Evan Burkey

PAX 2009: Torchlight

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Another game we checked out at PAX was Torchlight, the first release from Runic Games.  Torchlight is an action RPG that could be called a “Diablo Clone”.  The game has a lot of potential behind it, since Runic Games is made up of developers who worked on Diablo, Fate, and Mythos.  Ryan and I spent the better part of an hour checking out the game, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Torchlight is, at its core, a dungeon crawler.  You progress deeper and deeper into a mine that the city of Torchlight is built around, trying to kill enemies and get some tasty loot.  The dungeons are randomly generated, as is the norm for this genre.  The art style is kind of cartoonish, but don’t worry, there was quite a bit of blood and violence along with it.  Even though Torchlight looks great, the game will run on older PCs.  The graphics engine boasts a heavy amount of customization, and the game is designed to run on even the lowest of low-end machines.

Another excellent feature of Torchlight is the toolset and map editor that will ship with the game. For that, we go to Ryan Wilson:

Torchlight uses the popular (and free) 3d engine, Ogre3d, which the development team accredits with the game’s speedy development time.  Having used the engine myself in some prior projects, I can vouch for the engine’s usefulness.  However, probably the best feature of Torchlight is the heavy support for modifications through extensive and unrestricted tools that we have been told will ship with the game.  This toolkit can alter the game as much or as little as you want.  Want to make enemies die in one hit?  You’ve got it!  Want to create a “Sword of Spanking”?  You’ve got it!  Want to turn the game into a hack-and-slash venture through Hogwarts? You’ve got it! (Assuming you have the textures and maps to back it up, of course)

You may have noticed the lack of talk about multiplayer in this game.  Simply put, Torchlight will not have any, but don’t let this stray you from getting the game.  The Runic Games team has confirmed that they will be hard at work on a multiplayer version of the game shortly after the single-player game ships.  Modifications are unlikely to be supported in the multiplayer version, as the team has stated that the toolkit practically gives the player license to cheat through the game if they so please.

I’d have to say that I’m pretty excited for Torchlight. I enjoy action RPGs and this looks like a very polished, modern entry to the genre. The editing tools look to add a significant amount of replay value to the game. If you enjoy the action RPG genre, Torchlight looks to be an excellent addition to your collection. Torchlight will be released on October 27th, and will be a $20 digital download.

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