Torchlight/Torchlight II Interview

A new interview with Runic Games' Max Schaefer has surfaced over at Charge Shot!!!, where the CEO discusses the recently released Xbox 360 port of Torchlight, the team's ambitious plans for Torchlight II, whether the competition posed by Diablo III keeps him awake at night, and more. A couple of interesting excerpts:
(I should point out that this time we've actually hired a writer, so the fiction will be better,) Schaefer said. (It was really a mad rush in making Torchlight. So it's nice to put a little more love into some of the details.)

Hired to flesh out those details is lead writer JD Wiker, formerly of Wizards of the Coast and Mythic Entertainment. Wiker will be extrapolating on the first game, building a cohesive world to house the various races and environments.

(The whole world is different. It's going to be half outdoors now. You're going to go to multiple hub towns. We have a whole new story to tell. And we're designing new character classes from the ground up as well,) said Schaefer. (One of the cool things about going across the world and going from different towns is that you can represent different cultures and different architecture styles, and basically create a history where it makes sense that there are even different classes to begin with.)


Schaefer just hopes Blizzard doesn't push out Diablo III before Torchlight II goes gold. (Of course we're going to buy one Day One and it's going to slow us down and all that '˜cause we're just as much fans as anyone,) he admits with a laugh.

From a business standpoint, he's not too worried. (The action RPG genre is still pretty thin. I think that there's more demand than there is product,) he said. Diablo's certainly a grimmer, less whimsical world than Torchlight, and Blizzard's vast resources mean it can be developed for higher-end machines while Torchlight's tuned for a wide variety of systems. (I think that there are enough differences that we can co exist, but it is certainly something that you can't ignore.)

There's another Blizzard game Runic can't ignore one with at least of 12 million subscribers and almost two-thirds of the MMO subscription market under its control. (You can't really approach any MMO project without taking into account World of Warcraft,) said Schaefer. (It's the elephant in the room of every MMO company.)

WoW is the primary reason Runic will avoid a subscription model for its Torchlight MMO. (I don't think really anyone can do [subscriptions] anymore because pretty much everyone that does subscriptions has one for WoW.)