G4 has conjured up a thorough interview with Runic Games CEO Max Schaefer and lead artist Jason Beck about their soon-to-be-released action RPG, Torchlight.
G4: You guys have mentioned the plan to release Torchlight and then roll straight into the MMO. That's an ambitious plan. How did that come about? Is Torchlight a proof-of-concept for the MMO and the MMO is the end game?
Schaefer: No, really, the idea to do the single-player version was something we wanted to do with Mythos, as well. But normally we would just launching right into making the MMO and starting out with that, but with the Mythos project being almost out the door and having to start over again, there was something that was very appealing about getting to something that we can ship and get into people's hands in a fairly short time frame. We're also starting with a brand-new IP -- Torchlight doesn't actually exist in the world. It was also a good idea to get people used to the world and get to know it a little bit, so when then MMO rolls around, it isn't just out of the blue. And, you know, if we make a little bit of money along the way that never hurts, either.
G4: What sorts of versatility do have in terms of creating new content?
Schaefer: Oh, it's huge. It's almost limitless. This is the actual development tools that we use day-to-day. We're not dumbing them down, we're not disabling them. Everything we do with this tool is going to be available for the customer to do. A really, really ambitious modder will be able to make an entirely new game with it. As long as it's an action RPG. We don't have a lot of camera control stuff. It's got to look vaguely like what we're doing and work vaguely that way. But our graphics engine is a third-party graphics engine, it's the Ogre 3D engine -- it's just a graphics engine. It doesn't have any game tools or anything. It's open source and the cool thing about that is people have written 3DSMax and Maya exporters so people will literally be able to generate their own art and plug it into the game. There's level editing, particle systems, skill editors, quest editing features -- the tool si really comprehensive. It's how we create and construct the game on a day-to-day basis and it literally does everything.