Remember the Infinity Engine? RPG fans often fondly recollect the game engine for powering a wave of influential Dungeons & Dragons based RPGs around the turn of the millennium. The two mainstays of engine were the Baldur’s Gate games, which put developer BioWare on the map, and the Icewind Dale games, products of the former Black Isle Studios. Beyond the two major series published by Interplay, only one other small title squeaked through development and became a cult classic.
Planescape: Torment was released to a small amount fanfare before eventually being named the best RPG of 1999 across many publications. Black Isle Studio, now Obsidian Entertainment, took a huge creative stance by morphing the engine primarily used for combat into a unique storytelling experience. “The Nameless One’s” metaphysical quest to destroy his immortality spans several planes of existence and is often regarded as the most thought provoking and enriching story on the market.
The game’s designer Chris Avellone, now at Obsidian Entertainment as well, is “very tempted” to create a Kickstarter funded follow-up to his classic game, as he told GameIndustry. However, Avellone wants to move beyond D&D rules,claiming that the mechanics held the original game back.
“I think if you made a game using some of the concepts of Planescape, the metaphysical ideas and the plane travel, without using the D&D mechanics, you could actually come up with a much better game. We had to ignore certain spells, change up the class mechanic so that you can switch at any time you like by remembering abilities. That was stuff that D&D didn’t allow for, it was to restraining in some respects.”
Obsidian Entertainment is well known for their storytelling abilities, but their games are often released with broken mechanics and a lot of bugs. Perhaps a return to form with a more plot-driven experience like Planescape: Torment might be just what the team needs. However, they might not even need to be shackled by the Planescape brand name as well.
“If we did do a spiritual successor, then I don’t know if we’d use the Planescape licence or attach the mechanics, perhaps something that has a different feel to Torment.”
Since wrapping up developing Dungeon Seige III for Square Enix, Obsidian has taken up two other projects also discussed in the interview. South Park: The Stick of Truth will be released next March 5th, and the team also jump aboard another Kickstarter funded revival by lending a hand to InXile Entertainment in making Wasteland 2. Its doubtful anymore news will arise on the subject while these projects are underway.
Check out the original on GOG.com for only $10. Well worth the price.