I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that two of my all-time favourite CRPGs are getting spiritual sequels, involving a substantial number of the same folk who made them the first time around. Baldur’s Gate has begot Pillars of Eternity, while Planescape: Torment has begot Torment: Tides of Numenera.
And increasing the sensation that this is the late ‘90s and early ‘00s repeating, both games will be sharing an engine, just as Baldur's Gate and Planescape both used the Infinity Engine. Torment will be borrowing Eternity’s gorgeous Eternity Engine, which can only be a good thing given its ability to make our memories of CRPGs past become tangible, pretty things.
InXile made the announcement in a development update:
“Lately we’ve had increased emphasis on developing Torment’s aesthetics and environments. To that end, we have some news related to our environment art: late last March, we announced that we’d be collaborating with Obsidian Entertainment on technology. This primarily meant their conversation editing tools. I’m happy to say that we’ve taken things a step further and recently reached an agreement to license Obsidian’s technology for Pillars of Eternity to use in Torment.
“What are the practical implications of our licensing PE technology? It provides us with a stronger starting point for certain game systems and pipelines, including the creation of the 2D pre-rendered environments (we’re working on having something to show you in the coming weeks). This means we will have more resources to invest on other aspects of the game, allowing us to achieve a higher quality overall.”
This isn’t the only thing that inXile and Obsidian are sharing, though. Obsidian’s Chris Avellone is consulting on Torment as well as designing a party member. It wouldn’t feel like a spiritual sequel without Avellone, honestly. He was the lead designer on Planescape: Torment and was responsible for the complex, utterly unique narrative as well as the removal of death as a threat, making it an important mechanic instead.
Torment is due out in December, but given inXile’s busy schedule, which includes development of Wasteland 2, I’m not holding my breath.