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Torchlight's a fantastic game – no doubt – but it's a bit formulaic. You go underground, bash monsters until they're six more feet under, and then stuff whatever improbable pieces of loot they were ferrying around at the time into your magic, interdimensional pants pockets. Runic Games, though, makes up for its own game's predictability in spades. Case in point: Torchlight 2 out of nowhere. After all, weren't we talking about the Torchlight MMO, like, a few weeks ago?
But no, that's on hold for now. Fortunately, we're still definitely sticking our hands in the air for the next portion of Runic's development rollercoaster ride, seeing as Torchlight 2's packing just about every feature that was conspicuously absent from Torchlight. Let's run down the list: Multiplayer? Check. Customizable characters? Yep! A world outside the literal cave your Torchlight 1 character basically lived in? You betcha. Five new character classes? But of course.
Which is all great, but the question remains: why Torchlight 2? Why now?
“It makes sense for us strategically, too, to get a good practice session, if you will, for multiplayer with Torchlight. To make an MMO is a huge endeavor. It takes years, it’s a big risk. This way we can really feel out how multiplayer works with Torchlight, and we can give players who have been complaining there’s no multiplayer in Torchlight what they want, too,” Runic's Max Schaefer told PC Gamer.
Best of all, Torchlight 2's going to see the light of day in a relatively short amount of time, as it's been pegged for a Spring 2011 release. And, if it sticks with the same price point as Torchlight, that'll mean Runic will – in all likelihood – end up releasing two games comparable to Diablo 3 for half the price in a quarter of the time. Perhaps Blizzard left its throne unmanned for a little too long. Perhaps it's time to crown a new king. We shall see.