Torment: Tides of Numenera Preview


Torment: Tides of Numenera is an upcoming role-playing game in development by inXile Entertainment. It’s a spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment, which was a big 1999 release. Good news for Linux gamers, Tides of Numenera will get released on Microsoft Windows, OS X and Linux.

In this game you’re basically in the world of Numenera, playing through a fantasy campaign setting developed with the Unity game engine. It’s more story-driven than the 1999 Planescape title, having more character development and interaction with the world. It sounds good, but since combat and item accumulation will be playing a secondary role in the gameplay, it’s unclear how good a greater emphasis on the story really is.

Tides of Numenera was revealed a few years ago when they launched a Kickstarter campaign on March 6, 2013 and received their funding goal within the first six hours. Pillars of Eternity used to be the most funded Kickstarter video game campaign, until Torment came through with $4,188,927. However, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has since broken that record.

A Game That’s Truly About the Story…

In Torment, you will play as the Last Castoff, who was once the human host to a more powerful being. At this point, the host has left and now he is somewhat stranded without any memory of the prior events. Numera is basically Earth, but one billion years in the future. This is what you’re faced with in the 2.5D RPG.

Expect a ton of storytelling and complex character interaction via the classic dialog tree system. You will have options as to what you can say each time you interact with a NPC, and the developer is putting an emphasis on these interactions to make them more dynamic than ever before.


The protagonist does not have to be a male, you can choose your gender upon starting the game. There are also three base character classes, the Glaive, Nano and Jack. The Glaive is basically your typical warrior character, while the Nano is your wizard and Jack is your rogue. They can all be customized to developer a specific combat style or role.

“At the start of the game, the only immediate choice you’ll make is what gender you want to play. Like PST, your name and appearance are predetermined, and you’ll start with 9 in all three Stat Pools (Might, Speed and Intellect). With that, you’ll be dropped immediately into the world,” said Adam Heine, Design Lead at inXile.

“Early in the narrative, you explore several memories and, in doi ng so, allocate 6 additional Stat Pool points while also showing a leaning toward what Descriptor best applies to you. The way you will do this is entirely in-world and part of the story. Your Descriptor gives you a few first Skills and some Stat adjustments, defining a flavor for everything you do.”


So, what are the Tides? In Planescape: Torment the Tides were your alignment system, with axes of good and evil (or law and chaos). In Torment: Tides of Numenera the Tides play two main parts of the story, and their main focus is on the legacy your character is trying to build. The Tides will be determined by your words and actions in the game, not by morals and motivations. Weapons and relics will actually provide a different bonus or special ability for you, depending on your legacy.

Due to the tormented nature of the protagonist, similarly affected people will be attracted to you and you will find it easy to make friends, or enemies. There have been five potential companions announced in the Kickstarter pledge, and now it’s up to eight, but so far no details on them have been revealed.

The main mission in the game is to find and destroy the Sorrow, before he destroys you. He is also known as the Changing God, as he hops from body to body, taking them over and then abandoning them. When this happens, they have no memory of what happened, so they are all essentially confused. As the protagonist, you must set out on a mission to find the Sorrow, as he is seeking to destroy all of his ‘creations’. Along the way, you are expected to make friends with others like you, who were once controlled by the Sorrow.

What Does One Life Matter? 

In this game you will explore the Ninth World, make friends, run into enemies, and obtain artifacts called Meres that let you control other castoffs to experience other dimensions and worlds. It all sounds crazy, especially if you never played Planescape: Torment and aren’t familiar with the story. But, it all boils down to a fundamental question – what does one life matter?

Torment: Tides of Numenera will launch at the end of 2015, after being delayed a year from the original December 2014 release date.

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