polished by colin/kevin/adam and [Ray Vallese]."

      It's a pretty strange world where this is true, but this is true (seriously, last I remember, I worked for *him* ;-).

    27. Lena LeRay on

      A quick bit of feedback on how you wrote this update: I'm very glad you addressed how Chris Avellone joining this team won't impact his work on Project Eternity. Thank you.

    28. Cipher- Weaver of lost dreams on

      @Ceebsies you can always offer your organs :P

    29. Missing avatar

      Godewijn on

      Avellone? Nice! I backed Project Eternity as well. :) Cool

    30. Missing avatar

      Ceebsies on

      You bastards! I already upped my pledge to 125$ when you announced Rothfuss. I HAVE NO MORE MONEY TO GIIIIIIIIIIVE YOU.

    31. Missing avatar

      Gyges on

      Avellone?! PLEDGE UPPED

    32. Cipher- Weaver of lost dreams on

      I upped my pledge for this. Now i just want my gyver like armour of awesome :P oh and waren spector doing somthing :P (i'm not overly demanding or anything :P

    33. Missing avatar

      Mo Messouak on

      This is like a DREAM TEAM of writers for a cRPG. Let's hope it turns out better than the philadelphia eagles!

    34. Anthony Hart-Jones on

      But it'll be too late to get Avellone to write the pitch. His pitch for 'Last Rites' was possibly the greatest (and most NSFW) pitch I've ever seen.

    35. Aaron J on

      This is why I love Kickstarter. Where else could this happen?

    36. Trister - OO's Tormented Master Wetboy on

      the writer should be editor, ray vallese

    37. Alan Villarreal on

      Truly can't be fully complete TORMENT without Avellone. Welcome back Chris! get your tools and stuff ready, don't worry bout 3.5m, we'll hit that with ease as the days come to an end.

    38. T.J. Brumfield on

      @Miles Nerini - My assumption from day one was that MCA's involvement in this was all pending what happened with Obsidian lining up their next project. If MCA was busy as lead designer on that project, then he wouldn't be able to help on this. If Obsidian didn't line up their next project right away, then they'd be able to loan him out once again.

      So again I wonder: Did LucasArts turn down Obsidian's pitch for another Star Wars RPG?

    39. Trister - OO's Tormented Master Wetboy on

      @ JM

      you DID actually read what he's doing didn't you? he's not overseeing anything, he's coming in to write a companion, possibly an area (same as he did for WL2), and to give his thoughts about the overall project. those thoughts are not going to be law and will not be the deciding factor on anything, they will just influence other things just the same as all the other writers. MCA isn't polishing this, he's writing stuff that'll BE polished by colin/kevin/adam and the writer. so i really don't see what in the world your problem with this is, because he isn't even doing what you're complaining about.

    40. Trister - OO's Tormented Master Wetboy on

      @ trevor hills

      they're pretty much going to be doing it the same way the original planescape was worked on, and wasteland 2, and... really probably any seriously story based game with multiple writers. as they've said elsewhere, they'll have areas assigned to them that they'll design, or companions in MCA's case, and the editor/lead designer will help make sure it fits into a cohesive whole. considering how many people that the original torment had writing on it, i wouldn't be that worried about that.

    41. Byron Schmyron Hamel on

      I was already super happy about this project's team, but this announcement just knocks me off my feet. If I could afford to increase from cypher level, I absolutely would.

    42. Missing avatar

      Trevor Hills on

      How you going to deal with the "too many cooks"/"designed by committee" problem? Or is everyone doing their own little bit and then someone "Frankensteins" the whole thing together? How is this going to work?

    43. Missing avatar

      Miles Nerini on

      @JM. I don't even understand what you are talking about, really. It's not that they handed him whole the creation of the game. It's not even a certainty (albeit quite a possibility) the funding will reach 3.5
      M. And, moreover, a spiritual sequel to PS:T without Avellone is something that lacks a little bit of identity. I'm quite sure that when inXile say that they tried to get him in right from the start, it's the truth. The commitment here has always been to recreate an experience, if not a direct sequel, and Avellone was quite a large part of that groundbreaking experience. The window has opened to get him in, him being part of all this has been the most frequent fans request, his name is quite certain to sound on a lot of people to chime in and pledge (or pledge more), the game still's gonna be Colin's first and foremost (they clearly spelled it out), so... a clear win/win situation, to me.

    44. wererogue on

      Just "Black Isle" would be a nice nod, and easier to say. I like the puns too, though.

    45. Randy Snow on

      @T.J. Brumfield

      How about Xile Isle?

    46. Missing avatar

      Martin on

      Unfortunately regardless of money, unless someone helps him with those wolves in Arcanum, Chris is not going to be available.

    47. T.J. Brumfield on

      Black Xile? or inXile Isle?

      As for Project Eternity, I thought Obsidian said the design team was almost done with their portion of Eternity, which is why they're trying to line up their next project. The rumor was that Chris Avellone had a killer new story he wanted to do between Episode 3 and 4, and pitched LucasArts on a new KOTOR-like RPG that he would have been lead design on.

    48. T.J. Brumfield on

      Yeah! Torment gets Chris-fucking-Avellone!

      Oh, wait, sad! Does this mean LucasArts didn't green-light Obsidian's new Star Wars RPG?

    49. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This user's account has been deleted.