Last week's long-awaited announcement of an official release date for Diablo 3 has a lot of people excited, but the game's monumentally high level of anticipation has to be somewhat intimidating for their competitors.
One of the most obviously affected studios would be independent developer Runic Games, who's 32 man team have been working on Torchlight 2 (a multiplayer sequel to their budget-priced dungeon crawler Torchlight) since 2008.
It's not a huge stretch to correlate Torchlight's success with a longing for more Diablo-style action (unfulfilled since the last D2 expansion in 2001) and with Torchlight 2 promising more of the same with added multiplayer, it was seen by a lot of fans as something that would tide them over until Diablo 3 arrived -- fans who are now concerned of the fate of the delayed indie game in the shadow of Blizzard's behemoth.
Responding to those concerns however, the reaction of Runic Games is anything but sour grapes, with the crew that includes several of the original developers of Diablo and Diablo II offering well-wishing words to the Blizzard team in a recent blog post
Congratulations to the Diablo III team for announcing a release date! That's got to be a such a feeling of relief to be on the home stretch. We're excited to hear the news, and we can't wait to play.
To our fans:
We know a lot of you are worried about us. We've heard what you're saying, and sure we've had similar discussions. But we began making the first Torchlight in 2008 when development on Diablo III was already underway. We didn't let that be a reason that we couldn't make an RPG. We made the commitment to create a game we loved to play. That's what's important to us, and that's why we go to work every day.
Diablo III is due on PC on May 15th 2012. Torchlight 2 has yet to revise a new release date, with only "2012" as the current stated goal.