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Runic, you speed demons, you! You've already beaten the devil himself to the punch twice, and now – against all odds – you're looking to add even more insult to injury. Speaking with Joystiq, Runic Games CEO Max Schaefer said that he fully expects Torchlight 3 -- not 2, which is slated for a Spring 2011 release -- to hit virtual shelves before Diablo 3 finally escapes from development hell.
"I really think we will, I'm not joking about it. I'll be the first to buy Diablo 3, I'm a huge fan. I just know what it's like over there," Schaefer said when asked if he thinks his third hack 'n' slash RPG will outpace Blizzard's.
"[Blizzard has] an impossible task. Blizzard can not get away with doing a Torchlight 1. If they put out a single player game, an RPG that's kinda stripped down for $20, people would say, 'What the hell happened to Blizzard?' They don't have that luxury. Everything has to be super epic. More epic than anything that's come before, more epic than World of Warcraft. They have to do that. It puts them in a really tough spot, I don't envy them. It has to be perfect."
Torchlight, meanwhile, is being developed by a smaller team that – according to Schaefer – will never grow beyond 40 people, with the goal of development cycles that last less than one year.
Honestly, though, we're just happy that both games exist. Diablo's big, bombastic, and epic, and Torchlight keeps us from forfeiting our miniscule sum of sanity while waiting for Diablo 3. It's Yin and Yang. Diablo brings the noise, Torchlight brings the funk. The balance of the world, it seems, revolves around two games about clicking everything that moves and playing medieval dress-up. Without one or the other, we would all surely be destroyed.