How would be the spiritual PST sequel Kickstarter

Thread title says it all, as other times

Chris Avellone: [Game development studio] Obsidian has talked about Kickstarter for some time. Not to put myself or Planescape down, but the range of ideas we’ve had internally for a KS are, IMO, better than doing a spiritual successor to Torment, and it involves more of the powerhouses in the studio rather than turning me into the Nameless One.
So even though this wouldn’t be an Obsidian Kickstarter, here are my thoughts on a Torment spiritual successor:

[ul]
[li]It’d be best not to use [the Dungeons & Dragons] mechanics or the Planescape license. One reason is doing so would undermine some of the joys of the Kickstarter (not having to answer to anyone but the players – if we take a license, we have to answer to the franchise holder), I’m not sure Wizards/Hasbro/whoever knows where to take the license, and looking back on Planescape: Torment, it’s been clear to me that we had to bend a lot of rules to get some of the mechanics and narrative feel we wanted. Could we have done that easier outside of a Planescape universe? Sure.[/li]> [li]Utilize similar writing style elements (slang, dialogue screen format similar to Planescape), depth (lots of choices per node, lots of reactivity), presentation (action descriptions interwoven in the text) and density (the [I]Wasteland 2[/I] backers have repeatedly asked for more text in Wasteland rather than spending resources on something else like [voiceovers], thankfully enough).[/li]> [li]Similar narrative mechanics. As a classic example, there’s some form of morality/personality bar that’s affected by your actions, although I’d want to research some other mechanic tied to the narrative.[/li]> [li]Similar, but not exact, campaign mechanics in the following respects:[/li]>
1) A plane-jumping universe with diversity in environments, cultures, religions, and people.
2) Tactical combat – it doesn’t need to be turn-based, but pausing and choosing your actions is important.
3) A diversity of creatures, perhaps not to the same extent as in the Planescape original title (would depend on budget, but just like the main cast, I’d prefer to have fewer, higher-quality creatures that allow for a spectrum of behaviors rather than a grab-bag of a thousand random monsters).
4) A small group of extremely detailed companions.
5) A mechanic similar to “remembrance” in the original game – this metaphysical interpretation of your immortality and amnesia is something that can be explored in a number of ways depending on the game premise.
[li]At first glance, the painterly world and the HUD would be as distinctive as something you’d see in Planescape: Torment. We’d need to nail down a new art style, but there’s elements related to Planescape that transcend that universe (dimension-bending landscapes, Escher-layouts, etc.). We wouldn’t do anything approaching traditional fantasy in the look/layout of the world. Why? Because I’m exhausted with that. And if that’s not compelling for people, then they won’t back it on Kickstarter, my question of how appealing that is would be laid to rest, and I’ll never have to wonder about it again.[/li]> [li]A camera and click-movement presentation similar to the Infinity engine isometric games. Even if the mechanics are different, at first glance, the game should share the view that Planescape did.[/li]> [li]Having a character basis and an advancement scheme with spells, traits, and abilities that are suited to the campaign setting and the system and narrative mechanics. As an example, Dak’kon’s Unbroken Circle of Zerthimon and the spells he gained from that had a strong narrative bent, and I enjoy balancing out skill and spell trees that reinforce the philosophy of the world.[/li]> [li]Items with stories. One of my favorite parts of Torment and the Icewind Dale series was giving them names and writing short stories for each inventory item… and sometimes very long stories (The Fanged Mirror of Yehcir-Eya). The best moment I had for Icewind Dale 2 was creating an inventory item name that used the token in the title and having a developer come into the room and accuse me of ripping off his character for the sake of a magic item. When he was done ranting, I explained to him that it was actually a scripted reference that was personal to each character playing the game. At least that’s the story I stuck to.[/li]> [li]You would play a single character and gather a handful of companions over the course of the game. I’d rather have a smaller cast of more reactive companions (and enemies) than a ton of shallow ones.[/li]> [li]Lastly, this is also something that set Torment apart – we had a good chunk of the story, dialogues and the flow of the narrative laid out before production began. This was key. If I had the power and funding to sit down for a year and script a spiritual successor out, then we built from there, I would do that, but that process is something no publisher would agree to – you’re constantly under the gun, either as an internal or external developer (Josh Sawyer had to write the Icewind Dale 2 storyline over the course of a weekend, for example – he did a great job, but that’s not an ideal way to write a story). Generally, you have 2-4 weeks.[/li]> [li]I also think a lot of the strength of Van Buren (Interplay’s Fallout 3) was the same process we had with Torment – I was able to sit down for 3 years and plot out the flow and locations of the game before production began, and even playtest it in pen-and-paper roleplaying games with the future developers on the title.[/li]> [/ul]
So maybe I should do 2 Kickstarters – one that does the worldbook and characters for the game, and the second one would be for the production of the title itself if enough people like the idea? Hmmmm.
Anyway, that’s just a few thoughts. It’s not all of them, but I wanted to share my mental process on this.

edit: Ouch, this part:

Lastly, this is also something that set Torment apart – we had a good chunk of the story, dialogues and the flow of the narrative laid out before production began. This was key. If I had the power and funding to sit down for a year and script a spiritual successor out, then we built from there, I would do that, but that process is something no publisher would agree to – you’re constantly under the gun, either as an internal or external developer (Josh Sawyer had to write the Icewind Dale 2 storyline over the course of a weekend, for example – he did a great job, but that’s not an ideal way to write a story). Generally, you have 2-4 weeks.

This explains why game stories sucks, I guess. A year is not so much for a good story, game companies. Great in movies, tv series, books, etc needed that time, or even more, and the price was worth it. Why don’t have that time in game writing? It’s not like the full staff have to be stopped meanwhile, a pair of writer could be doing the pre-production narrative for a year while the rest of the team is doing some other game, and only then the production of the new game starts.

Avellone is simply making comments to press to garner attention (and ultimately funding and publishing deals) for his studio, something that his other Obsidian cohorts (particularly Messr. Urquhart) do from time to time.

Torment is a corpse (pun unintentional) that they, as an independent studio in constant need of new project funding, publicly toss onto the old hilltop and ride from time to time in order to draw investor interest.

Aside from fact that Avellone and others have stated that Torment’s story was self-contained and finished, there are countless hurdles between Obsidian’s team and possible sequel, including D&D/Torment/Interplay IP licensing, engine tech, etc.

There will be no Torment 2, at least, not from Obsidian.

Did you even read TurinTur’s quote? Chris Avellone seems very aware that they will not have the license, and that the story would not be a continuation of Torment. Hence his very first point about not being beholden to any license. Then he goes into details about what aspects of Torment he’d preserve and what would make it a spiritual successor.

That was a good read. Thanks TurinTur.

Yep.

Stand by what I wrote, regardless.

Uhh… we know. We know from a lot of time ago. So what’s was the point of saying it?

In fact, even if it was possible, we don’t want it. What would they do? Planescape Torment 2: Electric Bogaloo? The Nameless One story is already told, they also have said that much. They toyed also with the concept of doing a spinoff for some secondary characters, maybe, that would be the closest to a PST sequel.

No, we want a new game with the good stuff found in the original PST. Things like an original setting, a focus on narrative, and on reactivity, unusual mechanics and themes, etc. That would be the spiritual PST sequel. In other words: nothing like a real PST sequel, it’s not about to continue or remake that singular story or characters, but the quality of them.

This is encouraging:

Utilize similar writing style elements (slang, dialogue screen format similar to Planescape), depth (lots of choices per node, lots of reactivity), presentation (action descriptions interwoven in the text) and density (the [I]Wasteland 2[/I] backers have repeatedly asked for more text in Wasteland rather than spending resources on something else like [voiceovers], thankfully enough).

Torment had the perfect amount of VO in an RPG – just enough to give voice to the characters, but not so much that I have to skip ahead or hampers writers from actually writing multiple responses in conversations (as opposed to writing multiple questions per response.) Hope this becomes a trend in future RPGs.

We especially don’t need some MSOffice tutorial guy reading out codex entries at a snail’s pace.