Update: Amid the somber news, Runic Games co-founder Travis Baldree has launched a fact-filled Twitter thread (opens in new tab) to celebrate the studio's nine-year history. Here are some highlights:
[2/?] Runic Games was first registered as 'Surprise Truck' and I got many calls asking if 'Surprise Trucking' could do a cross-country move.November 3, 2017
[7/?] The first Torchlight prototype involved a test model that looked remarkably like Jesus, dual wielding swords.November 3, 2017
[11/?] Torchlight 1 was made in 11 months, if we're generous. There was a lot of OMGSTARTINGACOMPANY in there.November 3, 2017
The official Runic Games Twitter provided a powerful follow-up statement:
pic.twitter.com/MxmkiC1cyONovember 3, 2017
Earlier today, Gigantic developer Motiga was shut down (opens in new tab) by its China-based publisher, Perfect World. In a statement, Motiga chief executive Chris Chung said "Motiga is not the only Perfect World studio being impacted by the decision." We now know his warning was dead-on: Perfect World has also shut down Torchlight 2 (opens in new tab) and Hob (opens in new tab)developer Runic Games.
In a statement to Kotaku (opens in new tab), Perfect World said:
"Perfect World Entertainment recently closed the Seattle office of Runic Games as part of the company’s continued strategy to focus on online games as a service. We’re grateful to the team for all of their hard work bringing incredible experiences like Torchlight, Torchlight 2 and Hob to life. Runic Games will remain a part of Perfect World Entertainment’s portfolio of studios, and its games will continue to be available to players, as we stay committed to supporting and growing Runic Games’ beloved franchises.
"The staff reduction at Motiga and the closure of Runic Games Seattle were unrelated. Perfect World Entertainment stands committed to delivering the best massively multiplayer online gameplay experiences to our players."
We reached out to Runic Games PR manager Wonder Russell, who confirmed the closure via email. Runic head Marsh Lefler addressed the studio's future in a blog post (opens in new tab).
"I’m sorry to say that today will be Runic’s last day open," Lefler writes. "Our focus is on our family here, and helping them find a new place to call home. If you are in games and looking for some of the best talent in the industry, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
"For those that love the Torchlight series, there will be some news coming. And for all our fans, our community and multiplayer services will keep running even after the studio's lights go off.
"It has been an amazing experience. To my family here at Runic, I know we won’t be far from each other, and I’ll miss seeing you all every week. You haven’t heard the last of us."
Additionally, according to community manager Brian Ward, the Runic Games Discord server will remain open "for the foreseeable future."
"Our games will continue to be supported by Perfect World going into the future and they'll have more news on that soon," Ward added.
As previously reported, Perfect World acquired Runic Games in 2010. It also owns Cryptic Studios, developer of City of Heroes and Star Trek Online.