Torchlight Interview

Torchlight composer Matt Uelmen steps in to answer Shacknews' latest set of questions about the single player/massively multiplayer action RPG hybrid. The interview is ten pages in length, and as such covers a lot of ground - including his musical background, his contributions to the Diablo and World of Warcraft franchises, and much more.
Shack: Let's tackle Diablo II. How early did you start working on that?

Matt Uelmen: Oh, very early. It was a long project, actually. We pretty much knew we were going to make a sequel as soon as Diablo was released. The first year was actually really, really hard, because our ownership of our ownership was a company called Cendant, which was involved in probably the biggest stock market scandal up to that point. Basically it was similar to Enron in a lot of ways, a few years before Enron. So that was intensely demoralizing. And we had already started to hemorrhage some people that were really significant.

It's actually kind of been buried in history for whatever reason, but a bunch of guys from around that time, the Cendant scandal, started a studio called Fugitive. And then there was another studio called Spark Unlimited that was also founded, and the guy on that team, Ben Haas, was the animator of the original Diablo. So it kind of hurt to see him go, in terms of losing something that was that core. He was also involved with a lot of iconic Diablo animations, of the monsters especially. He really kind of gave Diablo this boxer personality that he has.


Shack: What sort of instrumentation are you using for Torchlight?

Matt Uelmen: It's pretty straight-ahead. Torchlight is actually the most guitar-y thing I've done top to bottom since Diablo. I'd actually probably say it's the most returning to doing guitar-based stuff since then. I really used the guitars very, very little in the WoW stuff, and Diablo II didn't have much guitar really at all in the second and third act, and only a little in the fourth.

So when you start [Torchlight], you'll be hearing the mandolin, a classical guitar I just bought in Glendale a month ago just for that track. You'll be hearing--not the old Diablo 12-string, but a Diablo 12-string, the Diablo II one. And you'll also be hearing a lot of... probably the coolest toy that I've treated myself to in the past few years, which is a Gibson SG that's about as old as me. That's actually appeared in a lot of different places. And I finally got a vintage Fender Jaguar in the first interior as well. So that kind of out-of-tune surfy thing, leaning on the whammy-bar is that.