Torchlight

Last updated
Torchlight
TorchlightRetailBox.jpg
The retail box art for Torchlight features the game's three character classes: from left to right, the Vanquisher, Destroyer, and Alchemist.
Developer(s) Runic Games
Publisher(s) Runic Games
Perfect World Microsoft Studios
Designer(s) Travis Baldree
Composer(s) Matt Uelmen
SeriesTorchlight
Engine OGRE [2]
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
OS X [3]
Xbox 360 (XBLA) [4]
Linux
ReleaseWindows(download)
  • WW: October 27, 2009
Windows(retail)
OS X
  • WW: May 12, 2010
Xbox 360
  • WW: March 9, 2011 [6]
Linux
  • WW: September 18, 2012
Genre(s) Action role-playing, hack and slash
Mode(s) Single-player

Torchlight is an action role-playing hack and slash dungeon crawler video game developed by Runic Games and published by Perfect World, released for Windows in October 2009. [7] The fantasy-themed game is set in the fictional town of Torchlight and the expansive caverns and dungeons nearby, which adventurers explore to collect valuable loot and battle hordes of monsters. [8] Following the October 2009 digital distribution release, a Windows retail box version was released in the U.S. in January 2010 by Encore, Inc, [9] and JoWooD Entertainment published a retail box in Europe in April 2010. [1] A port for OS X was developed by World Domination Industries and released through Steam [10] on May 12, 2010. Runic Games and World Domination Industries developed a port for Xbox Live Arcade which was released on March 9, 2011. [11] A Linux port was released as part of the game's inclusion in the Humble Indie Bundle 6.

Hack and slash or hack and slay refers to a type of gameplay that emphasizes combat.

Runic Games

Runic Games, Inc. was a Seattle-based American computer game company formed by Travis Baldree, Max Schaefer and Erich Schaefer, Peter Hu, and the Flagship Studios Seattle team responsible for Mythos. It was a subsidiary of Perfect World Co., Ltd. In 2009, the company released Torchlight, a single-player action role-playing game. They released a sequel, Torchlight II, on September 20, 2012. It was at this time the developers revealed they were no longer pursuing plans to create an MMO in the "Torchlight" universe.

Microsoft Windows is a group of several graphical operating system families, all of which are developed, marketed and sold by Microsoft. Each family caters to a certain sector of the computing industry. Active Microsoft Windows families include Windows NT and Windows IoT; these may encompass subfamilies, e.g. Windows Server or Windows Embedded Compact. Defunct Microsoft Windows families include Windows 9x, Windows Mobile and Windows Phone.

Contents

Development of the game was led by Travis Baldree, designer of Fate , joined by Max Schaefer and Erich Schaefer (co-designers of Diablo and Diablo II ), and the team that worked with Baldree on the original incarnation of Mythos . [12] [13] In September 2012, Runic Games released a sequel, Torchlight II , for Windows. [14] In 2018, the long-planned MMORPG was announced as Torchlight Frontiers. [15]

<i>Fate</i> (video game) action role-playing video game

Fate is a 2005 single-player action role-playing game originally released for the PC by WildTangent. Fate was released for the PC Steam client on December 12, 2013. Three sequels — titled Fate: Undiscovered Realms, Fate: The Traitor Soul and Fate: The Cursed King — were released in 2008, 2009 and 2011 respectively.

<i>Diablo</i> (video game) 1996 video game

Diablo is an action role-playing hack and slash video game developed by Blizzard North and released by Blizzard Entertainment on December 31, 1996.

<i>Diablo II</i> 2000 video game

Diablo II is an action role-playing hack-and-slash computer video game developed by Blizzard North and published by Blizzard Entertainment in 2000 for Microsoft Windows, Classic Mac OS, and macOS. The game, with its dark fantasy and horror themes, was conceptualized and designed by David Brevik and Erich Schaefer, who, with Max Schaefer, acted as project leads on the game. The producers were Matthew Householder and Bill Roper.

Gameplay

A Destroyer engages in combat against undead monsters. The bar at the bottom of the screen displays skills activated by hotkeys. Torchlight screenshot.jpg
A Destroyer engages in combat against undead monsters. The bar at the bottom of the screen displays skills activated by hotkeys.

The player controls a lone hero who explores a series of randomized dungeons, fighting large numbers of enemies and collecting equipment, gold, and other loot. The game also features a single town which serves as a hub, to which the player character can periodically return to buy and sell items to NPC vendors and obtain quests. [16] As the protagonist delves into the dungeon, a series of quests are presented which involve battling unique bosses that advance the main storyline. Optionally, the player may take on side quests, random quests or visit branching dungeon areas. [17] The graphics are three dimensional and viewed from an overhead perspective, similar to the isometric perspective used in the original Diablo . On personal computers, the game is controlled using a point-and-click mouse interface and keyboard hotkeys, while the Xbox Live Arcade version uses a controller and has a completely redesigned user interface. [11]

Dungeon crawl video game genre

A dungeon crawl is a type of scenario in fantasy role-playing games in which heroes navigate a labyrinthine environment, battling various monsters, avoiding traps, solving puzzles, and looting any treasure they may find. Because of its simplicity, a dungeon crawl can be easier for a gamemaster to run than more complex adventures, and the "hack and slash" style of play is appreciated by players who focus on action and combat. However dungeon crawls often lack meaningful plot or logical consistency.

A non-player character (NPC) is any character in a game which is not controlled by a player. The term originated in traditional tabletop role-playing games, where it applies to characters controlled by the gamemaster or referee, rather than another player. In video games, this usually means a character controlled by the computer via algorithmic, predetermined or responsive behavior, but not necessarily true artificial intelligence.

A quest, or mission, is a task in video games that a player-controlled character, party, or group of characters may complete in order to gain a reward. Quests are most commonly seen in role-playing games and massively multiplayer online games. Rewards may include loot such as items or in-game currency, access to new level locations or areas, an increase in the character's experience in order to learn new skills and abilities, or any combination of the above.

The game generates each level of the dungeon by assembling modular "chunks" of the game environment. Each chunk is designed by hand and may be composed of multiple rooms. They can contain scripted events and interactive objects such as levers that open secret doors or cause bridges to move. [18] This approach to level generation is intended to create dungeons with more purposeful design, instead of environments that simply look like "crossword puzzles that have been extruded upwards." [19]

As in Fate , the player has a permanent pet which fights alongside and can carry and sell loot. The initial pet can be a wolf dog, a lynx or, in the retail version of the game, a ferret; [20] the player can feed fish to their pet to transform it into different creatures. [21]

Lynx genus of mammals

A lynx is any of the four species within the medium-sized wild cat genus Lynx. The name lynx originated in Middle English via Latin from the Greek word λύγξ, derived from the Indo-European root leuk- in reference to the luminescence of its reflective eyes.

Ferret subspecies of mammal

The ferret is the domesticated form of the European polecat, a mammal belonging to the same genus as the weasel, Mustela, in the family Mustelidae. Their fur is typically brown, black, white, or mixed. They have an average length of 51 cm (20 in), including a 13 cm (5.1 in) tail, weigh about 1.5–4 pounds (0.7–2 kg), and have a natural lifespan of 7 to 10 years. Ferrets are sexually dimorphic predators, with males being substantially larger than females.

Also present in the game is a retirement system, in which the player can pass on an heirloom item from an old character to a newly created one, likened to a New Game Plus game mode. [16]

A New Game Plus is an unlockable video game mode available in some video games that allows the player to start a new game after they finish it at least once, where certain features in NG+ not normally available in a first playthrough are added, and where certain aspects of the finished game affect the newly started game, such as keeping in the new game items or experience gained in the first playthrough. New Game Plus is also known as "replay mode", "remorting", "challenge mode", or "New Game Ex". The genre where they are most prevalent is role-playing games.

Torchlight features three character classes. [18] [21]

The player develops their character by placing points into class-specific skill trees. Further, there is a separate category of spells that any character can learn from scrolls, regardless of class. [25]

Plot

In the fantasy world that serves as the setting of Torchlight, Ember is a mysterious ore which has the power to imbue people and items with magical power. The mining boomtown called Torchlight is built above a rich vein of Ember, and adventurers are drawn there seeking the magical substance and the enchanted items it creates. However, as the player character explores the dungeons below Torchlight, they discover that Ember has a corrupting influence which led to the fall of past civilizations and endangers those who use it in the present. [8] [17] [26]

The player character arrives in town and is recruited by Syl, a sage who is searching for her mentor, an alchemist named Master Alric who has disappeared in the nearby mine. At the bottom of the mine tunnels, the player finds a passage into older, crypt-like chambers below, eventually discovering that the entire dungeon is a "layer cake of ruined civilizations." [27] [28] Alric ambushes the player and reveals he has become evil due to the corrupting influence of Ember. After fighting a series of monsters and henchmen to reach the bottom of the dungeon, the player must face Alric and an ancient creature named Ordrak who is the source of the Ember's corruption.

Development

Pre-production on Torchlight began in August 2008, shortly after the dissolution of Flagship Studios. Runic Games was founded by Travis Baldree (lead developer of Fate and Mythos ) and veterans of Blizzard North and Flagship: Max Schaefer, Erich Schaefer and Peter Hu. [17] [29] The "entire Flagship Seattle team" consisting of 14 people (the branch of Flagship which created the original Mythos) signed on to Runic Games at the time of its formation. [19] [30] Having lost the rights to Mythos, the Runic team saw the development of a new game as a way to "finish what [they] started," although they would have to start over with none of the code or art assets from Mythos. [31] From the start, the company's ultimate goal was the development of a massively multiplayer online role-playing game with gameplay similar to that of Mythos or Diablo, but before tackling the MMO, Runic's founders decided to "go back to [their] roots" with a smaller game that they could refine and polish within a relatively short production cycle. [17] This single player game was intended to introduce the Torchlight game world to the public ahead of the MMO. Further, it allowed the team to get a released game under their belts sooner than if they had immediately started on the MMO. [24] [32] [33] Full production on the game started around November 2008, giving the entire project a development period of approximately 11 months. [34] As of July 2009, 25 team members were working at Runic Games. [25]

In a feature article on Gamasutra , art director Jason Beck explained that Torchlight's art style was inspired by comic books and classic film animation, using stylized character designs combined with painterly background textures. [31] The developers have described the game's look as inspired by " Dragon's Lair meets The Incredibles ." [32] The team chose to give the game world a lighter fantasy tone to make it more inviting, rather than utilizing a "dark and gritty" style. [31]

The game uses the OGRE open-source 3D graphics engine and CEGUI system for GUI, although the rest of the game engine was built by Runic. The game was designed to run on a wide range of systems (including a 'netbook' mode) and does not require shaders. [2]

Audio

Diablo composer and sound designer Matt Uelmen also joined the team, creating original music and sound for the game. [35] Uelmen based his score on the pacing and context of the gameplay, which he observed even in very early playable builds of the game. [36] For the "Torchlight" town theme, Uelmen incorporated some elements reminiscent of his "Tristram" theme from Diablo, but also tried to give it a distinctly different sound. For this piece, he recorded over 200 live takes using a twelve-string guitar among other instruments. For other portions of the score, he played a pedal steel guitar, and created a different sound from the instrument's typical use in country music. [35]

The developers cast voice actors with the help of veteran voice actress Lani Minella, who also performed in the game. [35]

Xbox 360 development

In August 2010, Runic CEO Max Schaefer revealed that the game was in development for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, aiming for release by the end of the year. [4] In January 2011, Runic announced that Torchlight would be released for Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) in early 2011, but a release for PlayStation 3 was no longer planned. [11] Because Microsoft is acting as publisher of the XBLA release, Torchlight will likely remain exclusive to the Xbox 360 on consoles. [37]

The Xbox 360 port was developed as a collaboration between Runic Games and World Domination Industries. Runic became more heavily involved in the port in mid-2010 when it became clear that its controls and graphical interface required a complete overhaul to adapt for use with console-style controllers. [38] As such, the player character is now directly driven by the controller without any virtual cursors. The game also includes some new content such as additional armor sets and a new pet, and incorporates technology developed for Torchlight II including character animation blending and an improved automap. [37]

Modding

The PC version of Torchlight is designed to allow extensive modding by players, and Runic Games has released the game editing tools they used to create the game as a free download. [16] [22] [39] The editor, known as "TorchED" is intended to be intuitive to use and allows the user to switch between editing levels and playing in them without leaving the editor. Player, monster, and item statistics, language translations, and even particle systems can be customized within the editor. [27] TorchED is also capable of editing quest events, scripting, and global game balance. Further, the game uses publicly available file formats, allowing users to import models and animations with relative ease. [33]

Reception

Critical reception

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic PC: 83/100 [40]
X360: 81/100 [41]
Review scores
PublicationScore
1UP.com A [42]
Eurogamer 8/10 [43]
Game Informer 8.75/10 [44]
GameSpot 8.0/10 [45]
GamesRadar+ 9/10 [46]
IGN 8.6/10 [47]
RPGamer4.5/5 [48]
Awards
PublicationAward
RPGFan E3 2009 PC RPG of Show [49]
GDC 2010 Best Debut Game [50]

Torchlight received positive reviews; the PC release currently holds a score of 83 out of 100 on Metacritic [40] while the Xbox 360 release holds a score of 81 out of 100. [41]

Writing for RPGamer, staff reviewer Anna Marie Neufeld praised Torchlight's "phenomenal music and great art direction" as well as its addictive combat but criticized the game's storyline as shallow. [48] Rock, Paper, Shotgun reviewer John Walker found the core gameplay to be a highly focused and engaging refinement of the dungeon crawl genre, albeit one with a "tissue-thin" story and quests. [51] In his review in Game Informer , Adam Biessener listed responsive controls, attractive animations and effects, and clever enemy designs as some qualities that set Torchlight above most other action RPGs. [44] GameSpot 's Brett Todd found the game's pace engaging, noting a deep variety of monsters and loot, but found the lack of multiplayer to be an omission. [45] Several reviewers cited the game's low price as a positive point. [47] [44] [45] [43] [51] [52] The Australian video game talk show Good Game 's two reviewers gave the game a 7/10 and 8.5/10. [53]

Many reviewers compared the game to the Diablo series, some describing it as the best Diablo-like game since Diablo II [43] and "the best Diablo clone in years." [44] Adam Biessener of Game Informer stated that "the soul of Diablo hasn't been so ably captured in years," [44] and The Escapist 's John Funk wrote "Torchlight absolutely nails the formula that made Diablo so addictive." [52] RPGamer stated that Torchlight "manages to overcome the Diablo expectations by being a game that can stand on its own merits." [48] Satchmo on the blog Press X to Continue gave an overall score of 9/10 saying that "It is a fine entry into a genre that doesn't have much representation on the Xbox". [54]

Sales

In July 2011, Torchlight sales surpassed 1 million copies. [55] As of 2015, the game has sold almost 2 million copies. [56]

Awards

Torchlight won the Best Debut Game Award at the 2010 Game Developers Choice Awards. [50]

Sequel

On August 4, 2010 Runic Games announced Torchlight II, a continuation of the story, featuring a co-op mode, new player characters, an "overworld" with multiple outdoor areas, and a new user interface. [14] [57] [58] Although the developers originally estimated a 2011 release, the game was finally released in 2012. [59]

Runic Games had originally planned to begin work on an MMORPG set in the Torchlight game world immediately following the release of the first game. Runic entered into a partnership with Chinese online game developer and operator Perfect World Co., Ltd. to publish the MMO worldwide. [32] At some point after the release of the first game, Runic Games decided to develop a sequel to Torchlight with co-op multiplayer capabilities, temporarily putting the MMO on the back burner. On September 20, 2012, the developers revealed they were no longer pursuing plans to create an MMO in the Torchlight universe. [60]

While Runic Games had been shuttered by Perfect World in 2017, Perfect World held the rights to the Torchlight IP. In mid-2018, the company announced Torchlight Frontiers, a shared world game being developed by Echtra Games, a studio within Perfect World founded by Runic's Max Schaefer. Torchlight Frontiers is expected to be released in 2019 for Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. [61]

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