Oh man. This is a very real possibility, if not something we can rush out and spend money on just yet. Wizards of the Coast told EuroGamer.net that they would “absolutely consider licensing out Planescape.” If they were approached with a suitable proposal for the storied campaign and video game, of course. Read on to find out why this would be a very good thing.
“What can change the nature of a man?” That was the seminal riddle posited by the 1999 Black Isle Studios game Planescape: Torment. In-game, it was the recurring question asked by the night hag Ravel. Ultimately, it was left for the player to decide. Your decision — as the protagonist, the immortal, memory-deprived, and aptly-named Nameless One — would define the outcome of the game. And indeed, it was a fitting conundrum. Torment redefined what a computer role-playing game could be by offering its players a world rich not only with monsters to kill and dungeons to explore, but with deep philosophical questions and a fantastic storyline that put all the plot devices right in the player’s hands. Oh yeah, and some fine, fine writing.
That was Torment. Planescape itself was a Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting first published in 1994 by TSR, Inc. It was more than just another world. It was all worlds in one. Planescape allowed — no, encouraged — DMs and players alike explore the full cosmology of D&D canon: the Nine Hells, the Seven Heavens, the Astral Plane, Limbo, and all the rest in the Great Wheel. These exotic locales weren’t just for epic adventurers. They were accessible even for low-level heroes and villains. Sigil, the City of Doors, was at the center of it all. In both Planescape the setting and Torment the game, you could mix it up with angels and demons on the steets, and a turn down the wrong (right?) alley could land you in another world. A brilliant concept, executed incredibly in Torment.
No, we’re not likely to see a Planescape reboot anytime soon — but we won’t stop hoping for it, and now there’s a chance. In the meantime, Torment‘s spiritual successor sounds promising: Torment: Tides of Numenera, in development by inXile Entertainment. Numenera is an RPG setting funded through Kickstarter and created by game designer Monte Cook. The fact that Colin McComb (one of the chief writers of the original Torment) and composer Mark Morgan (composer of Torment‘s soundtrack) are attached is highly encouraging.
For now, I’m left wondering: What can change the nature of a game?
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