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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 (26): Decision

Posted by inXile entertainment (Creator)

TL;DR: Combat vote results completed – statistically it was a tie! Torment: Tides of Numenera’s combat (and Crises) will be turn-based combat. We’ll address concerns expressed by Real-Time with Pause fans in our design.


Your participation in the combat discussion and vote has been terrific! Almost 20% voted and over 2000 comments were made on our forums alone. That’s twice the turnout I expected, and it’s great to see all of the passion our backers have for the project. I’d like to thank everyone who got involved.

It’s been an exciting vote! The leading system changed a couple times early on and the final tally is: 7,267 TB, 7,052 RTwP and 782 Indifferent. With the vote at 48% to 47%, and with those who voted “indifferent” being more than triple the difference between the TB and RTwP camps, it is essentially a draw.

As we explained in Update 24, we were leaning toward turn-based combat because we believe it’s better suited for the kind of tactical complexity we're looking for through our Crisis system. We believe it’s a stronger fit for bringing narrative elements, including dialogue with NPCs, into hand-crafted combat situations. We have considered the vote, but more important than the vote are the comments (not just in our forums, but on many of the community forums and articles on this topic). Your comments have helped us greatly in understanding why people have the preferences and concerns that they do.

We have decided to go with turn-based combat. Ultimately, there are no losers here. This is all part of the process of making an RPG we are all passionate about and we think you’ll like Torment’s combat even if you voted for RTwP. While we have not been looking forward to disappointing half of our backers, we were happy to find that many of the reasons people gave for disliking TB and preferring RTwP can be addressed through the details of our combat system and encounter design. I’d like to go over some of the more common comments we saw either for RTwP or against TB and explain how we will address them.

Comment #1: Turn-Based combat can be tedious

If one were to take Planescape: Torment and, changing nothing else, switch to TB combat, the result would be miserable for many. You'd be stopped midstride in every Hive back alley to perform the same boring actions on meaningless thugs and zombies.

This isn’t what we’re going to do.

Turn-based combat certainly can be tedious, but that comes down to encounter design. As we stated during the Kickstarter, Torment will have no trash mobs—those hordes of filler battles that require little thought from the player. That type of gameplay is at odds with our emphasis on the story and character development, so each Crisis in Torment will be hand-crafted. It will have narrative relevance and consequences. We'll iterate on them until each one is a quality encounter and provides the experience we seek for that moment in the game.

If any combat situation in Torment were tedious, it wouldn’t be because it's turn-based. It would be because we failed in our goal. And our Crises aren’t just combat. They contain exploration, dialogue, and time-relevant actions and events that can exist outside of combat, like pursuits, environmental puzzles, and application of special skills. You’re going to have to work throughout the game toward your goals, and the Crisis concept is a primary way that we put your intentions to the test.

We understand the importance to you of combat not being tedious. Emphasis on encounter design is important for any CRPG, but for Torment, the bar will be even higher – we believe that through well designed encounters, and extensive gameplay iteration on them, we’ll be able to address the majority of the concerns expressed by those who favored RTwP.

Comment #2: Turn-Based combat can break immersion

"Immersion" is a tricky term that can mean a lot of things, but generally this comment is referring to the jarring sense a player gets when they're walking through a town and suddenly the whole world stops because, say, a feral dog saw them coming down the street.

Again, this isn't what we're going to do. In general, we don’t plan to “surprise” you with a Crisis. Through the design of the areas and the pacing of the game, you’ll know when and where combat is a possibility. The situation will feel tense and in some cases, you will be explicitly initiating the Crisis. This doesn’t mean we won’t ever ambush you, of course, but if we do, it will be very deliberate and not an arbitrary event.

We get that you don’t want to be pulled out of the game in this way and we’ll look for ways to keep you in control and prevent Crises from disrupting the normal flow of the game.

That said, Torment isn’t an action game. Real time doesn’t pass in conversations, for example – you have as much time as you want to decide your choice. And while exploration occurs in real-time, it won’t include twitch elements. All of your decision-making throughout the game will consistently be free from real-time considerations. Torment is a game about thinking and deliberation and will not have any actual time pressure, so turn-based combat will maintain a more consistent feel.

Comment #2a: Turn-Based combat isn’t realistic

A variation of the concern about immersion is that TB gameplay isn’t realistic. In a real battle, you don’t patiently observe while your opponents orderly take turns one at a time.

This is true, but the lack of realism is inherent in most videogame combat and gameplay (again, turn-based conversations come to mind), and RTwP combat isn’t immune to this issue. What we strive for isn’t realism, but creating an immersive experience that allows you to suspend your disbelief. In other words, realism is not at the core of Torment’s party-based combat.

That said, we will strive to make the combats as dynamic and visceral as possible – attacked characters will animate appropriately when struck instead of standing lifelessly, for example, or perhaps having readied actions such as overwatch or interrupts to take actions on the opponent’s turn. We will maintain tension and flow, creating the sense that you are in actual danger and making your tactical and strategic decisions matter.

Comment #3: Controlling the entire party in Turn-Based can be boring

The idea behind this concern is that if only one character in your party is relevant to the combat (e.g., it’s in a narrow passageway or a specific skill/weapon is needed for some aspect of it, etc.) then gameplay gets bogged down. It’s not fun to have to skip most of your characters’ turns, cycling back to the one character who can actually do something.

This problem also comes down to encounter design, and we’ll be paying close attention to this aspect in our specific Crisis designs. Strong support of ranged combat will help, as melee-focused battles can exacerbate this problem. The Numenera rules also help here because skills, while beneficial, generally aren’t required to accomplish specific tasks, and Effort can be expended to give any character a better chance of success at tasks outside their character build. Adam discussed how this works in Update 21 (in the context of dialogue, though it applies to Crisis gameplay as well), but we’ll copy it here again so you don’t have to search for it.

Using skills will be different, too (side note: I say "will," but we're still in pre-production, so any of this can change). Say there's a difficult task you want to attempt—lying to a prison guard or deciphering the text on an ancient puzzle box. Typically, in D&D-style RPGs for example, if you don't have the associated skill, your chances of success are very low, or you might not be able to attempt the task at all. In Numenera, all such tasks are treated the same, and anyone can try them. Training in a related skill or skills will lower the difficulty of the task, but even if you're untrained, you can still apply Effort.

Effort is a concept from the Numenera tabletop game. Essentially you spend points out of the appropriate stat pool (Might, Speed, or Intellect) to lower the difficulty of a task. The idea is, even if you've never been trained in lock picking, a very smart or dexterous character can, with some Effort, increase their chances of cracking a lock.

Your stat pools are renewable with rest. And of course, all of this is balanced. If you're trying to crack a combination lock created by a culture that died out millions of years ago, which requires a combination of smells rather than integers, well . . . you'd have to have a high-level character specialized in the task, who spent all the Intellect they had on Effort, just to make the task possible. That character would still have to roll ridiculously well.

Effort provides more options to customize your character and tackle obstacles. If there's a task you want to attempt—even if it's something normally contrary to your character build—you still have a chance of succeeding if you can use enough Effort. On the other hand, someone who has trained or specialized in that sort of task will have a greater chance of success, and will maintain that edge in similar tasks throughout the game.

Note also that party members can “assist” others in particular skill-based tasks, boosting their chances for success.

In short, we’re fully aware that cycling can be a painful way to play, and that this aspect of gameplay is important to you, and we’ll design the Crises to keep your entire party engaged.

Comment #4: You should implement both RTwP and TB and make it a gameplay option

This solution may sound ideal, but it wouldn’t give anybody what they really want. Area and encounter design needs of the two systems are very different. Designing for both would dilute the quality of the encounters for one or both systems, and most likely require so much time and resources as to impact the rest of the game. In a deep RPG like ours, where combat isn't even the focus, trying to implement two combat systems would lead to an inferior game across the board.

Comment #5: Planescape: Torment had Real-Time with Pause combat, so the new Torment should too

This is a reasonable perspective and valid point of view. Shouldn't we stick with what made the original great?

But is RTwP combat what made Planescape: Torment great? For some of you, the combat may have been an important part of your PST experience, and we hope that you’ll find the combat in Torment: Tides of Numenera to be at least equally enjoyable. But we don't think PST’s combat system was what most players loved about the game.

We believe PST is considered one of the greatest RPGs of all-time, not because its combat was Real-Time w/ Pause, but because of its emphasis on the narrative and on role-playing your character. We explained this in the four pillars we described in the Kickstarter, which are the foundation for Torment: Tides of Numenera:

 1. A Deep, Thematically Satisfying Story
 2. A World Unlike Any Other
 3. A Rich, Personal Narrative
 4. Reactivity, Choice, and Real Consequences

We’re using all four pillars to influence and reinforce our Crisis and combat design. Throughout the campaign, we stressed that we would find an approach for combat that worked well with these pillars. With the approach we have planned – including turn-based combat – we hope to integrate more narrative and more choice and consequence into the combat experience.

Though Planescape: Torment is the starting point for many of our design decisions, Torment: Tides of Numenera was never intended to be a game that, by default, duplicates everything PST did. It is a thematic successor that is inspired by PST, not derivative of it. The themes we are succeeding are the things that made Planescape: Torment a classic – the four pillars and other elements as described in our vision document  – and we don’t see the specific combat system as core to PST’s legacy. We have several of the people from the PST team involved in the project and we hope that you continue to trust that we will deliver the type of CRPG experience you crave.

"The Planescape: Torment experience was never defined by its combat. In Torment: Tides of Numenera, the combat is intended to complement both the narrative systems and the basic gameplay mechanics. It is a challenging decision for the team to make, and I respect and support their decision to choose turn-based."

-- Chris Avellone, Lead Designer of Planescape: Torment; Creative Director at Obsidian Entertainment

Comment #5a: Why all this focus on combat? Planescape: Torment wasn't even about that

This is kind of the opposite sentiment as the previous comment, or rather it's the other side of the same coin. Rest assured that combat is not, and never has been, our primary focus, as you can see in the four pillars above. Torment is very much about the story, the characters, the conversations, and the world, and we are focusing most of our efforts in those areas – it wasn't until six months after the Kickstarter that we even started talking seriously about combat in our updates.

If it feels like we are suddenly focused on combat, it's only because our recent updates have had that focus. In a month or two we'll talk about something else—art creation or story design or exploration gameplay or something—and then it'll feel like we're 100% focused on that.

Moving Forward with You

We're excited about what we have planned, and as you see more of what we’re doing, we think you’ll be excited, too. We’ll be talking about other aspects of the design in the near term, but we’ll certainly be talking more about Crises and combat down the road. We hope that you’ll continue to trust our judgment and dedication to the project and to you. Remember that you’ll have future opportunities to influence the game’s development, including aspects of its combat. We’ll be seeking your feedback in the future and you’ll be able to weigh in on details later to help us hone the experience.

We're grateful that we can solicit your feedback and your input throughout this process. This style of development would never have been possible even five years ago, let alone fifteen. It's encouraging to see your interest and passion in what we're doing. We learn a lot from your comments and posts on these topics, and we come that much closer to creating something great.

We will not take for granted the trust that you placed in us this past spring. We are making this game for you, our backers. When you play Torment, we want you to feel you trusted us wisely. We’re not looking for mass market success – our only metric is your satisfaction, and we are working hard toward that goal every day. Thanks for your support and understanding,

Kevin Saunders
Project Lead

P.S. We have a couple more things to say, but they’re more about our communication and our gratitude, so we’ve put them on tumblr to keep this update focused on combat.

Wesley Hodgson, zmonkey, and 208 more people like this update.


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    1. Stiler Orion on

      This is a bit disappointing to me.

      I know Turn based has certain things RTwP doens't have but I enjoy RTwP a lot more, it just doesn't feel as slow and lets me take combat at a pace I want rather then the usual slow pace that forced turn based does.

      Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter, Dragon Age, that was the kind of combat I was looking forward to.

      Turn based a la Fallout, while I enjoyed fallout I/II, the combat was so dang slow it bogged the entire game down and felt tedious.

    2. Jake Huhman on

      I still wish the developers the best of luck with this project, and I'm glad I helped back it, but I am now completely unlikely to play much, if any, of this game. I was pretty excited for it, but it sounds less and less like the game I was expecting, and my backlog is too crowded as-is =/.

    3. Lord Drakonor on

      So ends my anticipation for the game. This is the last time I pledge for anything in KS - Turn based is NOT The spiritual successor for your previous games!! Had I known frm the start - I would've not pledged a penny!!!
      Going to demand a refund!! This is BullS****

    4. Mike Dennis on

      @Brandon TB is inferior combat. RTwP is unrealistic enough, but I can't even stand to play TB. I don't follow the Final Fantasy games, so I don't really get the comparison... People like games where the action doesn't stop or stops when you want it to, not ALL THE TIME. There are little 2-3 person indie teams that make more basic games still, but that is about it... All the other teams (except this one apparently) go for games that don't limit the game play by making them TB.

    5. Lee Holmes on


      No idea what you're getting at. The only game that's come close to RTWP for me since Baldurs Gate 2 and the likes is DA:O - and even that isn't close

      We're both just as starved as each other

    6. Nameless on

      Well, it was a rude ass comment only inviting flaming.

    7. Elisus on

      I voted RTwP because that is what I have enjoyed in the games I've played. Will probably enjoy the game regardless of it being turn based.

    8. Philip Dahmen on

      Well I kinda hate that but on the other hand, story bits during a fight? Like real life? "No don't hit me" "look over their it's a dragon"-> change in everything.....So well if you think it is better for your way of telling the game.... but it leaves a sour taste.....more perople no matter how "little" it seemed want combat with pause, so no't doing it will disappoint some or even many backers....a bold decision. On the other hand I really like XCOM and since combat is not the reason while I backed this game as my first project ever with so much money it could work out...but don't screw the story, than I would get really mad! xD

    9. Missing avatar

      Nuno Fonseca on

      TB is such a mediocre way of resolving battles on an RPG. It takes you completely out of the game to enter in a "zone" to resolve the encounter. Why on earth do you guys think it can be immersive is beyond my comprehension. I'm with Lord Drakonor, I'm not going to play this game if it comes with TB combats and wouldn't mind to be refunded!

    10. Missing avatar

      Trevor Robinson on

      I voted RTwP, as we're already getting a couple of (hopefully) decent turn-based RPG's in the next year or so (Wasteland 2 & Divinity 3). Mind you, Project: Eternity is going to be RTwP, so its not as though every upcoming RPG is going to have similar feeling combat experiences.

    11. Devin McNaughton on

      Nope. I just find it curious that so-called fans of old-school PC RPGs are so passionately against a very old-school PC RPG mechanic. We live in a world absolutely saturated with real-time combat and twitch-based gameplay. Those types of gamers have the world to pick from; us old-school gamers have, well, games we've already played.

      I'm only responding to those that say they suddenly have no interest in the game, by the way. The ones trying to get their money back. If it's just your preference, I don't really care.

    12. Missing avatar

      Chris Schodt on

      I love the idea of RTwP, but in any game with more than one character, it's usually a mess. Can we all be honest for a second? Combat in PsT was pretty crap. I was kind of hoping Tides would be the game to get it right, but I think your explanations are solid.

      Very much looking forwards to this game. You guys are the ones actually making it, and I trust you to know what's best.

    13. Neal Tambe on

      I'll be honest. I voted RTwP, and am disappointed with TB, but will still give this game a chance.

      On the flipside, I hope I don't end up playing Wasteland 2 in the Numenera world.

      Finally, these explanation, while extensive and show a great amount of care, don't say much besides "RTwP people are worried about X,Y,Z, but its not a big deal".

    14. Brandon on

      @Mike, if a sufficient number of people wanted real time with pause they would have gone with that. They themselves wanted turn based but if a sufficient majority of pledgers wanted real time with pause they would have gone with it.

      Also, almost no games are turn based today not because it's inherently inferior as a combat style but for the very same reason first person shooters are so big now or why sprite graphics are not used very often, because people have a misconception that they're inferior. However look at Final Fantasy VII and now compare that to say Final Fantasy VI. Only a damn blind fool would claim that Final Fantasy VII looks better than Final Fantasy VI. Same issue here. People are ragging on turn based simply because it has a reputation of being inferior even though it's not, it's just different.

    15. Nameless on

      @Devin McNaughton - Was that comment for real or are you just trolling? Seriously?

    16. Missing avatar

      Becky Cunningham on

      I voted turn-based so I'm happy, but I'm even happier to hear so many interesting things about how you're going to implement the Crisis system. It all sounds great for fans of story-driven gameplay like myself!

    17. King Purvis on

      You guys are so authentic and well worded it nearly sickens me. I love your explanations. I love that you address the issues and I can literally read you all thinking about them. I legitimately believe you care about us and our thoughts. Have you thought about running for politics? I kid. But seriously, with literally every post i get more excited about this game.

    18. Chand Svare Ghei - Moonknight

      Turn based combat just dosent do it for me, no matter how many nice words one throw at it. We will see when it comes out of course, but I have a feeling that this one, the best news for so many years, will be a waste...

    19. Devin McNaughton on

      If turn-based combat is so unappealing to you guys, may I suggest an Xbox instead? They make lots of games for people like you.

    20. blake on

      I wanted RTwP, but I have faith that you guys will prove me wrong.

    21. Mike Dennis on

      Why have a vote if you were just going to go with TB..? Almost no games anymore are TB that I didn't even think that it would be an option when I chose to back it, and I wouldn't have if I knew that was where it was going. I am VERY disappointed by this... :(

    22. Kyle on

      Ehh turn based.. no thanks. If i wanted a turn based game id play pokemon or somthing. what a disappointment.

    23. Brandon Quinn on

      Sounds like you made the right choice. I'm glad this game is in the right hands; keep up the good work!

    24. Brandon on

      Excellent, just as I hoped. Additionally I very much appreciate the well thought out explanation for why the turn based decision was made. Hope it doesn't cause too much drama here in the comments.

    25. Lord Drakonor on

      How do I withdraw my pledge!! I loathe despise hate Turn Based combat - doesn't matter how you coat it!! Please advice how I can get a refund - I have no interest in this game anymore! Thats a complete turnaround from yesterday!!

      I may wait for its release + 1 year until its price drops - but I do not want to associate myself with so much $$ for a game I probably now will NEVER play!!!

      InXile - please suggest forums for refund!!

    26. Missing avatar

      Mike Olsen on

      While I am quite disappointed, and think that you are underestimating how much people liked the infinity engine combat system, your detailed explanation has reduced the sting somewhat. I look forward to being pleasantly surprised by what you have in store for us combat-wise (let alone with the narrative).

      However, I am very impressed by you taking into consideration the thoughts and wishes of your dedicated community. I may not wholeheartedly agree, but it has renewed my faith.

    27. Jordan York on

      Very reasonable explanations for this decision. I'm happy with TB.

    28. Missing avatar

      Sebastian on

      Aw man, that's a shame.
      I still don't think the disconnected and turn-based combat will be near as engaging or immersive as RTwP.
      I feel like turn-based belongs more with games that revolves around percentages and stats, such as XCOM, Jagged Alliance, Fallout and Wasteland, etc.

    29. Missing avatar

      Bryce on

      I voted RTwP because I had a lot of fun with the system in the IE games excluding Torment and wanted to see that combat style iterated on. That being said, I've enjoyed TB in the past and I'm looking forward to TB-combat in T:ToN. So far InXile has given me every reason to believe they will respect the above-stated commitments in their design process, and I'm looking forward to playing. Don't fuck it up! :D

    30. Devin McNaughton on

      I am surprised and incredibly pleased that we're getting a turn-based game. Awesome decision, guys. Real-time with pause would've been fine, but it's nice to see the focus on actual strategy instead of gimmicky pseudo-strategy.

    31. Stavros Tsiakalos on

      What a shame. I had so hoped that "indifferent" would win the vote and we'd get neither turn based nor real-time with pause, but indifferent combat.
      The resulting announcement would have been pure gold: "Dear backers, after popular demand, combat will be indifferent. We believe this is in keeping with the spirit of PST."

    32. Andrew Wang on

      Bummer. I wanted real-time with pause, but I trust that you will make it a very enjoyable turn-based experience.

      How would something like stealth work? With real-time with pause, I always enjoyed being able to have my party (or a scout) sneak around and engage in combat at the time of my choosing, or being able to avoid some battles by sneaking.

    33. Cleveland E. Bledsoe Jr. on

      Wow, you guys are really thorough in your explanations, it's awesome! I preferred real-time, but only by a small margin. I think most of my concerns were addressed in the comments above, so I trust that it will make sense. I love both play styles but turn-based can be a bit tedious for me. XCOM-EU was one of the only recent TB games that I've fallen in love with. But that game is ALL about combat. It will be interesting to see how this works out. :)

    34. TrentJaspar on

      I echo @David Carson's comments: officially "indifferent" but loved your detailed explanation.

      Any thoughts on whether we'll be able to save the game mid-combat (or mid-Crisis)?

    35. Tane Norther on

      This shouldn't be make or brake -decision to anyone, considering upcoming Torment is story-driven game, anyway (such as it's spiritual predecessor was). But I'm happy with the decision on TB! It gives some time for tactical planning, thinking, and thus, making the battles more interesting imo. And, since the game is story-focused, with trash-mobs being avoided, there shouldn't be many filler-combats with turn-based grinding, either.

    36. Victoria on

      I don't care what type of combat it is, but I could see people that didn't vote be surprised about what was chosen. Planescape torment is rtwp and I could see a lot of people assuming this was going to be too because it was a spiritual successor. Maybe next time it would be to make a decision at the start of the project, instead of upsetting 47% of voters, that way they have no reason to complain when they donated to the project.

    37. Nameless on

      Very, very dissapointed.

      But, I have faith that you will surprise me and delivery a good experience, even for people like me who don't normally like TB.

    38. Missing avatar

      Bund on

      Ugh, I've worked too much today; the grammar in my post is embarrassing; I hope people understand the point. "AD&D inherently REQUIRES a video game based on it to have a whole series of trash mobs..."

      Time to go home.

    39. Anders T.N

      I was originally worried when you went with turn-based combat. But based on your feedback to the comments you appear to share my concerns so my worries have subsided. At least for the moment ;)

    40. Missing avatar

      Damon Lok on

      I love both modes. But I like how TB allows for more scripted events during battle and provides more tactical combat.

    41. Balgin Stondraeg

      I'm glad you guys settled on turn based combat. I can enjoy both but it's rare to see a nice turn based game these days :).

    42. Missing avatar

      Bund on

      I love this decision. I voted Indifferent, but the post above would make me go to turn-based.

      Also, one of the tricks with comparing to PS:T is that PS:T used the AD&D ruleset. AD&D inherently of a video game a whole series of trash mob fights just to advance your character, as combat was an integral part of gaining experience. Having run a campaign now for 8-9 sessions in tabletop Numenera, the exact opposite is true in this system, which is interesting because even though my game is fairly combat centric, experience and advancement is easily 70-80% from non-combat sources. So there isn't a need for trash mob fights like the AD&D based games at all, allowing for every combat to be unique and important, which removes the main tediousness of TB.

    43. Lee Holmes on

      Bummer - Hope PE delivers RTWP that I'm hoping for.

    44. Taylor MacMillan on

      FANTASTIC! Exactly what I was hoping for.

    45. David Carson on

      I was in the 5% indifferent camp, personally, but let me say what an absolute delight it is to see a game developer not just soliciting opinions but afterwards giving such a detailed explanation of their decision-making process, especially for a core system where different points of view were so evenly represented. You're really making me more confident every update that Tides of Numenera is going to be beyond fantastic!


      VERY wise decision and better yet, very well backed up with reasons as to why this format would fit this game better than what we're used to with the original Torment.

    47. S.D. on

      Great, TBS is what I wanted :-)

    48. Edmond Meinfelder on

      I played the old SSI Gold Box games and loved the turn-based combat. I look forward to this.