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"Had to be me. Someone else might have gotten it wrong.” - Mordin Solus
5/30/09 6:24:12 PM#1
Before E3 we have the possibility to talk briefly with Runic Games about their new project, Torchlight, born after the end of Flagship Studios and Mythos.
1: GS: Let’s come back for a while to the Flagship studios failure. What has happened since those days until the establishment of RunicGames? What were the steps?
Erich Schaefer: Flagship’s demise happened fast and was somewhat of a shock which left most of us without definitive plans for the future. The Seattle Mythos team had a desire to stay together and their lead Travis talked with me, my brother Max and Peter Hu about how to get a new studio started. We all liked the goal of recreating the magic; making a game similar to Mythos, but, of course, better in every way. So with some personal investment, to keep the team operating until we could make a deal, we set out talking to publishers and financiers to back our new venture.
2: GS: Could you talk a little about the previous experiences of RunicGames Team?
Erich Schaefer: The Runic Games team is comprised of the entire Mythos team, an independent branch of Flagship Studios. Travis Baldree was earlier responsible for the game Fate, with help from a couple other members of the team. Max and Erich Schaefer, Peter Hu, and Matt Uelmen come from Blizzard Entertainment where they were key leads on the Diablo and Diablo II teams.
3: GS: How much of Mythos we will find in Torchlight? And how much Torchlight will be fresh new?
John Dunbar: Torchlight was built from scratch, with nothing in it carrying directly over from Mythos. The art style, dungeons, combat, and lore have all changed for the better. The basics are the same though; Torchlight is still focused on fast paced, visceral combat against hordes of monsters. We were disappointed to lose Mythos, but now we see it as a practice run for the real game.
4: GS: Rpg-action games remind me to Diablo. Why I would to play your game when there will be also Diablo III out there, late this year?
Erich Schaefer: Torchlight’s aesthetics, scope and business models are completely different. Torchlight MMO will actually be an MMO, with thousands of characters sharing the same world, randomly encountering each other while adventuring, and contesting territories as guilds. Torchlight MMO will be free-to-play and the Single Player version will be significantly cheaper than the competition. The major reason to play Torchlight, though, is it will be more fun. While we can’t compete with the budget and production values of our giant competitors, the Runic Games team has much more experience with these types of games. I think many players will find Torchlight faster-paced, more creative and packed with cooler mini-games and secrets.
John Dunbar: One of the most important things to keep in mind with micro-transaction based games is that they have to be fun for everyone. People who pay have to get something worthwhile for their money, and just as importantly, people who never spend a dime still have to really enjoy the game. The people who don’t spend money are important, because they actually make up the majority of the player-base. If they don’t have fun and they leave, then the game world feels empty.
I think it’s a great system for MMOs, because it opens the gate to a lot of people who wouldn’t play otherwise, and players can be sure they like the game before they even think about spending any money on it. Getting the right balance is definitely tricky, we’ll be listening to Perfect World’s experience while planning our system.
6: GS: What do you think about the actual MMOs panorama? Do you think that a new kind of MMO is in sight or not?
John Dunbar: I definitely think now is the time for new styles of MMOs to pop up. It’s really difficult for new titles to compete and get noticed in the current flood of Everquest-style MMOs, and as a player I’m not really interested in that type of game anymore. Right now I would like to play an MMO with much faster action that doesn’t demand I play for several hours at a stretch, and that’s what we’re making with Torchlight.
Thx to Runic Games for the interview.