RPGamer Feature - Torchlight II - Interview
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Developer: Runic Games
Publisher: Runic Games
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Torchlight has been a huge hit on the PC, Mac and Xbox Live Arcade. This third-person looter captured Diablo fans, while creating an accessible game for newcomers to the genre as well. Whether you love looting solo or with friends, Torchlight II supposedly will continue the trend of massive loots and xp, while adding a fluid customization experience for players. To give us some more details on Torchlight II, RPGamer had the chance to speak with Runic Games' CEO, Max Schefer, and Minister of Culture, Wonder Russell.

Greetings to our friends at Runic Games! We appreciate you taking some time out of your day to talk with us about Torchlight II. One thing I know most of us are thrilled about with Torchlight II is being able to customize our characters. How detailed will the face, hair, and gender customization be and did this stem from design concepts for the MMO?
RG: Players will have a few options each for face, hair, and other character features. We want to provide a level of customization that satisfies everyone, but it's really just a starting place; Since Torchlight II is played top down, the real customization will be added with armor and weapons sets.

As far as where the idea came from, its a natural product of the difference between single and multiplayer RPGs. Now there will be more than one player, potentially of the same class, on screen, so you need more individuation in a multiplayer game. Plus, we have more time this time around.

What are some other new features planned for Torchlight II outside of character customization and multiplayer?
RG: We have a bunch of new features lots of new stuff! There's a much bigger world, with vast, randomized outdoor areas and multiple cities, a whole new actual story and lore, cinematics, all new music recorded by the Slovakia National Orchestra, more pets, and more you'll have to wait and see.

Will there be any "perks" unlocked from having a Torchlight save?
RG: Not right now, but it's something we've talked about.

How is Torchlight II looking in terms of length when compared to the first? How about loot? Are we going to have a lot and will the equipment be viewable on our characters?
RG: Torchlight II will be about double the length of the first game. The overland areas makes it feel even bigger. There is a lot more loot, and all new weapons, gear sets, special armor pieces, and more. Like the first game, you'll be able to zoom in and see how your character is equipped.

As far as the multiplayer goes, is the interface going to be a simple drop-in, drop-out experience? What's the max number of players that can group at one time?
RG: A drop-in, drop-out experience is exactly what's planned. You'll be presented with a list of available games that you can filter according to your criteria. We will also support LAN play.

We haven't set the upper limit on players in a game yet and it's something we'll probably play with right up until launch, to find the sweet spot. We estimate it will be between 4-6 players.

There wasn't a huge focus on story the first time around, so how has this changed for Torchlight II?
RG: That's changed in a major way. We hired an actual writer, JD Wiker, a while back and he's been creating the lore of the world that's grounded in Torchlight. In many ways, the story in Torchlight is just the seed of what has grown into Torchlight II.

Does the story differ based on what class you choose?
RG: The overall story is essentially a hero's quest that is the same for all characters, however everyone will have a slightly different experience as they progress through the zones.

The Torchlight MMO was originally aiming for a Fall 2011, but that was changed after Torchlight's release to a later date. With Torchlight II coming up, what's the new revised vague target period for the MMO?
RG: The vague target date is still vague. :) We haven't set a release date for Torchlight II yet, and we like to take one project at a time.

With the MMO market growing larger, especially with free-to-play MMOs, do you truly feel that a Torchlight MMO is the right path to be following and why? Has there been thoughts of scrapping it in favor of more non-MMO ventures?
RG: We are interested in a Torchlight MMO because we think it would make for a great game. We like the possibilities in having a large, online community of Torchlight players all playing together in a large world. Having said that, we use the MMO term broadly, and are not interested in making a "me too" cookie-cutter MMO. As always, we'll make the best, most fun game possible, and whatever label it ends up with is fine.

The 300 pound gorilla looming over Torchlight would have to be Diablo III. If Torchlight II is as successful as the original, do you feel like you could continue making games to compete with Diablo or if the MMO the route to avoid such competition?
RG: This is a reality we've lived with for a while. We think that maybe the gorilla might not be that dangerous. In fact, the better Diablo III does, the more ARPG fans there will be, and thus more people who'd look to us as an alternative. We also feel that Torchlight is different enough in style, price point, business model, and intangibles , so we'll be able to co-exist.

RPGamer would like to thank Max Schaefer and Wonder Russell for all their insight into Torchlight II While there's no release date yet for the game, check out the original Torchlight on PC, MAC, and XBLA. For more information on the game, see Runic Games's official website.

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