PAX Surprise: Torchlight!

torchlightOne of the bigger stories to come out of (almost) nowhere and bowl people over at PAX was Runic Games, which not only showcased an impressive Torchlight to adoring crowds, but who announced that we’d be able to get our grubby hands on this title in less than two months — October 27, to be precise — for only $20.  For those Diablo fans who have been subsisting on what precious few drips of information Blizzard releases on a bi-annual basis about D3, this came like a torrent.

Jerich over on the Runic Games forums gives a lengthy and detailed impressions of the title that are certainly worth a read, the Examiner has a review, Gamasutra talks about its art, while MMO News scores an interview with the devs.

Personally, I wasn’t expecting Torchlight for at least another six months, since I’d heard very little about it up to now, so this came as a welcome surprise to an already-full fall gaming schedule (Champions, DDO, Guild Wars, Dragon Age, Borderlands).

A few choice quotes:

  • “The Torchlight graphic polish rivaled or exceeded that of games that had been in production for years (even Diablo III if I may be so bold) and were among the best in show. The two things that stood out most to me was the crispness of the graphics and the responsivness of the animations.”
  • “The MMO will be out approximately 18 months after the single player ships. The MMO will be free to play, with microtransactions available.”
  • “While there isn’t a lot of obvious innovation in Torchlight, the game does look like a solid action-RPG and the price point certainly can’t be beat.”
  • “While it’s a familiar formula, it’s obviously one that still works well. We kept playing the game long after we’d pretty gotten all the info we needed to write this article. It’s familiar, it’s fast, and it’s fun.”
  • “Having been so close to releasing our game only to lose it all on the home stretch, we set forth with an eye to finish what we started… by starting all over again.”

Now, you might recall that this single-player Torchlight is the first step of Runic Games’ master plan, in which they envision the title morphing into a MMO (or being a prologue to one).  In any case, we might be witnessing a title steal the thunder from Blizzard, something some predicted would happen (and sadly did not) with Hellgate London.  I had huge hopes for this team’s previous work on Mythos (rest in peace), and am glad to see they picked themselves back up from that experience to begin anew.

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8 thoughts on “PAX Surprise: Torchlight!

  1. Starayo September 9, 2009 / 7:55 am

    Hey, that’s my birthday! 😀

    If it plays better than warrior epic, should be fun.

  2. Castamere September 9, 2009 / 8:15 am

    Torchlight’s story is an amazing one – literally the phoenix rising from the ashes of Mythos. I do enjoy these mindless dungeon romps the latest of which to catch my eye was Titan Quest. Will certainly give this a go and I’m curious to see how a probable MMO will develop.

  3. shadowwar September 9, 2009 / 8:47 am

    Sweat, release on my B-day. I know what present I’m giving myself!

  4. xXJayeDuBXx September 9, 2009 / 9:12 am

    The Gamasutra article is a great read. Thanks for the heads up on this!

  5. WalterD September 9, 2009 / 9:46 am

    Looks like fun, can’t wait to get my hands on it. Happy birthday to everyone.

  6. We Fly Spitfires September 9, 2009 / 4:00 pm

    Torchlight looks very exciting, although nothing new… but hey, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’m looking forward to the MMO component the most although I kinda suspect it will get ditched…

  7. Rest September 9, 2009 / 8:24 pm

    Just to be clear, the MMO will not be a patch or expansion; it will be a fully separate game, albeit one that looks and plays like the single-player game.

    Also, Runic made this game from scratch in 11 months, so I wouldn’t bet against them making the MMO in the next 18-24 months (which is their planned timeframe).

  8. JiPi September 10, 2009 / 8:04 am

    @Castamere : won’t be hard…I really didn’t like WE! I was really deceived by it…

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