Diablo/Torchlight Series Audio Interview, Part Two

The other half of Diablo IncGamers' podcast interview with Max Schaefer is now available, with this second entry transitioning from Diablo territory to the founding of Runic Games, the success they enjoyed with Torchlight, their goals for Torchlight II, and more. Since there's a transcript available this time, I'll grab a snip:
FLUX: So what have you added or changed in Torchlight II to make it bigger/better/more?

MAX: Well, the main thing is we hit the ground running. We're using the same tools and the same graphics engine. And we're using a staff that just finished Torchlight I, so they're really good at this stuff. We just hit the ground running and didn't have to ramp up and didn't have to develop our tools and our graphic engines and our pipelines. So, like, right off the bat we were able to put content in. Start honing it. And, you know, it just feels like. first of all, we're taking longer for Torchlight II, but you know, we are also. have a lot more productivity in the months that we're using because we started day 1 able to produce content.


FLUX: I know you're not talking that much about Torchlight II yet in terms of specific details, but can you tell us a couple of things? What's going to be different about it that Torchlight I instead of. just, obviously, just more is obviously a good answer?

MAX: Right, so it's multiplayer now, so you're gonna have other players' characters on screen. So, it's important to have the characters be more customizable. So, you know in Torchlight I you had pretty much one look. You picked it and you ran with it. And one sex so a character class would only be a man or only a woman. So now it's gonna be male or female for all of the character classes. You're gonna be able to customize and pick hairstyle, and facial features, and that sort of thing. It's not a hugely customizable thing. You're not going to be picking the width of the bridge of your nose or anything. But, it's enough to make you look different than other people on the screen and give your guy some individuality. So, the characters are. there's more character classes and they're much more customizable. Now, the first thing that you see when you come into the game, is you're dropped into an outdoor area. You have to work your way up to the first town. So, right off the bat, you're hit with, (This is a big world. There's outdoor areas. It's raining.) And, you know, there's the immediate sense that you're in a bigger place than you were in Torchlight I. From there, the mechanics are familiar. You control the game the same way. And hopefully, it feels even slicker and more polished and more responsive than the first time around.

FLUX: Alright. Cool. Are there. can you. this is more a question for your brother I guess, but are there any big innovations in how items or systems like that are working? Or skills? Innovations compared to Torchlight or compared what's often seen in other MMOs. or RPGs at least?

MAX: There's a lot of evolutionary stuff there. We look back to where in Torchlight I it might have just seemed like there was item soup and you didn't really get a sense of finding anything cool. And kind of punch that up a little bit. There's little differences here and there, and I don't want to go into too many specifics, because it might be gone tomorrow's build. We look at what we did and look at it with a critical eye and see where it was working and where it wasn't working and try to address all of it. But, I'd say the biggest difference this time around is there's more time to spend on just giving it more iterations and more love than was the first time around. So, hopefully you get the sense that, you know, there's cooler. that you always should have the sense that you might find something really cool and something that's going to make a difference in the game at any moment. So, we'll just try to cultivate that even more than we did the first time.