They’re doing it again.
Beamdog has made a business out of taking beloved role-playing games from the 1990s and making “enhanced” versions — remasters, essentially — for modern PCs. We saw them do it with excellent versions of Baldur’s Gate, Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn, and Icewind Dale. Heck, the designers there have even taken their remixing skills to making new stories for these games with last year’s Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear, a new chapter wedged between the first Baldur’s Gate and Shadows of Amn.
Now, they’re turning their attention to what might be the best role-playing game of all time with Planescape: Torment Enhanced Edition, which Beamdog announced today. It’ll bring the treasured classic to modern PCs (and Mac and Linux systems, too), and its lead designer, Chris Avellone, is coming along to help the studio curate this gem.
Beamdog isn’t going to change the story at this point, though it does plan to nip-and-tuck it where needed.
“We made a conscious decision not to tamper with the original writing,” a Beamdog spokesperson said over email. “For the few instances where new writing was needed — i.e., for a couple of additional journal entries, special ability descriptions and the Steam Achievements — Chris Avellone wrote the text personally. In addition, Chris requested to do an editorial pass of all the text in the game, and we happily obliged.”
Planescape: Torment hit in 1999, and as time has passed, its reputation has grown. Its original studio, Black Isle Studios, crafted an RPG where the player’s decisions matter more than their battles; you could play without killing anything, though this was a rare feat. Its setting of Sigil is like no other — it comes from Dungeons & Dragons‘ Planescape campaign setting (this was the publisher TSR at the height of its creative power with D&D). Sigil is “The City of Doors,” sort of the intersection of all the planes. It enables for epic storytelling, a place where angel and devil, fey and elemental, and the poor berks of the Prime all mix … and all know to avoid the gaze of The Lady of Pain, its lord. Avellone and Black Isle took this and made a game that changed what “choice” meant when it came to RPGs, and its pedigree could be found in later games like InExile’s recent (and excellent) Torment: Tides of Numenera, which is a Planescape game in all but name.
Beamdog has added characters, kits, spells, and items to the other Enhanced Edition games, but it’s not doing so with Torment.
“No, we deliberately didn’t add any kits, classes, races, spells or items from Baldur’s Gate or Icewind Dale to Planescape: Torment — Enhanced Edition. We felt that doing so would distort the unique atmosphere of the original game,” the studio spokesperson said.
In addition to smoothing out Torment’s code and making look nice and run well on modern PCs, Beamdog is also remastering the soundtrack, adding 4K support, and launching in English, French, German, and Polish, with support for Korean text (but with English voice acting).