Torchlight 2 interview with Runic Games

PC Gamer at

The MMO, the system requirements, mods, and the release.

PC Gamer: Since you're building this whole world now, are you going to re-use a lot of these same settings for the MMO?

Travis Baldree: I think we'd certainly want to revisit them, although they will probably be more concrete in the MMO. Outdoor regions in the MMO are not going to be randomised, as a rule, we want that sense of persistence where you've got a ton of people in a given region. One of the things we get to do, with this not being an MMO, is have these be highly randomised, but the settings and so on, and the cultures we set up we want to take forward.

PC Gamer: Visually, the first game hit the mark with system requirements by having a particular art style. Are there going to be any changes there? Any graphical improvements?

Travis Baldree: The lighting is a little bit more interesting this time out. As I mentioned earlier, we've got time of day and weather which makes the whole world feel more dynamic. We have a larger art team at this point so we're certainly working to refine the look of the game and to push up against the limitations that we've chosen for hardware. But we still want this to run on really low end machines. We want you to be able to play it in a coffee shop and not have to worry about it.

PC Gamer: Do you have an idea of when it's likely to be released?

Max Schaefer: Let's say the first half of 2011. We can say we're aiming for that. Of course, it's early in development and it hasn't been publicly shown, and we're a game developer giving you a release date so...

PC Gamer: Is there anything else you want to add about Torchlight 2?

Max Schaefer: You'll be able to buy the box and play for free, so there will be no item sales or subscriptions or any nonsense.

Travis Baldree: We're going to continue supporting mods. We've been talking a lot about how we're going to handle that in multiplayer, so it's not finalised yet. Maybe some horrible difficulties will arise that I'm not anticipating, but it's something that we'd like to do. Ideally, what I'd like to see happen is one of the cool things we had with Torchlight was the class mods that people did. We had lots of different class mods that people put together interesting abilities or really weird alternate takes on an existing class, and I think it'd be really fun to go and play with your friends and play really strange classes that somebody cooked up and do that together.

Max Schaefer: I think it's probably important to mention here that we're not aiming with our multiplayer to provide the perfectly secure, cheat free MMO multiplayer experience. The idea here is that you can play Torchlight with your friends, and you can modify that if you want to make the game with your friends all the better. It probably means that it will be somewhat cheatable, but the point of this is not to have a world wide competitive community, the point of this is to have a fun Torchlight experience that you can play with your friends.

Travis Baldree: The aim is basically to provide you with some tools when you're in the lobby environment to play games only with the people you actually want to play with. You can have an established set of friends and set up a game that's only available to them. We've talked a bit about almost a limited TiVo style rating system for players, too, so that you can thumb down people who are absolute hacks.

PC Gamer: But you can play with random people as well?

Travis Baldree: Oh yes, you can absolutely play with random people. We want to give people the ability, if you've got a bunch of morons hopping into your game, to exclude them if you like.

Martin Davies