Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Another Torment Post

I posted about new "Torment" game's Kickstarter on a Facebook writing group I'm part of ("Raymond Obstfeld's Creative Writing Stuff", for the curious), and because I can, I'm going to reproduce the relevant parts here. Maybe it'll help explain some of my excitement.

Another Kickstarter project relevant to writers:

I was /going/ to post both about this and the Veronica Mars thing, but Raymond beat me to it, so I'll just post about this one. LONG POST WARNING.

This Kickstarter, which broke all previous Kickstarter records in the past few days until Veronica Mars broke the records again just today, is for the follow-up game to the ancient 1999 game "Planescape: Torment".

Why is this important to writers?

If you're a gamer, you already know. The upshot is that well over a decade later, Planescape: Torment is still widely considered the absolute best-written (and most literary) game of all time. Having played it, I can confirm that it deserves it.

It's not the best game ever created; certainly not. The gameplay is "okay". People love this game because of the story, the characters, the setting, and the themes. (The artwork is also excellent, but there have been many other beautiful games before & sense.)

It's a game that's essentially a lavishly illustrated novel, and a very good (and very unusual) novel at that. It's never been equaled since because it's still very difficult to get a good story together under typical game publishing constraints: "Months? For writing?"

Sure, you've got some decent work in, say, Bioware RPGs, but even then, if you're a gamer who likes story, you know myriad ways in which THAT'S gone wrong. Planescape: Torment was long thought to be a one-shot deal, a /kind/ of game that would never happen again, until now.

Now, it's already fully funded by, and the excess funding is going into - bringing in more writers to expand the game. Let me emphasize this again: This is going to be one of the first modern games ever to primarily focus on writing. (The developers are even able to - gasp! - hire a professional editor!)

That's reinforced by the fact that this isn't even a literal sequel. It doesn't continue the events of the first game, it doesn't have any of the characters from the first game, it takes place in a different universe entirely from the first game. It's being created on a thematic premise, as a game that promises an excellent story as its primary draw, put together by a bunch of experienced writers.

It's a paradigm alien to the current game publishing industry, now made possible for pretty much the first time ever thanks to Kickstarter. If you love gaming, and more importantly if you love good writing in gaming, this is THE project to watch.

(If you want to play the original, you'll need a Windows PC and $10: )

Kickstarter's being... awful good to writers these days, I must say. Granted, these are established properties, but they're also 'unpublishable' properties succeeding almost entirely on the promise of really good writing.

You can probably guess the Veronica Mars thing from context. If not, check it out here, because it's also kind of awesome and I hope they succeed:

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