John McCarroll
E3: Runic's Torchlight
The best little game at E3.
06.02.09 - 7:22 PM

Runic is a developer that's pretty new on the block on the surface, but having a chance to talk with the Seattle-based developer with a lot of Flagship Seattle refugees, I'm very impressed with what they've churned out. With only 7 months in development, Runic has produced Torchlight, a 3D isometric hack-and-slash title which has modding and creation tools above and beyond what most have seen.

Slated for release as a single-player title in the fall and later as a multiplayer title published by Perfect World, Torchlight will feature three classes at launch: the Destroyer, the Alchemist, and one unannounced class. All three classes will have access to a pet from the beginning of the game, will be able to give them gear, and will be able to modify them by fishing in the game. Players will have access to skill trees, a descendant system similar to Fate's, and a hardcore mode for the gamers who hate to die. The game's music is composed by Matt Uelmen, who worked on the Diablo games for Blizzard. The game itself seems like great fun that will run on just about every system imaginable, but what impressed me most by Runic's offering was their modding tools.

Runic is offering a set of tools with the single player-game that will allow players to create their own levels, and has also created a drag-and-drop scripting systems. Players will be able to drag and drop their own levels, as well as import their own models into the game's Ogre3D-based graphics engine. A buff at using Maya? You can toss your models into the game. Every single chunk of the game is able to be modified, from individual monster statistics to the scale of gold drop in the game. From the look I had at the tools, they are incredibly powerful on top of being user-friendly. Players will not need to know any scripting languages, but instead will work with a flow-chart styled system for scripting.

I went into my appointment with Runic knowing little about the game, but I was incredibly impressed with what I saw at the show. Runic will launch Torchlight in the fall for an estimated $20-30USD pricetag.