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So inXile owns the Torment name

Posted: December 2nd, 2012, 12:35 pm
by Brother None
As the Codex sleuthed out, inXile owns the Torment name. Not the rights to Planescape or AD&D, and Colin McComb (inXile's lead writer) has commented TSR is not interested in licensing that setting out right now. See his initial thoughts on doing another Torment here, some more comments here and expect more thoughts later.

So, what does our community think? A new Torment, but without AD&D, but with involvement from one of the most important writers for the Planescape P&P setting and second designer of PS:T, and other people involved we don't yet know about. Sounds enticing?

Re: So inXile owns the Torment name

Posted: December 2nd, 2012, 12:53 pm
by CaptainPatch
So, is it doable if it was switched from AD&D to MSPE? Settings, game worlds, environments, etc. generally don't care which set of mechanics get used to describe and define worldly events.

Re: So inXile owns the Torment name

Posted: December 2nd, 2012, 1:07 pm
by Brother None
CaptainPatch wrote:So, is it doable if it was switched from AD&D to MSPE? Settings, game worlds, environments, etc. generally don't care which set of mechanics get used to describe and define worldly events.
You mean recreate the setting in another rule system? You could do something very similar, yes, but it can't literally be planescape, and you can't be too close either (no name-swapping but still doing Sigil or Lady of Pain), that would lead to lawsuits. And it sounds like McComb wants to do something more original but similarly themed and unique.

Re: So inXile owns the Torment name

Posted: December 2nd, 2012, 1:19 pm
by CaptainPatch
Then from the consumers' point of view, it really doesn't matter whether the NEW is directly related to the OLD; "similar" works just fine.

"A Good Game by any other name 'twould smell just as sweet."

Re: So inXile owns the Torment name

Posted: December 2nd, 2012, 1:28 pm
by BubbaBrown
The Planescape campaign setting was pretty key to Planescape: Torment. Having the Torment name is one thing, but not having ability to use any aspects of Planescape that's going to be questionable at the very best. It's an almost similar situation where publishers acquire the rights to a classic game franchise, make something completely different, and slap the old namesake on top. Except in this situation, it wouldn't be a voluntary ignoring of the old content, but a circumstance of being forced to avoid it all.

Game mechanics-wise, you can adjust and tweak and getting working just fine. In fact, if you played Planescape: Torment the "best" way through dialog and exploration, most game mechanics didn't really matter.

But, not being able to use the unique planes, the unique planar creatures, Sigil, or even the Lady of Pain? Even if you tried to imitate the Planescape setting, Wizards of the Coast, TSR, and Paizo (Pathfinder) would be watching very carefully and ready to pounce if you wander too close to their properties even by accident. And... It'd still be a cheap, obvious imitation.

It's like owning an "Intel Inside" logo sticker, but not being able to put it on any computer that actually had an Intel processor. Why bother with the name if you can't put it where it belongs? At that point, you might as well just come up with something else and title it differently.

Re: So inXile owns the Torment name

Posted: December 2nd, 2012, 4:55 pm
by Hiver
As i already wrote in that other thread, i consider the Sigil and the Lady of Pain a crucial, integral part of the the whole idea.
As much as The Nameless One plight.

I agree with Bubbabrown completely.

Now, just to make myself clear, i see no need for D&D or any of its mechanics. They are not only unnecessary but even detrimental to the whole theme. As Colin himself says, the morality alignments of D&D are way to simplistic and limiting.
More, the mechanics (newer iterations included) lead to combat that is less than appealing, shall we say.

I can even go easily with an idea of a Torment game without the Nameless One himself, though... there is a way, technically, theoretically speaking, for him to ... be returned. I found it.

Still, his story, his original attempt at redemption, though not actually finished... or better said, not actually achieved or realized - is closed, especially if we consider the ending where he merged with his mortality the real one.
Regardless, if they would go with another protagonist i could see it.

But without Sigil? Without the Lady? i dont see whats the point.
Removing TNO out of the picture... and then removing Sigil and the Lady is taking the game too far.

I wish there was a way for them to get those two iconic elements - without the rest of of D&D baggage.

Re: So inXile owns the Torment name

Posted: December 2nd, 2012, 5:43 pm
by Ronin73
Yeah, it would be like inXile only having the Wasteland name and not being able use terms like "Desert Rangers","Snake Squeezins" or any of the names and locations that made the game what it was.

Re: So inXile owns the Torment name

Posted: December 2nd, 2012, 5:50 pm
by Brother None
Ronin73 wrote:Yeah, it would be like inXile only having the Wasteland name and not being able use terms like "Desert Rangers","Snake Squeezins" or any of the names and locations that made the game what it was.
That could have happened. Hell, it has happened. When inXile made the new The Bard's Tale they had no rights to the content of the originals, and had to do the setting fresh. EA was more cooperative for Wasteland 2 so they could use the content, which is great, but I think they would still have liked to make Wasteland 2 even without that.

It's different for each franchise, of course, but I think Wasteland 2 could've survived that. It'd be a worse game for it, but it'd still be a Wasteland.

Re: So inXile owns the Torment name

Posted: December 2nd, 2012, 6:28 pm
by CaptainPatch
The more I hear about who-owns-what of older, dormant titles, the more I keep thinking "Dog In The Manger". Ea owns own these rights, apparently has NO intention of producing any kind of sequel of their own, but yet they seem intent that _no one_ has the ability to do so. It's sooooo obvious that they are constantly concerned about what their customers want.

Not.

Re: So inXile owns the Torment name

Posted: December 2nd, 2012, 6:43 pm
by Ronin73
CaptainPatch wrote:The more I hear about who-owns-what of older, dormant titles, the more I keep thinking "Dog In The Manger". Ea owns own these rights, apparently has NO intention of producing any kind of sequel of their own, but yet they seem intent that _no one_ has the ability to do so. It's sooooo obvious that they are constantly concerned about what their customers want.

Not.
A sad commentary of the world, unfortunately. Unless money is involved of course.

Re: So inXile owns the Torment name

Posted: December 2nd, 2012, 7:05 pm
by Hiver
The thing is... the problem,... is that Sigil and the Lady mean much more than just a name and a place.

Its the concept of both that is important. The Sigil is not just a cool place - a nicely rendered background.
The Lady... however non developed, however empty as an idea she was, not much more than a cool intentionally mysterious character... became something much more - through the very story we and TNO went through. They are intertwined and connected with one another.
As they are connected with TNO, his plight and everything the game talked about - he is connected to both.

No, i cannot claim i know some secret truth about the Lady, something none of you do - there was none. There was no background story about her at all.
The few scanty bits about her we heard through other characters is all there ever was.

But thats not how people who played the game ended thinking about her or her role.
We all know that sometimes, an idea gets a life of its own.... do we not!?
And becomes REAL.

Re: So inXile owns the Torment name

Posted: December 2nd, 2012, 8:48 pm
by Drool
Brother None wrote:That could have happened. Hell, it has happened. When inXile made the new The Bard's Tale they had no rights to the content of the originals, and had to do the setting fresh.
Yeah, and The Bard's Tale was pretty disappointing for anyone expecting the original. A fun, well written game, but quite the let down at first.

Honestly, having the rights to the name but none of the guts just makes me think of I, Robot the movie. They got the rights to the Asimov classic and slapped the name on some random "robots go nuts" schlock they already had. It felt like a complete bait-and-switch.

However, if they do it right, I suppose it could work. They would have to make "Torment" a... well... style of game, so that you could take any setting and do "a Torment" game with it, even if you abandoned fantasy. It would be very difficult to do, though. To give another movie example, Halloween 3: Season of the Witch. Carpenter wanted the Halloween title to be a series of scary movies set around the holiday, not the Michael Meyers show. It failed miserably (even though Halloween 3's freaking awesome) but that kind of title-based anthology method could work.

Personally, I think I'd prefer the anthology method. If they tried to do Planescape-but-different-enough-so-that-we-don't-get-sued, it's gonna suck.

Re: So inXile owns the Torment name

Posted: December 2nd, 2012, 9:57 pm
by SniperHF
I assume this will be a kickstarter at some point. I'm not so enthusiastic about that idea without seeing W2 first, or at least the beta. I think InXile has done a good job so far (though I'm really looking forward to that Character system update as its the most important IMO). I need to see something more tangible before going back in on the crowd funding thing with them.
Hiver wrote:As Colin himself says, the morality alignments of D&D are way to simplistic and limiting.
I don't disagree that they are simplistic (though they do work depending on the setting). But I don't see how its detrimental to Torment. Playing it now for the first time (In Curst right now) and can't find any ascertainable affect of alignments whatsoever other than a few items I can't use and some quest flavor choices.

They could have made it transparent to the player and it wouldn't have made a difference. Also that Lady of Pain doll could change your alignment to chaotic. It didn't hurt the game; it just didn't do anything regarding gameplay.

That said I wouldn't care if the game is D&D or not.

Re: So inXile owns the Torment name

Posted: December 3rd, 2012, 3:13 am
by dorkboy
my usual reaction when someone goes off on a tangent about wanting to see Planescape: Torment 2, is no thanks.
i absolutely adore that game. do not want to see a sequel.

to me the setting is Planescape and the particular story is Torment.
what i unambiguously do not want to see is another game using the Torment story or the characters (regardless of whether it's set in Planescape (tm) or Omg-I-can't-believe-it-isn't-Planescape (tm)).
what i would have liked to see was another game in the Planescape setting (which this can't be).

an entirely new twisted-and-deep story from some of the makers of PS:T? - Cool!
a fresh, new world that stays outside the glossy realm of high fantasy kitsch, while somehow being fantasy? - Cool!
using a title that is bound to be misleading for the sake of getting the game made? ... *sigh* ok, i guess.. but.. :|

Re: So inXile owns the Torment name

Posted: December 3rd, 2012, 6:33 am
by Hiver
SniperHF wrote:
Hiver wrote:As Colin himself says, the morality alignments of D&D are way to simplistic and limiting.
I don't disagree that they are simplistic (though they do work depending on the setting). But I don't see how its detrimental to Torment. Playing it now for the first time (In Curst right now) and can't find any ascertainable affect of alignments whatsoever other than a few items I can't use and some quest flavor choices.

They could have made it transparent to the player and it wouldn't have made a difference. Also that Lady of Pain doll could change your alignment to chaotic. It didn't hurt the game; it just didn't do anything regarding gameplay.
Well, what you say is true. But its not an entire truth.
It worked in that game because the game subverted those simplistic conventions... but it also left some questions and consequences unexplored and un-answered.
(what i write about below this is not directly connected to this assertion of mine)

As Colin says:
I’d use a system other than D&D, because I’d want to align the player’s story axes along different lines than Good/Evil or Law/Chaos to something more subjective. The core of Torment is, after all, a personal story, and while we can be judged by others on the basis of our actions, arbitrarily aligning those actions on an external and eternally fixed line removes some of the agency from the player’s game.

now, onto other things:

/

Let us examine what mr. McComb says about his main new idea about the Torment, compared to the old one:

TORMENT
What was most memorable for most players of the game? Based on the conversations I’ve had with friends and fans, the answers (at least from a design perspective) boil down to these. It:
* Turned RPG tropes on their heads (e.g. death is bad and requires a reload).
* Had a rich, amazing story.
* Displayed memorable, unique characters, especially the companions.
* Took place in a hugely different fantastic setting.
* Allowed small player choices to make real differences in the game world.
* Wasn’t about an epic battle between good and evil, but it did ask serious questions (like “What can change the nature of a man?”).
* Created strange, even living, items that you can talk to or interact with
Nobody could argue with this.
But, now... add a city of doors that can lead into any reality anyone ever come up with, sometimes merely by accident, sometimes intentionally.

And the Lady of Pain.

Now, as i said,.. i cant really claim that i know some sort of hidden truth about the Lady, as she was conceptualized originally. I can only offer where "she" took me, as i played and went through the journey.

Im a bit loathe to write it down... i would prefer to shoot it off mr McComb and Chris first.
See what they make of it... though, its not that easy to just bother someone with my fanfiction, them being very busy and all (and me not knowing their emails or other contact options).

I did ask Chris about that terrible crime The Nameless One did, that got him on the path of redemption at the start of it all, back on the old Interplay boards. And he answered that for them it was never a thing that they actually wanted to explore, there was never any kind of background actually developed for it.
It wasnt the point of the game.

The journey Nameless One made in the game - was.

It was unfortunate though, that it was presented as some kind of ultra-epic event, something so big that it caused all planes to start dying.
Naturally, many, many people were intrigued by such a setup, such presentation.
It was very hard to even imagine what that crime could have been in a setting such as that, with the hells and Blood War, and gods and demons duking it all out consistently. Not just against one another but in between themselves too.
Many of us felt it continue nagging at our minds for a long time.
I was actually convinced that meeting The Nameless One mortality would be just a start of that bigger quest, bigger issue.

That the Planes would open up fully, that those very few, very limited planes we got to visit in the game were just a taste of whats to come.

And if they went with something much less epic, less grandiose in scope it would not had such an impact, of course.

The first step in designing a new Torment story is to ask the primary question. I’m older than I was when I worked on Torment, and my questions now are different than they were. I have children now, and I look at the world through their eyes and through mine, and that’s changed me – in fact, the intervening years have changed me so much that I have new answers for the central story in the original Torment. So now that I know what can change the nature of a man, I ask: What does one life matter? … and does it matter at all?
This is one powerful question.

As powerful as the first one was. And it can take us on a journey to find our own answers as well as the first one did.
Not a single answer mind you.
We may all have chosen a single option at first... but is there really anyone that remained locked to a single idea, a single answer? Or did we all add to that first choice we made, over the years?

This, more than anything, tells you that the game is in the right hands, whatever it turns out to be in specifics.

Re: So inXile owns the Torment name

Posted: December 3rd, 2012, 1:48 pm
by Colin McComb
Hi, everyone!

So I'm working a post about the importance of setting for story, and the short version is that there's just not going to a new Planescape title. At least, not until WotC decides to license the setting. But Chris and I both agreed that we'd rather do a spiritual successor using the Torment name, rather than risk the executive/editorial oversight of Hasbro.

Plus, we want the ability to tread new ground. The anthology approach is right, I think: the name Torment signals a particular style of storytelling, but doesn't lock us into a specific setting when we're ready to transition to a new story.

I've said this over on the Codex, but I'll say it here: I'm not asking you to close your eyes and blindly trust me. I am asking you to keep an open mind.

Re: So inXile owns the Torment name

Posted: December 3rd, 2012, 3:51 pm
by Hiver
Howdy Colin, nice to see you here too.

I have a few questions about the issue of the setting license. (im also looking forward to reading that future post about the issue)

As i understand the owner of it had it discontinued. That means they do not intend to use it again in any way, right?

And, as you can see in the post above i (and several others) actually only care about two concepts from the Planescape setting. The Sigil and the Lady. Now... since they dont intend to use the whole setting at all... would it be possible to acquire a permission to use only those two concepts, without any of the rest of the setting baggage?
Especially since they dont intend to use any of it?
Of course i count on idea of planes to be a part of it, because the doors must lead somewhere.
The planes themselves dont have to be aligned according to morality alignment of D&D... it could be possible to modernize and change that particular angle yet still have the "planes".

Or... if not, would it be possible to create something similar? A city of doors to "other dimensions" instead of planes, other universes, for example?
These kinds of concepts are common enough in Fantasy and Science fiction of all sorts. Nobody can claim the copyright over that.
Do you have any intention or idea about maybe building something that could replace Sigil and the planes?

I guess the idea of the Lady is too specific to just copy easily... thats why i would hope that WoTC could be maybe convinced into allowing, or selling these two original concepts to be used alone.

I understand its probably hopeless case, but im wondering about it.


/


Also, would you mind if i send you a pm with a bit of my thinking about the Lady? Im very curious about what would you think about my... interpretation. (we are sufficiently far away to avoid her shadow...err... i think)
I promise it will be as short as i can make it.

Or i could just write it here. Maybe that would be simpler and easier.

Re: So inXile owns the Torment name

Posted: December 3rd, 2012, 4:12 pm
by Brother None
Hiver wrote:And, as you can see in the post above i (and several others) actually only care about two concepts from the Planescape setting. The Sigil and the Lady. Now... since they dont intend to use the whole setting at all... would it be possible to acquire a permission to use only those two concepts, without any of the rest of the setting baggage?
Especially since they dont intend to use any of it?
They still use Sigil, actually, in 4th edition. So using that would necessitate setting the game using 4th edition AD&D in their current, less planescape-y interpretation of Sigil. That is...definitely less than ideal.

I think the Lady of Pain is gone but I'm not sure. I'm really not an AD&D buff, haven't touched 4th.

And honestly, them allowing a developer to use part of their IP but not the whole isn't a likely proposition, or would necessitate giving them intrusive levels of creative control.

Re: So inXile owns the Torment name

Posted: December 3rd, 2012, 4:47 pm
by Hiver
Brother None wrote: They still use Sigil, actually, in 4th edition.
Blast and Damnation!

Well i too know next to nothing about AD&D newer editions. The last game using the system i played was Temple of Elemental Evil and that was... 3.5 i think. And i only liked it because of great TB system and art-area design.
Never actually went into any details of it.

Re: So inXile owns the Torment name

Posted: December 3rd, 2012, 7:30 pm
by Colin McComb
Hiver wrote: As i understand the owner of it had it discontinued. That means they do not intend to use it again in any way, right?
I don't know if that's the case or not. I just know that I couldn't get them to license to me.
And, as you can see in the post above i (and several others) actually only care about two concepts from the Planescape setting. The Sigil and the Lady. Now... since they dont intend to use the whole setting at all... would it be possible to acquire a permission to use only those two concepts, without any of the rest of the setting baggage?
Especially since they dont intend to use any of it?
Of course i count on idea of planes to be a part of it, because the doors must lead somewhere.
The planes themselves dont have to be aligned according to morality alignment of D&D... it could be possible to modernize and change that particular angle yet still have the "planes".
I suppose it's *possible*. I don't know whether it's *desirable*. I no longer have any friends in positions of influence in games at WotC. That means I'd find it much harder to convince them that our ideas were for the good of the setting; they'd most likely exert strict editorial control--far stricter than what we saw during the development of the first game--and I'd prefer to retain some creative license. I don't think I'd get that these days.
Or... if not, would it be possible to create something similar? A city of doors to "other dimensions" instead of planes, other universes, for example?
These kinds of concepts are common enough in Fantasy and Science fiction of all sorts. Nobody can claim the copyright over that.
Do you have any intention or idea about maybe building something that could replace Sigil and the planes?
I can't really speak to that right now - first because we're so early in the process, and second because we need to make sure that we don't sneak out any surprises. But I hope I can ask you to accept that what I'm hoping to do--and will reveal when the time is right--should satisfy you.

Or i could just write it here. Maybe that would be simpler and easier.
I'd say write it here. But keep in mind that even back at TSR, when we had the opportunity to define the Lady in countless products, our core philosophy was: No one defines the Lady. She remains a mystery. Our inhouse joke was that she was three ratatosk with a ring of levitation and some funny robes and a hat.

That is to say: No matter what you tell me about your theories about the Lady, chances are very good that I will smile like the Mona Lisa, nod my head, and say, "That's an interesting theory." We did this back in the day to appear mysterious and knowing. These days we can admit the real answer: We just don't know. No one does.