A New Kind of Torment: Planescape’s Legacy Finds a New World

The team behind 1999's cult classic RPG Planescape: Torment re-unite to give life to a spiritual sequel based on a new universe but original design values.

The team behind 1999's cult classic RPG Planescape: Torment re-unite to give life to a spiritual sequel based on a new universe but original design values.

According to an interview on Rock, Paper, Shotgun, members of the team behind 1999’s award-winning Planescape: Torment have resurfaced and are looking to return to the concepts that drew many fans into the story of The Nameless One.

A Wild Studio Appears…

Brian Fargo, formerly of Interplay, has gathered together a team comprising many members who contributed to the lauded RPG. But there’s a twist – although the Torment will be apparent, the Planescape metaverse will not appear, instead a fresh new IP from the mind of former Planescape designer, Monte Cook, will provide the mind-bending backdrop for the new title.

Cook’s Numenera is an intriguing “science fantasy” universe originally developed as a Kickstarter-funded pen-and-paper roleplaying system. The setting is described as “filled with remnants of all the former worlds: bits of nanotechnology, the dataweb threaded among still-orbiting satellites, bio-engineered creatures, and myriad strange and wondrous devices.”

Fargo explains that, although the new Torment title will not include Planescape’s multi-dimensional strangeness, much of the philosophy remains;

“We won’t have faeries or devils, but we’ll have diabolical creatures from far dimensions with schemes beyond human imagination. We won’t have gods, but we’ll have creatures who have lived for millennia with the powers of creation and destruction at their fingertips, with abilities honed over countless lifetimes. We won’t have other planes per se, but we’ll have pathways to hostile worlds and bizarre landscapes and ancient machines that catapult the players into places where the ordinary laws of nature no longer apply.”

What Has Gone Before

The original Planescape: Torment became a cult classic adventure game. Dark humour, well-realised characters and a captivating and original world worked together to deliver a well-told tale. It was surprising then, that it never spawned a sequel. A difficult development cycle, lukewarm commercial success and legal red-tape concerning intellectual property rights were the most likely contributing factors to this notable absence from the halls of gaming history.

The rights to the extra-planar city of Sigil and the Planescape universe were part of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons stable, owned by Wizards of the Coast. Black Isle Studios were the developers who produced Planescape: Torment under licence following the success of Baldur’s Gate, another AD&D-inspired adventure title.

Sadly, Black Isle Studios closed in 2003 leading to the cancellation of many projects, including further Baldur’s Gate titles, the original Fallout 3 and with those, any hope of a Planescape: Torment sequel.

But now, a decade later, there is new hope for fans of the original classic as the appropriately-named studio inXile forges an alliance with the imagination of Monte Cook.

Creativity finds a way.


Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun 

Source: Numenera


Source: Wikipedia

About the author

Mat Westhorpe

Broken paramedic and coffee-drinking Englishman whose favourite dumb animal is an oxymoron. After over a decade of humping and dumping the fat and the dead, my lower spine did things normally reserved for Rubik's cubes, bringing my career as a medical clinician to an unexpectedly early end. Fortunately, my real passion is in writing and given that I'm now highly qualified in the art of sitting down, I have the time to pursue it. Having blogged about video games (well, mostly EVE Online) for years, I hope to channel my enjoyment of wordcraft and my hobby of gaming into one handy new career that doesn't involve other people's vomit.