We get a closer look at Interplay's upcoming 3D role-playing game.
Senior producer Kenneth Rosman of Black Isle Studios gave us a good look at the upcoming role-playing game Torn, which will be published by Interplay near the end of the year. According to Rosman, the game's progress was impeded slightly by the upgrade to the LithTech 3.0 engine, but from what we saw, it looks like the upgrade will be worth the trouble.
Torn is set in an all-new 3D fantasy world created by Black Isle. It will use a version of the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. role-playing system featured in Fallout that has been modified to include real-time combat. The role-playing system focuses on skills rather than character classes, so that characters can change over time by focusing on different skills. The game will feature a number of playable races, including humans and traditional fantasy races like dwarves, halflings, and elves, as well as the catlike sidhe.
Although the LithTech engine can support a wide range of screen resolutions, Torn will be limited to a maximum of 1024x768 due to the limited scalability of the game interface--the developer didn't want players to raise the resolution so high that the interface becomes illegible. The game does allow for plenty of viewable area, though, since the onscreen interfaces can be easily minimized, resulting in an almost completely unobstructed view of the gameplay. The view can also be panned, rotated, and zoomed within set ranges.
Although the build we saw didn't have bump-mapping and environment-mapping running, it did have real-time shadows and lighting, and it's a significant visual improvement over the previous Black Isle role-playing games. The developer is also trying to integrate a number of popular features from the previous games, such as random treasure and enormous monsters. After fighting off hordes of little slime creatures, we were treated to the somewhat distasteful sight of a slime generator, a huge undulating pile of slime full of tentacles and orifices that only exist to produce more slime creatures. After putting the disgusting creature out of its misery, we continued on to see yet another vile sight, this time a towering she-demon with some sort of gyrating limb protruding from her enormous belly.
Despite or perhaps partially due to the occasional encounter with a huge stomach-turning creature, the game looks like it will be a lot of fun to play. Players can adventure with up to five other players, and unlike previous multiplayer role-playing games in which a dialogue session could bring the entire game to a halt as one character in the party spoke to a nonplayer character, Torn will support real-time dialogue so that different characters can join in on the conversation as well.
The areas we saw were nicely detailed and included both interior and exterior environments. The gameworld will actually extend beyond the initial game, and players will find references to other continents and alternate planes of existence even though they won't be able to visit them initially. Black Isle hopes to include the other sections of the gameworld in expansions or sequels to Torn, but the studio is currently focusing its efforts on completing the first game. For more information about the game, read our previous coverage
of the game and watch our