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Post by Dan @ 04:01pm 15/06/12 | 2 Comments
While many PC gamers are still clicking furiously in the battle against the Prime Evil in Diablo III, Blizzard's hugely successful behemoth potentially marks the beginning of a resurgence in the action RPG genre, with a wide variety of newcomers on the horizon, as noted in our recent feature article.

One of the "Seven Promising Upcoming Action RPGs That Aren't Diablo 3" that we spotlighted was of course Torchlight II, the upcoming sequel from Seattle-based Runic Games -- a studio of 30 people that actually features more of the original Diablo 1 and 2 developers than Blizzard's Diablo 3 team.

Two of those developers are brothers Max and Erich Schaefer who were not only two thirds of Blizzard North's founding fathers, but were also key to the design of both classic Diablo titles.

As Torchlight 2's still-unconfirmed release date looms, blogger Mark DeSanto over at I.Eat.Games (thanks sat down with Max Schaefer for a terrific interview that covers Runic's hopes and intentions for T2 and his reception of Diablo 3.

We recommend any eager ARPG fans read the whole thing, but here are a few choice snippets. On releasing their much smaller-budgeted game in the shadow of Diablo 3:
I think when someone like Blizzard comes out with something like Diablo 3—where they’re doing TV commercials on ESPN, real mass market stuff—they’re bringing in millions of new gamers into the gaming community, and that makes our audience bigger. We’re doing pre-sales on steam, and the day Diablo 3 release they shot up 40% and have stayed up. They’re bringing in lots of people into this genre, and people are becoming aware of what we’re doing through them. We’re kind of piggybacking on their marketing.
On Diablo 3's rocky launch:
Once they get things running smoothly, no one will ever remember they had a rocky start. We didn’t look at it and say “Hey we gotta make sure we don’t have this happen!” because obviously they were trying to prepare for it, they’re not dumb guys at all. It’s just impossible to prepare for that [much traffic]. We were actually relieved that the game didn’t suck. It’s a good game, and we want our genre to be hot.

Also I worked on all the previous Diablos, so emotionally for me it’s important that it not suck, you know, by association. I think we look at it as a successful launch, obviously, it’s the fastest selling PC game of all time.
On D3's art style departure:
I think the art looks great! It looks like Diablo, but they have their own style, which I think they should do. You know, they shouldn’t just try to make Diablo 2 again. They’ve got a totally new crew making the game, and its always best when people are doing their version of what they’re doing, so I’m glad they put their own stamp on the style.
On what the Diablo sequel was going to be before Blizzard North was folder:
You know, when I was working at Blizzard a million years ago we were working on Diablo 3 and it was an MMO. We were going to do the Diablo version of World of Warcraft. Blizzard obviously changed that pretty quickly, so we left to start Flagship Studios and we brought in a lot of the guys, so they rebooted with their own team.
On whether there are now too many upcoming ARPGs
I don’t think so at all. For a decided simple game, ARPGs are actually very complicated to create. I think that’s why there aren’t a lot of them. I don’t think it’s based on the market at all, because whenever they do come out they sell like hotcakes. Look at Diablo 3. It’s the fastest selling game on all time on the PC. It’s a fertile market and I don’t think one or two titles are going to saturate it.

There are so many FPS out there and no one thinks that genre is dead. Every one that’s good sells like crazy. We’re pretty confident that provided we can keep our quality up, there are more buyers than there are games in this genre.
Torchlight 2 is currently expected in "late summer 2012" (Australian Winter) with pre-orders already open at only US$19.99

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Latest Comments
Posted 05:30pm 05/7/12
Any chance of an update on the development of Torchlight 2.
Reverend Evil
Posted 06:14pm 05/7/12
I did a preorder of this after being disappointed with Diablo 3
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