Turnaround Time

How is it that Runic Games is publishing Torchlight 2 early next year while other games languish in development Hell for years before coming out late, buggy, and poorly balanced? My compliments to whoever is in charge of production and logistics.

I understand that Torchlight is not the most ambitious project ever. It is narrowly defined and does one thing really well. It out-Diabloes Diablo. It is also a single-player game, which simplifies quite a bit. I also respect the discipline it takes to make a narrowly focused game, rather than trying to be all things to all people. We have seen that. We have seen that fail.

Torchlight 1 seems like a teaser for the real thing. Single-player, limited range of options: it is a demo expanded to something they could use as a fund-raiser. Torchlight 2 is adding multi-player and other things people thought were missing. By the time Diablo 3 comes out, are you really going to be interested in it except as “more of the same” of Torchlight? And they’re making an MMO. It is like seeing someone re-create Blizzard, if they had it to do all over again with less baggage, more experience, and no Activision.

: Zubon

11 thoughts on “Turnaround Time”

  1. Well, to be fair, we should probably wait for Torchlight 2 to actually be released on time, bug-free and well-balanced, before saying “how come it isn’t late, buggy, and poorly balanced like so many other games?” :-)

  2. I honestly would love to see the person that can reach out and say “I am not playing Diablo III because its more of the same that Torchlight did.” Honestly, if your a fan of the genre at all you will see that in the mild amount of information Blizzard has released about Diablo III, it comes out leagues ahead of what Torchlight has done.

    And just to point it out, Torchlight was a solid game. It just however had lacking amounts of difference in the landscapes, dungeons, and pretty much everything you threw at it for coming out in 2009. It has to do a lot more, and even more than I can expect from Runic games to even take on the Behemoth we know as the Diablo Franchise.

  3. Torchlight was built on top of FATE ( http://www.fatethegame.com/ ) and didn’t do much for me at all. I’m not interested in verse two of the same with added multi-player. How WildTangent didn’t get any credit for Torchlight, I’ll never know.

  4. It will be interesting to see if Diablo 3 will be – and who expects anything else – just the 2010 version of Diablo 1/2.

    Just like Blizzard sold people Starcraft 2010 as Starcraft II.

    -> I did not manage to play through Torchlight yet, and given the similarities of gameplay to Diablo, I wonder if I will really want to play Diablo 3 at all. Put Battle.net, real ID and Blizzard gone evil on top of that and I really hope I get a demo of Diablo or can test it at a friend.

    I think Blizzard does not need 10-20 years to “polish” the very same game. They are just waiting for people to forget, the moment when the time is ripe to serve people more of the SAME, coupled with their still good image and extremely successful marketing machine.

  5. Longasc you are nuts

    Diablo 3 is shaping up to be better and far more advanced than 1 or 2.

    And no…no one will care about Torchlight when Diablo 3 hits. Sometimes comments really stun me it is almost like people do no research whatsoever.

    Crazy MMO folk!

    1. I will not be buying Diablo 3. I’ve never liked the Diablo games much. Torchlight 2, on the other hand, well, I’ll pick that one up on sale.

    2. Friend Hudson, I am concerned that I am over-reading the amount of aggression in this comment or this post. It seems like a very strong response to what is for me the first time of expressing “I’m looking forward to this” in a year or three. Perhaps that is just my reading in comparison to the more moderate, “Hey, let’s wait until they actually deliver” comment above, or perhaps you are reacting to a context I may not share.

  6. to be fair, Runic games _IS_ blizzard north, the people who made diablo and diablo 2… and also hellgate, which failed miserably. They learned their lesson then that amazing programming skills and knowing action-RPG up and down doesn’t make up for a bad business plan. Torchlight delivers on this lesson: creating a fresh experience of a known genre when there is a palpable excitement for diablo 3. Meanwhile, the price is right: nobody paid more than 20 for torchlight, and most paid 10 or even 5. Runic games became the darling of steam, with steam using their game sale know how to really drive downloads for this game.

    Ultimately, people got an experience akin to first discovering diablo 2 for 1/3rd the price or less, which is good business sense, even if it’s nothing ground breaking and world shattering in terms of the latest and greatest game design. What a game like this may not do for the genre it does for companies wondering if there is a place for a small development company making small games with a low cost and low development cylce. The answer is emphatically YES and that is good news for everyone.

  7. I am also excited to see what the team at Runic ships as Torchlight II. What they have done so far has been light and creative and has only whetted my appetite for more.

    This does not diminish my enthusiasm for Diablo III, which I will almost assuredly purchase, unless ActiBlizz really works hard to make me stay away. (Forcing me to log onto Bnet for solo play will annoy me greatly if that comes to pass.)

    I am still disappointed that Diablo has languished for 9 years. Blizzard could have put out another expansion to update the technology just a bit (a supported resolution higher than 800×600 would have been nice, I’d have paid for that) and to support the mod-ing community. That would have bought them a ton of good will, kept the latest available version of the game more active, and brought in some cash.

    But I guess the people at Blizzard who could have done that were all some place else.

    Anyway, here is hoping that Torchlight II will keep us happy until we have to decide whether or not to buy Diablo III.

  8. Torchlight is a great game, and it looks fantastic too. If I had a qualm, its with the 2-skill genre as a whole, i really need something a bit more advanced. I didnt care too much about the skill tree in Torchlight, and as a result I didnt have a desire to play more, like with the “just one more turn” aspect of the Civ games.

    As for Diablo 3, I’m interested in an offhand way, I was very interested, but that was 2 years ago, and their class reveals havent interested me.

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