Runic: Diablo 3 is a ‘Significant Product’; Torchlight 2 Offers More
Runic Games has some monolithic competition for Torchlight 2 in the 800-pound gorilla in the dungeon: Diablo 3. Runic was founded by developers from Blizzard North who worked on Diablo 2, and there’s no getting around the comparison between the two games. (In fact, our CJ Miozzi is currently in the process of reviewing Torchlight 2 and then spinning off with a huge comparison story about the two — check for the latter next week.)
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In an interview with IGN, Runic CEO Mark Schaeffer addressed Diablo 3, saying that Blizzard has made a “significant product” and that the developer has been getting “a bad rap” lately. He also said that he thinks Torchlight 2 and Diablo 3 each offer a different kind of experience in their genre.
“There’s two valid paths to go when making a game like this. You’re either going to have a secure economy, like a quasi-MMO, or you’re going to have an open game where you’re going to let people have access to all the data and all the files and let them update it and mod it as they please. We’ve chosen the latter path, and Blizzard obviously chose the former path. I think they’re both valid, but they do offer alternatives to people who are disaffected one way or another. A lot of people are very competitive. They want to play in a competitive game’s economy. For them, Diablo III is the answer. For people who are more casual and want to have a lot of fun building new crazy characters and enjoying a good hack-and-slash, those are our people.”
Schaeffer went on to say he thinks Torchlight 2 is a slightly larger game, with more randomization, customization and replayability than the Blizzard behemoth.
And then there’s the price point, which Schaeffer said tracks right alongside a $60 product — but for a third of the cost to consumers.
“Back in the day, when we would sell a $60-dollar box, by the time the money came back to us, it would be maybe $14 dollars a copy. And that’s what we get nowadays on Steam, selling a digital download version for $20. So from our perspective, we’re as viable and as profitable as an independent developer used to be selling $60 boxes.
“We’re bypassing the publisher and box distribution and that lets us bring a $60 game to people for $20. We don’t want people to look at Torchlight as a cheap game, because we think it’s competitive with anything out there. But we like the idea that we’re at this price. It sets us apart a little bit. We also want people to buy a Runic Games product without even thinking about it, because they know it’s always a good value.”
One final note: Schaeffer said Runic isn’t planning a console release of Torchlight 2 — at least not right now. The first Torchlight eventually made its way to Xbox Live Arcade, and Runic isn’t ruling out the possibility. But at the moment, the limitations of Xbox Live, coupled with the small size of the studio, means Runic isn’t working on a consoel version.
Check out the full interview over at IGN.