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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 (20): Some Stories


TL;DR: $4.5M Stretch Goal reached; design update; job opening for an experienced programmer; Numenera preorder ends May 31st; new concept by Andree Wallin.

Hi Forgotten Ones,

It's been a while since we've sent out an official update, so we wanted to fill you in on various happenings over the last month. (You can follow our tumblr site if you're interested in more frequent Torment news.)

First, in case you missed Thomas Beekers’s tumblr announcement at the beginning of May, we did achieve the $4.5M Stretch Goal!

Despite a strong rally throughout April, the total by the end of the month was a bit shy of the $4.5M mark, at $4,428,365. Early in the Kickstarter, we stated that the additional $200K contributed by Brian Fargo (@BrianFargo) and Steven Dengler (@Dracogen) wouldn’t be applied to our Stretch Goal targets and totals because those funds were intended to buffer against the fees and dropped pledges. But when we received the final tally from Amazon Payments, we were pleasantly surprised at how low the percentage of dropped pledges was.

So our net funding was more than expected and we are going ahead with both the stronghold and the expanded reactivity, length, and depth. Thank you all – every Stretch Goal we set was met!

Design Update

We’ve been continuing our work on the design preproduction and want to share some of what we’ve been up to.


Since we announced the project back in January, Torment fans have been wondering what combat system we'd use. Would Torment be real-time with pause (RTwP) like Planescape: Torment, turn-based like Wasteland 2, or something else? We’ve explained our high level goals for combat, and how we felt multiple types of combat system could achieve them. (If you missed it during the Kickstarter, check out Tony Evans’s Tales of Torment video about combat.) We've explained that we plan to have the decision about the type of combat system through a discussion with you, our backers.

This combat discussion is something we’re curious and excited about, but it’s still months in our future. Combat design will be very important, but our current focus is on the aspects that contribute the most to conversation design and reactivity because figuring these aspects out is necessary for all of the writers to get to work. Combat is an important topic, just not an urgent one, and we’ll talk more about it soon as we’re ready.

We’ve thought a bit about how we’ll approach the combat discussion when the time comes. We are planning a staged approach over a period of a few weeks. First, we’ll present the high level designs for the systems we think would work best for Torment based upon all of the other design work we’ll have done by then. We’ll then create a separate, backer-only Combat forum on User Voice for the topic to be discussed. A bit later, we’ll open up “voting” on this forum – thereby giving everyone who is interested some time to read and think about the approaches, as well as the ideas and comments of other backers, before weighing in numerically. We’ll leave the forum open until any debate has stabilized - we don’t expect there to be complete consensus, but after some time the major points will have been made and we’ll have enough information to make our decision.

Some of you have expressed concern that a popular vote could override our judgment and lead to an inferior game. This is a valid concern, but we’re not going to let this happen. First, we’re not going to present any option that we feel would be tragic for Torment. Second, we won’t blindly look at the numbers and decide based on those. Ultimately, we’ll take everyone’s comments and ideas into account and make the decision that we feel will be best for the game. But, again, this will be some time in the future – after we have fleshed out enough of the more pressing design topics to give combat the thorough attention it deserves.

Story Outline (Colin McComb)

Kevin asked me to write a few words about the process of fleshing out the game's story, so here goes: It's fun!

I suppose technically that was only "a couple" of words, so I'll put down a few more. Without giving away any spoilers, here's how the process works. First, I sat down with the outline and bare bones that Adam, Kevin, and I had assembled before the Kickstarter (with the input of a few others; thanks, Nathan Long!) and started to get it into a more cohesive shape. Our first goal was a story document we could show to Brian Fargo and Matt Findley for their input. I… I overwrote a little. What should have been a 4-5 page document turned into 25 pages; the initial document turned into a bit of a brain dump with a lot of area ideas with less of a uniting framework.

In order to create a better focus, I took that document and re-emphasized the story structure, breaking the game apart into modules for design and thematic consistency, with a rough guide for how much content we were aiming for in each section. I put our main cast of characters up front, along with a quick sketch of their motivations and defining characteristics, and defined a little more about how we're going to pursue some of our mechanics (Tides, Legacies, and Meres, among others).

Then I sent the revised document around for high-level review -- Fargo, Findley, Avellone -- and I've gotten some excellent feedback from them on a number of more technical issues. I've been spending some time integrating those comments; they do nothing but enhance the story.

Right now I'm working on developing a flowchart for the main quest line. When this is done, I'll be breaking it into smaller sub-quests and helping to outline the module and zone design documents with Adam's help. I'm also developing a number of endings that will be appropriate for the Legacies of the game; because of the hugely iterative nature of game development, these endings will undoubtedly change, but they'll at least give us a target to aim for. Early on, we decided that we didn't want to have a "best" ending - we wanted every ending to be the best, most logical ending based on the way you've played the game.

Oh, and how could I forget the companions? I've got some quest arcs for the companions percolating, and I've heard from Pat about the character he wants to create… and is he ever excited for that. Chris and Nathan are both starting to get amped on some character ideas as well, so we'll be having some discussions about that shortly. We want to ensure that our companions are memorable, deep, and each with a hook that will make you want to explore their personalities. Having spoken extensively with Pat about his idea, I can guarantee that he's bringing something new and very, very different.

The best part about the process right now is coming up with crazy ideas and throwing them out for discussion. If, for example, I were to suggest that we have a worm that tears open the fabric of space when you eat it (perhaps a defensive mechanism on its home world?), we could have a lively conversation about how we'd use it in the game and how we'd implement it. We're not going to have that worm (probably), but we're very much at the stage where ideas like that are worth discussing. Creating the twists and turns that go into the plotline (as well as the narrative setbacks, the seemingly insurmountable challenges), developing strange but believable locations, populating the world with factions, cults, friends, enemies, allies, and foes… there are a lot of moving pieces that are going into creating Torment’s story, and I think you'll be happy with the end result.

Zone Design Documentation (Adam Heine)

As you’ve just read, Colin has mostly been working on the main story. Meanwhile, one of my jobs has been to figure out our design doc templates, along with standard definitions for terms like "area" and "module," so that we're all talking about the same things back here.

Because of our Mere design (as described in Update 6) and the decentralized nature of our writing team, one of the concepts we came up with is a Zone. A zone is a smaller collection of areas to be created by a single designer with about 20-40 minutes of gameplay. To use the original Torment as an example, if the Clerk's Ward was a module, then Ravel's Maze and the Brothel of Slating Intellectual Lusts would each be an example of a zone (with each loading screen inside those zones denoting an area). Colin will ensure the zones connect smoothly to the main storyline, so we can use this concept to split up the work in a way that makes sense, without ending up with a bunch of disjointed areas. Zones give us a degree of narrative freedom while maintaining consistency.

A perfect example of a zone are the Meres, self-contained vignettes (mostly) that add to the larger framework of the Last Castoff's search for answers. Kevin has asked Tony Evans and me to design example Meres. These example Meres not only test the concept of a zone, but they also allow us to figure out what needs to be in our design docs, to try out some of the tools we'll eventually use to implement the game, to test our initial ideas for things like conversation systems and the Tides, and to give us something to show the other writers so that when we say, "Hey! Design a zone!" they know exactly what that means.

In game development, the first areas you design are likely to be the weakest because you’re still figuring out the details of the game. Often they're scrapped or redesigned later in the project. So we’re not expecting these example Meres to end up in Torment. But we’re treating them as if they were real areas anyway because who knows? If they are good enough, they’ll earn a spot in the final game.

From the Depths Novellas (Adam Heine)

On top of that, we've had the five From the Depths novella authors start on their stories (Colin and Monte won't be starting theirs until much later). As we’ve mentioned before, not only does this get our heads in the world for when we start designing areas within the game, but it also helps us define the Tides better for all the designers.

So Mur Lafferty, Nathan Long, Ray Vallese, Tony Evans, and I have been spending part of our time writing synopses of our novellas for approval. This part is exciting as we envision ways to connect the novellas to each other and to the game. They won't all have strong ties, and you certainly won't have to read the novellas to understand any part of the game, but there will be common threads here and there that you’ll pick up on if you’ve read them.

Each of the novellas is focused on one of the five Tides, following the descriptions we gave you from Update 7 (with one exception: Nathan Long had an idea for Zelor's novella that was not only more awesome, but defined the Red Tide even better; we told him to run with it). The novellas take place centuries before the Tides of Numenera, and so form part of the lore of the world.

We're aiming to finish our first drafts over the next couple of months. But if you know anything about writing, you know there's even more months of work to be done after that, so don't expect the novellas for a while still.

Team Additions

As we mentioned in the last Update, the current team working on Torment is very small, focusing on the story and design while our production team (programmers, artists, etc.) is working on Wasteland 2. We will have some openings for Torment over the next few months, with the first being for an experienced programmer. If this may be you (or someone you know) and you want to move to southern CA and work on Torment, check out our job opening.

We’d also like to introduce another of our writers, Natalie Whipple. She was discovered by Adam, who writes:

“I know, I know. More writers, right? But every writer means more reactivity and more content for the production team when they move onto Torment. It's gotta start somewhere. I've been a fan of Natalie’s science-fiction and fantasy writing for a long time and have even been lucky enough to critique a few of her works. Her stories are hugely imaginative, and she has a unique voice that's memorable and intriguing. Her debut novel, Transparent, was released just last week and her second will be out next year. Transparent is a science-fiction novel for young adults that is something of a cross between the X-Men and the Godfather. It’s a story about an invisible girl who works for her father, Vegas's biggest crime lord – at least, she does until her father pushes her too far and she goes on the run.

When Colin and I were talking about writers who would be good for this project, Natalie was one of the first I thought of. After reading her stuff, Colin agreed she would be a strong addition to our existing voices. Obviously her style and tone for Torment will be different from her debut novels, since the audience (and medium) is different. She’ll begin contributing to Torment later this year after we’ve set up our story and design guidelines.”

Ideas and User Voice

Our Torment UserVoice Game Ideas forum is fast closing in on 1000 ideas. We’re still getting a steady influx of ideas every day and look forward to more detailed suggestions as we reveal more of the game. If you’re looking to get your ideas to us, the UserVoice forum is by far the best place to go. We check it multiple times a day, keeping an eye on new, hot, and top ideas, and have regular internal discussions about the best and most-voted ones.

One thing our regulars may notice is the addition of a new status, “seen.” Seen was added for sorting and clarity purposes, and is used when no other tags really apply. This also helps alleviate some of the confusion caused by the “considering” tag, as considering can mean we’re open to some parts of the ideas but also sometimes means we’re not really seriously considering implementing all of it.

(We still do plan to set-up a more traditional Torment forum in the future.)

Recent Interviews and Q&As

With the Kickstarter campaign over, we’ve been shying away from most interviews so that we can focus on the game’s preproduction. But we had several articles that were already underway and have been finished over the last month.

Here’s an article written by Ian Miles Cheong, who interviewed Colin McComb as part of the Game Front 1-on-1 series talking about various aspects of the game and setting.

Colin was also recently interviewed by grotsnik of the RPG Codex and answered a variety of questions about our design plans for Torment.

Though not exclusively Torment-related, RPG Codex (Zed) also interviewed George Ziets recently, where he talks about writing for games and several of his past and present games.

And here is a brief Q&A response from Colin about conversations, recorded on April 4th when he was en route to southern CA for the Torment Kickstarter closing party and post-Kickstarter planning meetings.

Finally, Colin and Kevin have answered a few FormSpring questions over the last month as well, and a summary of those is on tumblr.

Numenera Preorder Ends Friday!

The first two books for the Numenera tabletop RPG are on track to be out this August. For those of you who have either the Numenera Corebook or Numenera Player’s Guide in your pledge Tier, you’ll receive these rewards as part of this initial Numenera release.

If the Numenera books aren’t part of your Torment rewards, you can preorder them through the Numenera website. If you preorder either printed book, you’ll receive an ebook version for free. (These will be in PDF format and normally sell for $20 for the Corebook and $8 for the Player’s Guide). The preorder will end this Friday, May 31, so if you want to take advantage of these specials, now’s the time!

The Corebook is a 416-page full-color hardcover rulebook and setting guide, and it’s a primary reference for us in the design of Torment’s locations, characters, items, and rules system. (It doesn’t talk about the Tides and Legacies, as those are extensions we’re creating specifically for Torment.) Much of Torment will take place Beyond the Beyond, but we’ll be visiting some locations discussed in the corebook as well. It’s $60 (plus $10 S&H in the US or $20 internationally).

The Player’s Guide is a 64-page softcover book that provides a brief synopsis of the rules and setting. It contains the essentials from the Corebook that a player needs to understand to jump right into the tabletop game. It’s $20 (plus $5 S&H in the US or $10 internationally).
If you don’t pick these up via preorder (or through a pledge Tier), you can order them in August – make sure your local gaming store is set up to receive it!

New Concept (and Wallpaper)

And finally, we have a new concept by Andre Wallin that shows another of Torment’s exotic locations. Titled Before the Fall, it’s available as a wallpaper from our website.

João Varandas and Terrance Nelson like this update.


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    1. ThomasN on June 2, 2013

      Cool that you are in an airplane and we have to read scrolling titles. Next time transcribe that to text only and just paste it here.

    2. KinnArchimedes/@Bland_Boy on June 2, 2013

      Found the answer. Tis a yes. hoho!

    3. KinnArchimedes/@Bland_Boy on June 2, 2013

      So are we getting shipped th corebooks/players guides at ToN's release, or when the rulebooks themselves are released?
      I'd gladly pay some money for shippin if it meant getting these particular rewards sooner.

    4. Silver on June 1, 2013

      Good update - looks like there are some corebooks to sign before shipping them out in August then. ;)

    5. Rinu on May 31, 2013

      "Some of you have expressed concern that a popular vote could override our judgment and lead to an inferior game. This is a valid concern, but we’re not going to let this happen. First, we’re not going to present any option that we feel would be tragic for Torment. Second, we won’t blindly look at the numbers and decide based on those. Ultimately, we’ll take everyone’s comments and ideas into account and make the decision that we feel will be best for the game. But, again, this will be some time in the future – after we have fleshed out enough of the more pressing design topics to give combat the thorough attention it deserves."
      I'm VERY glad to hear that. It's actually my biggest concern regarding any Kickstarter that a part of game becomes a fanfic. Thanks.

    6. Aaron Alberg on May 31, 2013

      Again, I say kudos for stepping up and applying the additional $200K contributed by Brian Fargo and Steven Dengler to reach $4.5M mark Stretch Goal!

    7. dONALD42 on May 30, 2013

      I know I'm pushing the limits here, but I would love to have a blue-orange coloured wallpaper. Sometimes. Later. Whenever you feel you have the time. :D

    8. John Fogarty on May 30, 2013

      @meganothing dread hamster of torment

      If you think that's bad, read up on when 'Edge Games' tried to sue EA over 'Mirror's Edge'. Or the 'Elder Scrolls' vs. 'Scrolls' debacle. There's a bunch of similar ridiculous legal cases out there that I suspect Brian was trying to avoid.

      And of course, Paris Hilton once tried to own the phrase 'That's Hot'...

    9. Theobeau:OOoE\Mad man with a box/Exiled on May 30, 2013

      Thank you for the detailed, interesting update though tumblr (now Yahoo owned) version has even more detail.

    10. Adam Heine on May 30, 2013

      John Fogarty wrote: "Man, copywrite law is *dull*..."

      This is true.

      @Jan: You will be able to manage your pledge for a while here: Later on, you'll be able to purchase some items from our store, but I don't know which items or for how long. It's possible the novellas might be exclusive to our store for a limited time. Maybe Thomas Beekers can give you more info.

    11. James on May 30, 2013

      Can't wait to see the Numenera stuff!

    12. Jean-Baptiste Scref on May 30, 2013

      "The first two books for the Numenera tabletop RPG are on track to be out this August. For those of you who have either the Numenera Corebook or Numenera Player’s Guide in your pledge Tier, you’ll receive these rewards as part of this initial Numenera release."

      Does this apply to the signed Corebook and Player's Guide included in the $500 and above tiers ?

    13. meganothing dread bard of torment BOSB on May 30, 2013

      @John Fogarty,Adam Heine: "purchase the licence"="buy the licence"="licence". We both never meant that there was a property transfer involved.
      But thanks for the clarification that they really had to spend money on the "Torment" name. That part of the law is somewhat understandable (obviously it was worth something as inXile did spend money for it) and infuriating (even our language is already parcelated and tagged with a price) at the same time

    14. Missing avatar

      -_- on May 30, 2013

      :( yes.. every time I read about writers of sci-fi for young adults being involved in Torment, my stress levels increase. Is their involvement a comment on the target audience for the game, or on our intelligence levels?! Bring in hard sf writers instead !!

    15. Maciej Stańczyk on May 30, 2013

      'Transparent is a science-fiction novel for young adults that is something of a cross between the X-Men and the Godfather.' - thank you, I'm sooooo convinced right now

    16. Missing avatar

      Jan on May 30, 2013

      Excellent update, thanks! I have a question regarding the Physical Novella Compilation. At the moment, I don't have the money to up my pledge from 20$ to 45$ in order to pledge another 40$ for the books + international shipping. Do you intend to set up a Torment fan shop where I can buy them separately... or can I buy them on amazon once they are released? Thanks

    17. John Fogarty on May 30, 2013

      @Adam Heine

      Hmm, wait a sec, so the implication behind the purchase of the TM, but not the IP would be that 'Torment' could literally be used solely as a title, and that any iconography associated with it could not be used? Interesting.

      Man, copywrite law is *dull*...

    18. John Fogarty on May 30, 2013

      @meganothing dread hamster of torment

      Actually inXile, or more specifically Brian Fargo personally, -did- have to purchase the 'Torment' licence as-per the US Patent Office ( The Numenera setting was licensed, not purchased.

      I'm just curious as to what the purchase entailed, other than the right to produce 'Torment' branded games.

    19. Stephen York
      on May 30, 2013

      I don't know what the best combat system would be, but I really hope it focuses on supporting the story-focused nature of the game. All too often combat is so common in RPGs that we become desensitized to it, to the point where it no longer serves as a way to create emphasis in the narrative. That's fine for Serious Sam, but not for a successor to Torment.

    20. Hans Christian Nenseth on May 30, 2013

      Thanks for the nice and long update

    21. DeeK on May 29, 2013

      Nice update. Excellent news about the stretch goal!

    22. Nicholas Russell on May 29, 2013

      I appreciate you giving us a heads up about the combat decision and agree with where you stand here. I personally want to see how you handle conversations and other, non-combat interactions with the world first before making a decision as it’ll let me choose which combat option is more organic.

    23. Adam Heine on May 29, 2013

      Re: High-res wallpapers. Unfortunately, releasing high-res versions for free would be unfair to those backers who paid for them as part of their rewards package. Sorry, guys :-( If you really want them, the high-res concept art and digital map are still available as an add-on for $4:

      Re: Torment license. I *believe* what inXile has is the Torment trademark, not the IP, but don't quote me on that. We are licensing the Numenera tabletop game and the Ninth World setting from Monte (not buying; apparently there's a difference :-).

      Re: tumblr/twitter. Lots of folks don't follow every little tidbit we throw up other places (heck, even I forget to check the tumblr page). That's why we compile it all here for you in the KS update :-)

    24. Waqqas Hanafi on May 29, 2013

      That $4.5 million update sounds like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo to me. Increased depth and length would make sense if you guys were making a swimming pool.

    25. Riggo on May 29, 2013

      Woot! Strongholds!!!!

    26. James Knight on May 29, 2013

      Am I the only person that refuses to get on tumblr or twitter?

    27. meganothing dread bard of torment BOSB on May 29, 2013

      @John Fogarty: "since inXile bought the 'Torment' licence". The only thing inXile bought is the Numenera setting. Lets hope intellectual property rights don't get that far that you have to buy even single words.

    28. Missing avatar

      Ken Burwood on May 29, 2013

      Thanks for the update! Long indeed, but still enjoyed reading it. Beautiful wallpapers!

    29. Missing avatar

      Dor S on May 29, 2013

      *new desktop background* Glad to hear from you guys and how you're handling the decision on how to do the combat system!

      P.S: is the torment forum happening soon? I think it will spawn more ideas and deep discussions about the game then uservoice.

    30. Missing avatar

      Konstantinos Kazantzidis on May 29, 2013

      That wallpaper is beautiful. I love how some of the concepts have looked alien without feeling sci-fi, a very fitting setting for the existential journey I hope Torment will be.

    31. erik on May 29, 2013

      Glad to hear from the Torment team.
      I'm looking forward to the impending debate (debacle? ;)) regarding combat.
      Also, it's always a pleasure to see artwork from fellow swede André adorn a Kickstarter update. He's done some great artwork for both Wasteland 2 and Torment 2.

    32. Jekadu on May 29, 2013

      "Transcribed to codex" for a future title, perhaps?

      This was a nice, meaty update for someone who doesn't follow tumblr and can't be bothered to read every single article and interview out there. The link to the analysis of conversation systems was very interesting.

    33. Kevin B. on May 29, 2013

      1. Great update
      2. Before the Fall is Awesome.
      3. Colin staring at me in silence for a minute is little unnerving. ;)

    34. Missing avatar

      radioactivelullaby on May 29, 2013

      i wonder if the "before the fall" place will be the stronghold...

    35. epmode on May 29, 2013

      It would be nice if those of us with Torment reward tiers that include physical versions of the Numenera books will also get PDFs... Has there been any official word on the subject?

    36. jorlinn on Linux on May 29, 2013

      First of all: thanks for the update!
      On the combat design, please make it so that a control (such as the space bar in Baldur's Gate-type games) can make you switch seamlessly between real-time and turn-based combat.
      that way you can let the AI of your characters handle fights against enemies that have become push-overs after you've progressed enough after giving the initial commands and keeping the tight control with ample time for thinking through your strategy for adversaries that are truly a challenge given the party's current level.

    37. Matt Lee on May 29, 2013

      The wallpapers are beautiful, and I'd like to use them on some machines that have very high resolution (2560x1440, and 2880x1800). Would you consider offering higher resolution images? Thanks!

    38. bloodraven43 tormented Weresheep on May 29, 2013

      fantastic but still tormented over the combat issue...but ill wait and see...I guess I haven't a choice in that matter update anyways...cheers

    39. gandalf.nho
      on May 29, 2013

      Beautiful wallpaper

    40. Missing avatar

      Elliott on May 29, 2013

      Your "without logo" wallpaper has a watermark not present in the other "without logo" wallpapers. Mind removing it?

    41. Eero Salonen on May 29, 2013

      Nice update, good summary of things told in other places and there was some brand new things too :).

      That space station? looks nicely alienic and exotic location, which I hope that it is place where we can get in the game.

    42. Otto T M Tormented Ninja of the O-Order on May 29, 2013

      Oh My Science Before the Fall is incredible beautiful!

      It struck me silent for half a minute.

    43. CSDare on May 29, 2013

      Great update. Only one, hardcore nerd comment: I think they chose "slaking" for a reason, as it's so much sexier than "slating" ... *grin*

    44. John Fogarty on May 29, 2013

      Great - really comprehensive update guys!

      You know, I've been replaying 'Planescape' lately, and I was wondering...since inXile bought the 'Torment' licence...does that mean they also own the rights to the Symbol of Torment? Hmm...

    45. moozaad on May 29, 2013

      Nice update but can we get the wallpapers in 2560x1440 please?