Planescape: Torment Designer "Very Tempted" by Kickstarter

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Planescape: Torment Designer "Very Tempted" by Kickstarter

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Chris Avellone says he's tempted to try his luck with Kickstarter but isn't sure he actually wants to make another Planescape game.

Chris Avellone is no stranger to Kickstarter. The creative director at Obsidian Entertainment is working with inXile Entertainment on Wasteland 2, the sequel to the classic 80s RPG that brought in nearly three million crowdfunded dollars earlier this year. Avellone knows his way around post-apocalyptica, too; he was a designer on Fallout 2 and the far-more-recent Fallout: New Vegas.

Avellone said that Fallout is "much more limiting" than Wasteland, in part because of the need to maintain the familiar Fallout vibe inspired by 1950s sci-fi. "You can't lose that or you lose Fallout," he told GamesIndustry. "In Wasteland, that's one of the parameters that's removed, you can do a fun post-apocalyptic game and have a lot more freedom with what you want to do."

Avellone expects the Kickstarter frenzy to slow as people grow fatigued with the idea and, perhaps more importantly, run out of money to throw at projects they like. But that apparently hasn't stopped him from kicking around the idea of a Planescape Kickstarter, which he described as a "very tempting" idea - but not necessarily for a Planescape game.

"I think a better approach would be to ignore the D&D mechanics and respect what Planescape was trying to do and what the game did and see if you can do what Fallout did when it became the spiritual successor to Wasteland," Avellone said. "With Torment, I'd argue that the D&D base actually, in places, got in the way of the experience. It was a lot harder to make a game with those ideas in it with D&D mechanics. So much that we had to break a lot of them. We had to ignore certain spells, change up the class mechanic so that you can switch at any time you like by remembering abilities."

"That was stuff that D&D didn't allow for, it was too restraining in some respects," he added. "If we did do a spiritual successor, then I don't know if we'd use the Planescape license or attach the mechanics, perhaps something that has a different feel to Torment."

A theoretical Planescape 2 is an exciting idea unto itself, but it's Avellone's statement that the setting and the mechanics didn't really mesh that I find particularly interesting. It's true, and Planescape: Torment did break a lot of rules in order to accommodate its narrative, but I never found that doing so negatively impacted the game, nor I suspect did most other fans. Would a Planescape-style game, rather than a real return to the City of Doors, be enough to satisfy gamers who have lusted after a sequel for more than a decade? With all due respect to Avellone, I just don't think it would.

Source: GamesIndustry

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Andy Chalk:
Would a Planescape-style game, rather than a real return to the City of Doors, be enough to satisfy gamers who have lusted after a sequel for more than a decade? With all due respect to Avellone, I just don't think it would.

Seemed to work for Fallout. It being a spiritual successor/sequel/whatever to Wasteland after all.

I'd be for it, at least. One of the things I didn't like about Torment was its gameplay mechanics, so yeah, I'd say change in those would be fantastic.

Dragon Age was billed as a spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate and turned out to be awesome. I love Sigil but I'd kick in for an Avellone-led spiritual successor to Planescape in a heartbeat.

If Planescape fans can wait 18 years for a sequel, then you can wait until their next payday.

Andy Chalk:
Would a Planescape-style game, rather than a real return to the City of Doors, be enough to satisfy gamers who have lusted after a sequel for more than a decade? With all due respect to Avellone, I just don't think it would.

Yes. Yes it would. Now make it! Seriously, who cares if it has the D&D/Planescape license? Admittedly, it would probably make making general content a lot easier with moderate groundwork and a setting already in place, but if they could do it without it, I'd be okay with that. Breaking the rules, though, also is acceptable - though I'm not sure if it would be for those who hold the license...

He makes a very good point - it was entirely possible to play Torment by avoiding combat as often as possible, and that made for a very different RPG experience. I don't think you'd need the D&D system for something like that to work...

Doesn't mean it won't be deep an intricate. It would probably be vastly deeper w/o dnd mechanics. It could very well still be an rpg and a better one than the dnd rules could allow or create.

Where's my arcanum 2 kickstarter! Arrg

To twist a popular phrase, if Chris Avellone wrote a video game based on the phonebook, I'd play it. So if he makes a game that's not Torment, that's okay. But that said...

If he's thinking about making something "Planescape-like" -- it either needs to be Planescape, or I'd rather him do something completely different, and just leave the memory of Torment be.

Part of it is, sure, I'd love a sequel to Torment, but it's because I want to see those characters I fell in love with -- I want to see Annah and Morte and Grace and Dak'kon again. I want to go to the awesomeness that is Sigil again. I want to see the Lady of Pain and I want to get Mazed and I want to trade riddles with Ravel. And heck, I think more recent iterations of D&D mechanics and its variations would be easier to work with. But even with mechanics, there's still issues of licensing, which is problematic.

I DON'T want to visit some place that reminds me of Torment or Sigil or have characters that remind me of the Nameless One or Annah or Morte or even investigate themes like "What can change the Nature of a man?" and have it NOT be Torment, because then it will all feel derivative, and saccharine -- by which I mean, I will feel like I'm playing the diet version of a game that was once so awesomely sweet. If I can't have Coke, I don't want Diet Coke.

I'd just rather have a Strawberry Crush instead. Chris Avellone is an amazing writer and I'd love to see the other stories he's got wrapped up in his noggin. If he can't go Planescape whole hog I'd love to see him visit other scenarios.

I'd love to see Avellone and Obsidian as a whole for that matter revisit the idea of the Espionage RPG, a la Alpha Protocol, but with a new IP (and way better publisher). AP was flawed but there was some good design ideas that could be revisited in an entirely different story and setting. Or another some kind of modern/contemporary/action take on the RPG.

Or steampunk.

Or space.

Or their own take on a fantasy world.

Or even gothic/horror, even though I'm not a big gothic/horror fan.

Or superheroes.

Or mecha-fighters.

Or sentient robots.

Or the kitchen sink. I bet Chris Avellone could write an awesome game about a kitchen sink. Oh wait, that was in Old World Blues, never mind. But see?

I'd love for him to get to work on projects he's expressed great interest in previously, such as an RPG based on The Wire. Though I'm doubtful a Kickstarter could accomplish that, with licensing and all.

But whatever. Avellone is one of the true geniuses of this industry. I dare not demand him to make what I want, as I might miss the better thing that comes from his mind.

No, I don't care how fanboyish that sounds.

Well I tried to play Planescape Torment but I was in the middle of a quest where after talking to someone they ran out of the room then the game broke on me. Hah. Good old Black Isle. You were so unfortunate. Well on topic I would donate to this. Hopefully I would have a job by then.

I'd love to see a spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment because that game was absolutely brilliant. Easily one of the best gaming experiences I've ever had.

That said, I think I would be disappointed if we got an actual sequel to Planescape: Torment.

I don't care what kind of aesthetic or tone or license Avellone uses in this game. As long as its an RPG, or at least RPGesqe, and has enough text that a print version could be used as a murder weapon, I'll fund it.

Torment really doesn't need a sequel. It was a self contained story with a definitive ending and there's really nowhere to take it.
The only options are really to do a remake... which could be awesomesauce if the publisher doesn't get in the way; or do a completely unrelated story that just happens to take place in the Planescape multiverse.
Let's face it, the story of the nameless one is just going to be really hard to improve upon.
I can understand why he's hesitant to try.

Let Torment lie. It was awesome, I love it, and I can replay it if I need to. Make something else. You can investigate deep themes (yes please, I loved Mask of the Betrayer), but don't just make it Planescape for the sake of it being Planescape. If nothing else, trying to continue the story with any of the same characters would just feel wrong. Annah and Fall-From-Grace and Morte Vahilor and Dak'kon and Nordom and all of the others are so directly linked with what the Nameless One did/does that it would make no sense to see them in another game. The references to them in BG2 were sufficient (by which I mean there are a couple of weapons you can purchase that reference the charcaters). Anything more would feel like a cash in.

I can see what he meansut mechanics though. I mean, the combat really was not a lot of fun (until you became a mage.. then it was more so..). The story was great, but I can see how DnD probably restrained it.. but then I guess they needed the DnD licence for the Planescape setting, so what do you do?

Really, I don't care what IPs are involved. I'd be on-board with any new Obsidian RPG as long as it has the high quality writing I'm used to, and some deep and flexible RPG game mechanics.

I'd love for them to make a mostly isometric space-age sci-fi game, though. Maybe with a pinch of gothic horror added?

rbstewart7263:
Where's my arcanum 2 kickstarter! Arrg

This. So much this.

I think the best parts about Torment didn't really have any strong footing in the Planescape universe and could have easily been the "City of Dreams" or "Village of Dimensional Gateways" rather than Sigil itself. I jumped onto the Wasteland 2 bandwagon and I'd likely hop on a Torment spiritual successor kickstarter just as quickly... provided that happened after I recouped my upcoming spending spree at GenCon.

cidbahamut:
I'd love to see a spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment because that game was absolutely brilliant. Easily one of the best gaming experiences I've ever had.

That said, I think I would be disappointed if we got an actual sequel to Planescape: Torment.

I dunno. Avellone has shown that he's a writer who can consistently knock it out of the park. KOTOR 2 was developed in little over a year, and it's still just about the best piece of writing to exist in the Star Wars universe. Mask Of The Betrayer is praised pretty much universally. Even New Vegas had a lot of phenomenal writing, though I know that J.E Sawyer handled most of that, rather than Avellone.

Anyways, the point is, if there's any writer in gaming who's proven time and again that he can write excellent player-driven stories that tackle big ideas and themes, it's Avellone. While gameplay development can always stumble at the last hurdle, pretty much anything that Avellone has written is worth playing.

Come on Escapist, one developer says he kind of thinking of doing something and all the sudden its a news story. The guy doesn't have a team, or rather the team that made the game, he's just one dude kicking around an idea. That doesn't mean anything. The guy probably has a dozen idea he's working with at any time and most never see the light of day. Why are people tripping over themselves to get behind this already. Gamers call the people who buy eery CoD or EA sport game a sheep and then they pay out the ass for any game that is a sequel to some old game they liked that got a kickstarter despite literally 0 evidence that it will be any good.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

cidbahamut:
I'd love to see a spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment because that game was absolutely brilliant. Easily one of the best gaming experiences I've ever had.

That said, I think I would be disappointed if we got an actual sequel to Planescape: Torment.

I dunno. Avellone has shown that he's a writer who can consistently knock it out of the park. KOTOR 2 was developed in little over a year, and it's still just about the best piece of writing to exist in the Star Wars universe. Mask Of The Betrayer is praised pretty much universally. Even New Vegas had a lot of phenomenal writing, though I know that J.E Sawyer handled most of that, rather than Avellone.

Anyways, the point is, if there's any writer in gaming who's proven time and again that he can write excellent player-driven stories that tackle big ideas and themes, it's Avellone. While gameplay development can always stumble at the last hurdle, pretty much anything that Avellone has written is worth playing.

Actually Planescape Torment is Avellone's main claim to fame considering he wrote half of it on his own with KOTOR 2 being his second main achievement. For Mask of the Betrayer the main credit goes to George Zeits and you listed J.E. Sawyer for New Vegas already. Also Chris gives credit to other people for the story and dialog mechanics for Alpha Protocol so one could throw that in there as well. Granted Avellone was on all of those and I'm sure he was doing a lot but the primary credit goes to others there.

Not to discredit Avellone at all though. Personally he might be my favorite person in the game industry but I'm just pointing out that he's not the only writer at Obsidian.

Twilight_guy:
Come on Escapist, one developer says he kind of thinking of doing something and all the sudden its a news story. The guy doesn't have a team, or rather the team that made the game, he's just one dude kicking around an idea. That doesn't mean anything. The guy probably has a dozen idea he's working with at any time and most never see the light of day. Why are people tripping over themselves to get behind this already. Gamers call the people who buy eery CoD or EA sport game a sheep and then they pay out the ass for any game that is a sequel to some old game they liked that got a kickstarter despite literally 0 evidence that it will be any good.

You do realize that the point of kickstarter isn't some glorified pre-order but to actually help fund it to get it off the ground in the first place? Just like people weren't just pre-ordering Double Fine Adventures, Wasteland 2, or Shadowrun but they were actually donating funds for it's full development. Also how is there no evidence that they can do a good job? Look at their past work for evidence.

80Maxwell08:

Twilight_guy:
Come on Escapist, one developer says he kind of thinking of doing something and all the sudden its a news story. The guy doesn't have a team, or rather the team that made the game, he's just one dude kicking around an idea. That doesn't mean anything. The guy probably has a dozen idea he's working with at any time and most never see the light of day. Why are people tripping over themselves to get behind this already. Gamers call the people who buy eery CoD or EA sport game a sheep and then they pay out the ass for any game that is a sequel to some old game they liked that got a kickstarter despite literally 0 evidence that it will be any good.

You do realize that the point of kickstarter isn't some glorified pre-order but to actually help fund it to get it off the ground in the first place? Just like people weren't just pre-ordering Double Fine Adventures, Wasteland 2, or Shadowrun but they were actually donating funds for it's full development. Also how is there no evidence that they can do a good job? Look at their past work for evidence.

lol past two weeks if gabe newell tweets that hes thinking of going on the subway diet, than that would be posted on here!!!

80Maxwell08:

Actually Planescape Torment is Avellone's main claim to fame considering he wrote half of it on his own with KOTOR 2 being his second main achievement. For Mask of the Betrayer the main credit goes to George Zeits and you listed J.E. Sawyer for New Vegas already. Also Chris gives credit to other people for the story and dialog mechanics for Alpha Protocol so one could throw that in there as well. Granted Avellone was on all of those and I'm sure he was doing a lot but the primary credit goes to others there.

Not to discredit Avellone at all though. Personally he might be my favorite person in the game industry but I'm just pointing out that he's not the only writer at Obsidian.

Of course not. Personally, I think Obsidian has got the best team of writers in the entire industry. They all deserve a lot of credit.

My point was more that just about everything Avellone has been involved with has been narrative gold. Even Alpha Protocol. That game had many flaws, but writing was not one of them. Indeed, precious few games this generation can claim to offer the same kind of choice-and-consequence that AP does. I can't think of a single game he's been involved in that had bad writing. NWN 2 was by all accounts pretty average, but then Mask Of The Betrayer came along and was hailed by many as the best thing since Planescape.

Anyways, I would hope that if Avellone decides to go for a Planescape sequel, it would be with Obsidian doing dev duties. Meaning that all those other good writers like Sawyer and Tim motherfuckin Cain would be onboard as well.

Oh my god... Chris Avellone, J.E Sawyer and Tim Cain all working together on a Planescape sequel... I think I just blew my own mind!

PlaneScape 2 Kickstarter, take my money, but ONLY if it's in the City of Doors. Otherwise, I'll buy your game after it's been released.

rbstewart7263:

80Maxwell08:

Twilight_guy:
Come on Escapist, one developer says he kind of thinking of doing something and all the sudden its a news story. The guy doesn't have a team, or rather the team that made the game, he's just one dude kicking around an idea. That doesn't mean anything. The guy probably has a dozen idea he's working with at any time and most never see the light of day. Why are people tripping over themselves to get behind this already. Gamers call the people who buy eery CoD or EA sport game a sheep and then they pay out the ass for any game that is a sequel to some old game they liked that got a kickstarter despite literally 0 evidence that it will be any good.

You do realize that the point of kickstarter isn't some glorified pre-order but to actually help fund it to get it off the ground in the first place? Just like people weren't just pre-ordering Double Fine Adventures, Wasteland 2, or Shadowrun but they were actually donating funds for it's full development. Also how is there no evidence that they can do a good job? Look at their past work for evidence.

lol past two weeks if gabe newell tweets that hes thinking of going on the subway diet, than that would be posted on here!!!

I wasn't arguing the escapist posts some stories that basically aren't important I was just arguing the kickstarter part. Granted I agree with you on the escapist stories but hey sometimes I like small stuff. Also if gabe said that I would hope someone posts about it since that just sounds hilarous to me.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Snip

Agreed on all parts especially the last one. Good chance that could happen too now that Tim Cain decided to permanently stay at Obsidian.

80Maxwell08:

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Snip

Agreed on all parts especially the last one. Good chance that could happen too now that Tim Cain decided to permanently stay at Obsidian.

image

You knows it.

I need planescape like I need wasteland, more of it.

Andy Chalk:

"You can't lose that or you lose Fallout," he told GamesIndustry.

Yes Chris, because the Lonesome Road and its heavy handed themes REALLY fit in with the rest of the western/post apocalyptic vibe...
*rolls eyes*

I would absolutely love a spiritual successor. Wouldn't mind leaving the D&D license behind for a second.

But a story in a multiverse setting with more fluid combat, and the same depth of character and role playing? I'd be all over that.

80Maxwell08:

Twilight_guy:
Come on Escapist, one developer says he kind of thinking of doing something and all the sudden its a news story. The guy doesn't have a team, or rather the team that made the game, he's just one dude kicking around an idea. That doesn't mean anything. The guy probably has a dozen idea he's working with at any time and most never see the light of day. Why are people tripping over themselves to get behind this already. Gamers call the people who buy eery CoD or EA sport game a sheep and then they pay out the ass for any game that is a sequel to some old game they liked that got a kickstarter despite literally 0 evidence that it will be any good.

You do realize that the point of kickstarter isn't some glorified pre-order but to actually help fund it to get it off the ground in the first place? Just like people weren't just pre-ordering Double Fine Adventures, Wasteland 2, or Shadowrun but they were actually donating funds for it's full development. Also how is there no evidence that they can do a good job? Look at their past work for evidence.

Ohh, new quote button.... I like it.

Anyways, Just as almost every development studio has released crap games and good games despite having the same team, past experience does not mean that the result is going to be any good. I'm tired of people thinking 'It's from the guy who did X, it will be of the same quality/similar'. Yeah history is an indicator but people here treat it as if it's a be all end all. Oh, they did below there past standard, they must be sell-outs/incompetent/doomed, oh they made crap before, this new game is a fluke because its good, if this company made this game it would be just like this other game they made 20 years ago despite the fact that the dev team has all moved to other companies, oh this game must be bad, its from the people who made X. This kind of thinking really irks and it also strikes me in some instance as Nostalgia over logic. It bugs me and I'm going to post about it.

It also bothers me that this is a news story at all. Like I said, people kick around ideas all the time, most never get made. Are we going to post a news story every time a member of some development team on some old classic game thinks about maybe making another game? The Escapist would be posing a dozen stories a day on just that if they did. It seems like the guy just tossed out one of his ideas, one that he obviously doesn't have any plans of actually doing yet, and the Escapist published it because 'OMG, the people in the forums like Planescape right? They're read this!' despite it not really being anything that news worthy. I think that there must have been something more interesting that they could have written in place of this.

I'd pledge any game this guy makes. He is a creative genius, up there with people like Tim Scafer and Hideo Kojima, even if horribly underrated. I think he revolutionized not only WRPG's, but also storytelling in video games.

In short; That guy knows how to make awesome games, and I would trust him with my money.

Twilight_guy:

80Maxwell08:

Twilight_guy:
Come on Escapist, one developer says he kind of thinking of doing something and all the sudden its a news story. The guy doesn't have a team, or rather the team that made the game, he's just one dude kicking around an idea. That doesn't mean anything. The guy probably has a dozen idea he's working with at any time and most never see the light of day. Why are people tripping over themselves to get behind this already. Gamers call the people who buy eery CoD or EA sport game a sheep and then they pay out the ass for any game that is a sequel to some old game they liked that got a kickstarter despite literally 0 evidence that it will be any good.

You do realize that the point of kickstarter isn't some glorified pre-order but to actually help fund it to get it off the ground in the first place? Just like people weren't just pre-ordering Double Fine Adventures, Wasteland 2, or Shadowrun but they were actually donating funds for it's full development. Also how is there no evidence that they can do a good job? Look at their past work for evidence.

Ohh, new quote button.... I like it.

Anyways, Just as almost every development studio has released crap games and good games despite having the same team, past experience does not mean that the result is going to be any good. I'm tired of people thinking 'It's from the guy who did X, it will be of the same quality/similar'. Yeah history is an indicator but people here treat it as if it's a be all end all. Oh, they did below there past standard, they must be sell-outs/incompetent/doomed, oh they made crap before, this new game is a fluke because its good, if this company made this game it would be just like this other game they made 20 years ago despite the fact that the dev team has all moved to other companies, oh this game must be bad, its from the people who made X. This kind of thinking really irks and it also strikes me in some instance as Nostalgia over logic. It bugs me and I'm going to post about it.

It also bothers me that this is a news story at all. Like I said, people kick around ideas all the time, most never get made. Are we going to post a news story every time a member of some development team on some old classic game thinks about maybe making another game? The Escapist would be posing a dozen stories a day on just that if they did. It seems like the guy just tossed out one of his ideas, one that he obviously doesn't have any plans of actually doing yet, and the Escapist published it because 'OMG, the people in the forums like Planescape right? They're read this!' despite it not really being anything that news worthy. I think that there must have been something more interesting that they could have written in place of this.

Of course it's not the be all end all. They made plenty of amazing games on the PC but they also made Dungeon Siege 3 which has terrible PC controls. I only got it because I have a gamepad and it was on sale. However they apologized saying they had a deadline and didn't like the PC controls and wanted to fix them. This isn't saying they are perfect but they are at least trying to make something. Compared to so many other studios today who would just say it isn't a mistake and make every excuse under the sun I like that kind of attitude to honestly come out and apologize for it. I think most people would like to see Obsidian without the same corporate influence that seems to plague many of the games they have released. Myself being one of them.

Also for your second paragraph like I said to someone else (who I thought was you because I didn't read) I don't think this is any major story, especially considering this was just a single part of a whole interview, but hey sometimes I like small stories. I just wish they would stop taking a single line and making a whole story out of it while ignoring the rest of the story.

There are plenty of things they could change and plenty of things that would need to stay the same. The setting, well I trust them to make a brilliant setting anywhere they want, the mechanics? The mechanics sucked, it would need to be a slow RPG (keeps it simpler too) but not a D&D one.

But they'd need to keep the same level of object interactivity. Being able to examine objects, have cursed objects, swords that sometime did ridiculous damage to the enemy, sometimes to you. Strong dialogue focus, multi-path, all that needs to stay.

So I'd love any game they make, but I think it would be harder for them to raise money if it's not Planescape 2 (but then they also have to pay for the license if they did go that route)

While I would love a Planescape sequel based in Sigil I don't like WOW so I wouldn't want the game to be tied to the current D&D ruleset. Who knows how much the D&D license would cost.? However much it costs I think they would be better off developing a fresh IP.

Gimme good writing like those ol' games and I will be a happy man. Period :O

this would make the money too

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