Planescape: Torment is a single-player fantasy role-playing video game developed for Microsoft Windows by Black Isle Studios. It was released on December 12, 1999 by Interplay Entertainment.
Although Planescape: Torment did not gain significant commercial success, it did receive widespread critical acclaim, and is now considered a cult classic. It is praised for its originality, its focus on immersive story and dialogue, its philosophical themes, its dark setting, and the unique persona of its protagonist.
The game is set in the multiverse of Planescape, an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) fantasy campaign setting, and utilizes a modified version of the Infinity Engine, an engine created by BioWare for Baldur's Gate, a previous AD&D game.
The game was re-released on DVD in 2009 and a digital version of the game, compatible with modern operating systems, can be found on Gog.com since September 2010. Some tweaking with fan-created mods is recommended for a better experience regardless.
- Main article: Planescape: Torment storyline
The protagonist, known as the Nameless One, is an immortal who awakens on a mortuary slab at the beginning of the game, with no memory of his past life. Tattoos inked on his back as reminders and clues show that this is not the first time he has forgotten himself. Somewhere along the line he even forgot his own name.
The game focuses on his personal journey to reclaim sometimes painful memories of his past incarnations, discover why he is immortal and find an answer to the nagging question: what can change the nature of a man?
Planescape: Torment is the first video game to be set in the Planescape "multiverse" of AD&D. The setting consists of various planes of existence that each have their own inherent morality, and imbue the creatures that inhabit them with it. Creatures range from quirky (such as the modrons or the Lim-Lims) to grotesque (as are some of the demons like the Glabrezu and the Lemures). Even deities are known to live in the planes.
A large portion of Planescape: Torment takes place in Sigil, a city located atop an infinitely tall spire at the center of the multiverse, that connects the planes with each other via a series of portals. The city is overseen by the powerful Lady of Pain, while fifteen factions control different functions of the city related to each group's world view. Every faction strives for further control of the city. The protagonist can join several of these factions during the game. The story eventually moves on to other planes, such as the hellish Baator and Carceri.
- Major characters
- The Nameless One is the protagonist, an immortal being who always reawakens after his death, sometimes with complete amnesia.
- Deionarra, the spirit of a dead woman who once followed and fell in love with one of the Nameless One's previous incarnations.
- Pharod, a collector in Sigil's slums who brought the Nameless One's body to the mortuary just prior to the beginning of the game, and is thought to know something about the immortal.
- Ravel Puzzlewell, a powerful night hag who might be responsible for the Nameless One's immortality.
- Trias, a fallen deva who's been shackled for his betrayal.
- Fhjull Forked-Tongue, a crippled Cornugon hiding in the Outlands.
- The Transcendent One, a mysterious, unseen enemy...
Over the course of the game, the Nameless One meets seven companions who can join him on his journey.
- Morte is a chatty, cynical floating skull who is already in the party when the Nameless One wakes up. He has known the Nameless One for a long time, though he always evades questions in that regard.
- Annah, a young, brazen, and superstitious tiefling who originally found the Nameless One's body prior to the beginning of the game, and reluctantly joins the party when ordered by her father.
- Dak'kon is a githzerai who once made an unbreakable oath to follow the Nameless One until the latter died, unaware of The Nameless One's immortality.
- Ignus, a pyromaniacal mage who was once one of the Nameless One's previous incarnation's apprentices.
- Nordom is a modron that was disconnected from its species' hive-mind. He struggles to come to grips with his new-found independence, and following the Nameless One provides him some comfort.
- Fall-from-Grace is a chaste succubus-priest who runs a brothel for the pleasures of conversation and sensation rather than pleasures of the flesh.
- Vhailor, an animated suit of armor possessed by a dead Mercykiller dedicated to serving merciless justice.
Planescape: Torment is built on BioWare's Infinity Engine, which presents the player with a two-dimensional world in which player characters are controlled. Exploration around the painted scenery is accomplished by clicking on the ground to move, or on objects and characters to interact with them. Items and spells may be employed through hotkeys, "quick slots", or a radial menu, brought up by right clicking. The game can be paused at any time with the space bar shortcut.
- Three classes (fighter, thief, mage), which the Nameless One can switch between at will.
- Party-based gameplay with the Nameless One and up to five other characters chosen from the seven potential companions.
- Six attributes that have an impact on conversation options.
- No penalty for dying as the Nameless One beyond respawning in a different location. Death is even sometimes required to progress.
- The Nameless One's alignment changes depending on his actions in the game. This alignment affects how the Nameless One is perceived and treated by non-player characters.
- Five joinable factions, each providing access to unique bonuses and items.
A book by the same name was written by Ray and Valerie Vallese and released by Wizards of the Coast in 1999. The book's plot only loosely follows the game's, and contains several changes and revisions that aren't in the game. For example, in the game, the main character's lack of a name is a sign of his incomplete state and a source of protection in being anonymous. But in the book, the protagonist chooses a proper name. For the game's re-release on GOG.com a second, more accurate, novelization produced by Rhyss Hess was bundled with the game, based on the game script by Chris Avellone and Colin McComb.
Following the announcement of Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, Overhaul Games announced their intention to make overhauls of more games set in the Dungeons & Dragons universes, at first naming only Planescape: Torment. They said that such a release would depend on the success of Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition.
In November 2012, Penny Arcade Report wrote that Brian Fargo, the head of inXile Entertainment, had acquired the rights to Torment. In January 2013, Brian Fargo announced that the spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment, titled Torment: Tides of Numenera, was in production and would be set in the Numenera RPG universe created by Monte Cook.
- Planescape: Torment was originally to be named Last Rites
- According to lead designer Chris Avellone, Planescape: Torment was inspired by books, comics, and games, including Archie Comics, The Chronicles of Amber, The Elementals and Shadowrun.
- Guido Henkel, one of the producers of Planescape: Torment features as the Nameless One on the cover jacket of the game; he was filling in for an absent model.
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- "Planescape: Torment on GOG.com". http://www.gog.com/gamecard/planescape_torment. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
- "New release: Planescape: Torment". http://www.gog.com/news/new_release_planescape_torment_1. Retrieved March 24, 2013.
- Ray and Valerie Vallese, 1999 Planescape: Torment, published by Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 978-0-7869-1527-9
- William Usher, Overhaul Games Want To Do A PlaneScape: Torment HD Remake, in Gaming Blend. March 25, 2012.
- Alec Meer, Pleasure Without Planescape: A New Torment? in Rock, Paper, Shotgun. December 3, 2012.
- Alec Meer, Post-Planescape: Fargo Reveals The Future Of Torment in Rock, Paper, Shotgun. January 9, 2013.
- Beekers, Thomas "Brother None" (July 30, 2007). "Tales of Torment, Part 1". RPGWatch. Archived from the original on August 7, 2009. http://www.webcitation.org/5iqx3F0ot.
- Park, Andrew (October 10, 2005). "The Greatest Games of All Time: Planescape: Torment". GameSpot. Archived from the original on August 7, 2009. http://www.webcitation.org/5iqx3F0p3. Retrieved February 27, 2009.
- Guido Henkel, What's in a face?, blog post on his official website. October 20, 2011.