Indie game news, reviews, previews and everything else concerning indie game development.

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‘Torchlight’ Coming to 360 in March as Part of House Party Promotion

torchlight xbla

Rumors of a Torchlight release on a console have been swirling for a long period of time. It looks as if Geoff’s initial observations about where Runic Games was taking the game are indeed true. And now, almost exactly a year after our first post on the matter, Torchlight will see the light of day on March 9th on the Xbox Live Arcade as part of Microsoft’s “House Party” promotion, which also includes the likes of Beyond Good and Evil HD and Bejeweled Blitz. Runic’s well-received action-RPG will be sold for 1200 MSP ($15) and has been revamped for a stronger console experience.

These upgrades include: the user interface has been “COMPLETELY overhauled from the ground up.” There are no more item slots, but simply a maximum number of items you can hold. Players can have a total of 8 mapped skills and — as Runic has admitted — “Most of us actually find it easier to use a variety of skills on the console vs. PC, oddly enough.” Furthermore, no skills have been removed but some have been altered to meet the demands of the console variation. Some goodies from Torchlight 2 have also been added to the XBLA version of Torchlight. Finally, there is confirmation that a PS3 version will not be in the works as Microsoft is publishing the game. Anyhow, a whole slew of updates and improvements to the game have been made and you can read all about it (and see a set of mouth-watering screenshots, I might add) on the official Torchlight website.

One thing’s for sure, I’m super excited to see how the game plays and — although I doubt I’ll have the time to play it again — the demo will be a good indicator of whether the Microsoft-published arcade version is indeed better than the original.

[Runic]


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Runic’s Got Another Hit on Its Hands with Torchlight II [PAX]

Torchlight2000Late last year a small, but incredibly well made action RPG was released that, eventually, went on to become a footnote in the annals of RPG history. That game was, of course, Torchlight, a game which was not only well received critically, but also went on to be a financial success for Runic Games as gamers were heralding the title as the next best thing to Diablo 2.  Luckily for us the guys over at Runic were on hand at PAX showing off the title and Max Scheafer himself helped guide us through the bigger and better world of Torchlight II.

To say that Torchlight II is simply a bigger version of Torchlight would not be doing any justice to the title. Let’s put it this way. The first Diablo was good. A lot of people really enjoyed the game and overall it was a success in establishing a franchise. Diablo 2, on the other hand, not only continued that franchise, it established a legacy. This is the volume by which Torchlight II will surpass the original game, which makes sense since Max himself worked on both the original Diablo games as well.

So, first off, there are four brand new classes. While the original three are no longer playable they will appear as NPCs in various areas of the game. Unfortunately, only two of the four new classes were playable on the floor: the Outlander and the Railman. The Outlander plays as a sort of gunman/shooter character with a bit of magic enhanced abilities. The Railman, on the other hand, is a sort of engineer tank. What this means is that you’ll be building up runes in order to help bash your way through waves of enemies. It’s an interesting concept and one that isn’t easily grasped unless you play the game. Still though, both new classes are incredibly interesting and fun to play. The final two classes have not yet been announced.

Continuing on, and this will be a delight for those of you who like to play with others, Torchlight II will ship with online multiplayer/co-op. It’s a pretty simple service, basically just peer-to-peer. There’s no chat rooms or other such areas a la Diablo 2, but what is there seemed solid. While the actual multiplayer functionality will be pretty barren, Max did say they would include clan tags so that you and your friends could form up official-ish groups.

Of course, what would all these great new toys be without a great new world to explore? This, in my opinion, is where Torchlight II will really shine. Where as the original game simply had you in a single town going down various levels in a mine, Torchlight II features an overworld with plenty of outside areas to explore. Additionally, the game will features a number of environments and more than a single hub town, similar to what you had in Diablo 2. And, as with Torchlight, all dungeons — caves, forests, underworld, overworld, etc. — will continue to be randomly generated to ensure a unique experience through each locale.

Finally, as with the original game, Torchlight II will ship with the complete engine that the game was made on. This means that the entire game will be modable. You can create new weapons, maps, dungeons, skills, and even new classes should you decide to invest that kind of work. The tools the developers are using right now to create the game will be the same ones you’ll have access to upon the release of the game ensuring that the game has an active modding community attached to it.

Torchlight II is destined to be another smash hit so long as Runic can keep up with the same level of polish that the first game had. Overall, and this is from Max himself, the game is roughly four times the size as the original game, which means you’re not only getting a meatier game willed with features lacking in Torchlight, you’re also getting a much longer game.

Torchlight II is set for release in either April or May of 2011 with the same price as the original ($19.99), and, as with the original, you can expect the game to be available on a number of digital distribution platforms as well as the developers own site (where they retain 100% of the profits).

We’ll keep up with our Torchlight II coverage as we get updates from the developer. Stay tuned!

[Torchlight II]

Trailer


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What’s Indie? Some Thoughts on Our General Coverage Blanket [Editorial]

indie_editorialThis past weekend, Steam and several other digital distributors had a variety of discounted offerings as most of PC publisher Paradox Interactive’s catalog had been put on sale. A few of these games were included in our latest Indie Game Sales feature, as during the vast majority of development they were considered to be independently funded–and as such fall under what we cover on DIYGamer.

In cases such as this, where a publisher’s name is tagged to a game we feel might fall under our admittedly amorphous coverage blanket, it’s simply our duty to exercise due diligence and figure out where the funding for the game came from. If we conclude the finances came from the developer itself, then we’re free to write on it. There’s still a ton of grey area and this certainly doesn’t explain or justify every game that’s been included/omitted from these pages, but it gives us a floor to walk on so to speak.

We’re a young and ambitious site, some of our golden rules are set and some are still evolving on the subject. In the end we’re human, and many times we’ll error on the side of inclusion if there’s no readily available information stating that the game has received funding outside of the developer’s pocket. If it’s found out at anytime that it proves to be otherwise, we’ll be the first to admit fault and correct our mistake–including full omission of the title in question if need be.

BehemothLet’s use developer The Behemoth as an example. Microsoft is considered the publisher of Castle Crashers while The Behemoth is listed as both the developer and publisher for their previous title Alien Hominid. For both games–and presumably their upcoming third effort BattleBlock Theater–the dev claims on their website “Our development is 100% self-funded with support from fans who support our cause!” with a link to their games and merchandise. Taking them at their word that indicates that Microsoft only puts funding toward the exposure of Crashers, not the development.

In that case, I consider the game to fall on the right side of our line. Some wouldn’t, and they’d be tough to argue against, but I don’t feel that if one game receives more marketing support than another it should be forced to give up its indie badge and gun.

It’s undeniable that indie games are as popular as they’ve ever been. More than ever before, the indie scene has been brought closer to the typical gamer’s foremost interests. This has been accomplished through all walks of effort and perseverance from more individuals than we may ever know our give credit to. It leads me to beg the question: Why should an indie game lose its tag when the mainstream shows interest in it?

Rock_of_Ages_ACE_AtlusA notable point of contention in what I’ve written above is that we still cover partially-funded games that come from developer’s who were previously indie/independent such as Runic Games (Torchlight), Frozenbyte (Trine) and ACE Team (Zeno Clash, Rock of Ages.) All three developers have been picked up by publishers to develop sequels (or in ACE’s case a completely new IP) of their successful independent predecessors. Must our coverage halt right then and there because of this? Honestly, the jury is still largely out on the point, but let me explain why I personally feel compelled to write on it for both myself and our readers.

We like these games, and we like the people who developed them. We’re interested in what they’re cooking up next. For me it comes back to questioning why we must stop following a developer’s path simply because a publisher has picked them up based on their past independent success. That success is what enabled them to make their next game one way or another, if they look to a publisher to relieve some of the stresses they had to deal with during independent release (outside of development of course) should we then turn a blind eye?

Obviously, if the developer is ever wholly absorbed by their respective publisher and ceases to be some form of individual entity then there’s simply no argument, it can’t and shouldn’t be posted here.

All that said, and there’s still hundreds if not thousands of individual cases that could be argued either for or against in this never ending debate. There isn’t a single authority who correctly and absolutely categorizes what is considered indie in the vast sea of games and projects out there. So instead we research facts and rely on what are gut says a lot of the time. Not an exact science, but no one has ever claimed it to be.

Again, this is just one man’s (still developing) opinion on a very, very complex subject.


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Torchlight Update brings Trio of Fixes

Torchlight_update_july_13Runic has rolled out a new update for Torchlight, available now for owners of the game on Steam.

The patch brings three bug fixes to the game, putting band-aids on an event queuing issue, invisible skeletons/varkolyn showing up and some crashes on specific video hardware.

The file is currently only available as an automatic download on Steam, should the manual download pop up we’ll post it.

From the change log:

Torchlight

  • Fix to event queuing issue in low FPS situations
  • Fix for some crashes on certain video hardware
  • Fix for invisible skeletons/varkolyn on certain video hardware

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Torchlight $5 Sale

Torchlight_SaleWidely considered a spiritual successor to Diablo, the critically acclaimed action RPG Torchlight is 75% off as part of Steam’s Weekend Deal.

Runic’s title has been discounted down to $5, taking $15 off the standard price. If you’ve yet to purchase the game, this really must be what you’ve been waiting for.

The deal extends to other distributors as well including GamersGate and D2D, with the latter going an extra day with the sale through Monday, March 29.


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‘Torchlight’ Retail Release Down Under in Australia

TorchlightOne of the most popular and arguably best action-RPGs of 2009 is soon making its way over to Australia thanks to publisher Mindscape. Torchlight, Runic Games’ RPG masterpiece, has been slated for an April 2010 release. The specific date has not been set, but details have emerged indicating that the retail version of Torchlight will contain new features that the downloadable version did not have. Buyers of the Australian retail version will receive the ferret as an exclusive bonus pet as well as a full DVD editor “allowing players to create their own content.”

Torchlight should be available at all retailers and software outlets throughout Australia for $29.95. If you’d like to see some more info, check out the full press release below.

MINDSCAPE ANNOUNCES RETAIL LAUNCH OF POPULAR ACTION-RPG GAME, TORCHLIGHT®


Sydney, Australia, 24 March 2010 – Mindscape Asia Pacific Pty Ltd, has today announced that it has been appointed the official Australian retail distributor for the highly acclaimed RPG title Torchlight.

The single-player game will hit retail shelves in April 2010 and will include new features unavailable in the online version. The exclusive to retail features will include the ferret as a bonus pet and an optional full DVD editor allowing players to create their own content. Other key features include randomisation, simple interface and retirement system.

Torchlight is the widely anticipated role-playing game from the designers and leads of Diablo®, Diablo® II, Fate and Mythos. The game emphasises a simple and intuitive interface, fast and furious action, and a colourful and compelling game world for fans of RPG.

In Torchlight, players need to save the town of Torchlight, battling through rock and fire, lost cities and across ancient tombs on a perilous journey to cleanse the mines. As one of three Character Classes, players will explore randomly generated dungeon levels, battle a huge variety of monsters and pursue endless variations of fame and fortune.

Torchlight has received a number of awards including Best Debut Game’ Award at the 2010 Game Developers Choice Awards, Game Industry News ‘RPG Game of the Year’ and the Game Developer’s Conference Choice Award for Best Debut.

Torchlight will be available through all major retailers and computer software outlets from in April 2010 and will be retailing for $29.95 inc. GST. For further information please visit www.mindscape.com.au.

ABOUT MINDSCAPE (www.mindscape.com.au)
Mindscape develops, publishes and distributes games, productivity and reference software on the PC, Mac, DS, Wii, PSP, PS3, Xbox and online platforms. The company’s rich portfolio of award-winning products include Broderbund, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Endemol, Hoyle Games, IMSI, Konami, Legacy Interactive, Myhorseclub, Nancy Drew, Nuance, The Learning Company, Punch, Playfirst, PopCap, Thomas & Friends and Roxio. Mindscape is a publicly listed company on the Paris Stock Market – Alternext since December 2007.

[Source: GamesPress]


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Oh My God Yes… Give me Torchlight on my Console

TorchlightIn a brief interview with The Rumble Pack, Torchlight CEO Max Schaefer has confirmed a very juicy detail concerning their recently released action RPG, Torchlight (which we were quoted on the retail box, btw). Now I don’t want to go raising any hopes or anything, but in the interview Max has basically confirmed that Torchlight will be coming to consoles in the future. I believe his exact words were: “We are definitely moving in that direction.”

Anything could happen, of course. This wouldn’t be the first time I’ve heard of a great PC game being promised to come over to the consoles and then just never show up. But the fact that they seem to have a plan in motion to get this port started makes it seem like it’s a definite possibility.

You may be wondering why I’m making such a huge deal out of this. Well allow me to start by saying that, while I love action RPGs and I love gaming on my PC, I’ve always felt like that particular knd of RPG experience has been tailor made to work with a console controller (360 or PS3… no thank you Wii). I can just imagine now, sitting on my couch, and sinking oh so many hours into what I believe is the spiritual successor to Diablo 2.

Good times… now make it happen!

[Listen viat The Rumble Pack, read our own review of Torchlight!]


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‘Torchlight’ Boxed Version Coming to Europe in March

TorchlightAustrian publisher JoWooD Entertainment revealed on the 4th of February that Runic Games’ successful action-RPG Torchlight–which garnered massive appreciation from indie fans and critics alike–will be hitting stores in Europe on March 23rd. The game will be released in Europe–but not in France and Benelux–and also come out in Russia and the former CIS. It will be priced at 19,99€.

“JoWooD Entertainment will utilize its highly effective distribution network to optimally position the game in stores all over Europe (excluding France and Benelux). The enormous amount of publicity this title has generated in the media so far, as well as the product’s indubitable top quality, makes us certain that this title has huge potential. We are enthusiastic to be able to cooperate with Runic Games on this project and are looking forward to a highly successful release.”

- Albert Seidl, CEO of JoWooD Group

Way to go, Runic!


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Torchlight Editor Update Released

TorchlightRunic Games has released a new update for its RPG Torchlight, more specifically the TorchED editor.

The patch brings several additions and improvements to the editor including the ability to sort skills and quests by name, along with a slew of bug and other miscellaneous fixes.

The file is available now for Steam users by restarting the client, and for everyone else directly from Runic’s forums. From the notes:


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Torchlight 75% off on Steam, Today Only

TorchlightTorchlight, for today only, has been reduced to the tiny, tiny price of just $4.99 as part of Steam’s annual Holiday mega sale. I can’t tell you how good of a deal this is. The game was an absolute steal when it was $19.99 seeing as how much awesome Diablo gameplay it gives you, but at $4.99 there should be no reason why you don’t own this game already.

For those of you who are looking for a bit more information about the game, check out our own glowing review of it.

Also, in case you were wonder, the game was the runner-up in our “Editor’s Choice” awards for 2009.

[Buy from Steam]