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  1. #1
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    Torchlight 2 Delayed Until Next Year

    Great news everyone! That is to say, it's great news to ME that I didn't have to break the bad news for you tomorrow! I am of course referring to the notice that when up on the official Torchlight 2 website and forums today. Here's the main quote for you, from the mouth (fingers) of Runic Games President Travis Baldree:


    "So... where is Torchlight 2? Didn't you guys say that you were planning to try to release this year?"

    Well, yeah. We did - and we made a good run at that. We've come to the realization, however, that getting a game of this scope up to the quality and polish level we want to achieve is going to take a little longer; especially since we want to run a small beta before release to ensure that our launch is smooth.

    The first Torchlight was released in record time, but it had plenty of issues that a little more development could have resolved. We didn't have the resources at the time to give Torchlight that treatment. Right at this moment though, we do have those resources for the sequel, and we feel strongly that we should apply them to make this the best game we can make and hopefully one that you'll enjoy and continue to want to play in the future. We've probably had 18 months of full development time on it so far - not excessively long yet, as far as that goes. The amount of time we need to take it the rest of the way is relatively small.

    We feel pretty safe in saying that if you enjoyed Torchlight at all, this sequel is superior in every respect. Right now our job is to ensure that the quality level is consistent all the way to the end.

    Besides, you're all playing Skyrim right now anyway, aren't you? Or Battlefield 3? Or Uncharted 3? Or Saints Row 3? Or Arkham City? Or Skyward Sword? Or Minecraft? Or Modern Warfare 3? Or Dark Souls? Or Assassin's Creed Revelations?

    Those are awesome games. When Torchlight 2 goes live, we want it to be awesome too - all the way through.

    Before I get into more of the finer details and personal responses from the forum thread, let me make a few important points for you:

    The reason that this announcement came today was so that you could all enjoy the extremely cool information and media we have coming to you when the NDA lifts in 11 hours. They didn't want to spoil all the awesome new stuff with the bad news, so they brought it out first, and I want to thank them again for that.

    You're going to get more details tomorrow, but the reason for this delay is that they just need more time. They are working their asses off to get this game to you at the level of quality they expect of themselves. As Travis says, Torchlight 1 wasn't all that it could be because they were running out of resources (things like time and money) and they had to release it. It shows, and not just because "it lacks multiplayer." Everyone who visited Runic for the Fansite Event agreed that the game wasn't going to make it out this year because it's just not finished being polished yet. Polish means things like bug testing, balancing, and a million little tweaks that can turn it into the perfect game. The end result looks like it is going to be something of the quality level you'd expect from a much bigger company, like the ones who made the games Travis listed above.

    Sorry for the color blind people out there, but I wanted those two paragraphs to stand out. Tomorrow you'll get the full details on the Fansite event, and it should be full of cool things that should perk you up.

    Moving on, if you follow the forum thread you will see that many of the developers, including the President and CEO have been responding to people. I'm going to quote the meat of it here for those of you who don't want to dig, because it gives insight into why this announcement was made and how Runic thinks.

    From Max Schaefer, Runic Games CEO and one of the original Diablo creators:
    Hey guys,
    This wait will be worth it, believe me. The change the game has experienced even over the last couple weeks is incredible - and this slight delay is more the result of aiming higher than it is just trying to get done what we originally planned. Anyway, thanks for understanding and being patient with us. We know how hard it is to wait for new releases, and how frustrating it is to hear of a delay, and we appreciate your kind and gracious response! We are more motivated than ever to make TL2 as great as possible!

    Next we've got a couple of responses to the following angry gamer:
    NimrodAgain wrote: Oh, come on!
    You're just lazy arses and that's all. No, really, "didn't you guys say that you were planning to try to release this year?" That's all because of that Xbox shit which "pushed the release of the game". You want to keep the fans? Don't let any shit get in your way. It's been 2 months without any update and now you say that the release is pushed back for some time. You must be joking, really. And yes, I'd better buy and play Skyrim or Diablo 3 or any other game but not yours.
    Brian (Runic's Community Manager/Tech Support) writes:
    I know you're waiting for the release, but this delay is not about being lazy at all: we want to be really proud of Torchlight 2 when it releases, so that's what this is about.

    Travis (Runic Games President) writes:
    It ain't for lack of effort, I can assure you. There are lots of late nights going on here. The current state isn't something that we'd be happy to ship, or that would satisfy you.

    Making games isn't like making a widget - you estimate how long something will take, and if it doesn't turn out well, you have two options - ship with it, or fix it. If you ship with it, you ship a crummy game. If you fix it, there are only so many hours in the day - so you crunch, or delay, or do both. And we are doing both.

    *shrug*

    That's about the size of it. I'd much rather be done and shipped before Christmas so that I can go off and spend time with my family instead of working to get this in a state that we will be pleased with, but that's not in the cards. But lazy, we aren't.

    Next up we have a multi-quote response from Travis, so let's just tack that all up together:

    That being said, I will just be blunt: You have to decide how "polished" you want this game to be. If you launch AFTER Diablo III, your sales are going to plummet. I have no ill intent when I say that Torchlight II was going to hold A LOT of people over UNTIL Diablo III and your sales would have been HUGE.
    We don't have unrealistic expectations of what 'polished' means. We absolutely want to finish the game and get it into people's hands. We have a polished section of the game, whose quality we want to replicate across the rest of it - and we want to run a beta to make sure that things go smoothly. Trust me, we're not going to spend an extraordinary amount of time noodling around.

    Diablo 3 or not, the game we want to ship is the game we want to ship. We could release it early in fear, but making the right choice for the game matters more.
    We don't make our money all up front like box releases - we get our sales over the long haul. If Diablo 3 is going to kill us by coming out first, it's going to kill us by coming out 3 weeks later just as surely, so we are choosing not to schedule ourselves based on their theoretical release date.

    The important thing is making a game that is good enough that people will continue to buy it months after release. That's our goal.


    It's a good thing that you want to release a finished/polished product. But when I read statements like " you can't imagine how the game has changed in a few weeks..." I can't help but feel a bit distressed. I don't think the game should have undergone such changes so close to the release date (even though I have no idea what those changes are... I'm just extrapolating).

    This isn't weird at all - at least not for us. A great deal of change can be affected by polish. We didn't rearrange the story, or throw out a class, or redesign an area - but polish is a very powerful thing.

    On the one hand, I understand. On the other hand I don't. Keeping deadline is part of the "game" after all

    Deadlines are one of those things that, outside of a company, nobody remembers if the game is released, and is good. I think you'd be surprised to find how many of the best games that people remember most fondly were delayed. Most of them, I'd imagine - even if you didn't hear about it. Not every delay is public - and that's why many companies choose not to announce or even hint at release dates. They KNOW that to make a great product, they need the leeway to alter their schedule to do what is right.


    You'd think that would help end the angry rants, but there's more!
    xdanx wrote: Well, I guess I cancel my plans to get this games (like, forever) 'cause I really don't believe you need so much time for such a simple game, good luck not losing half of the sales :/

    I'm curious as to what you think an appropriate period of time would be? If the game includes 3x the content of Torchlight 1 ( At least - we run through about the same number of assets about 2/3rds of the way through the first act ), character customization, 4 new classes, many more items, many more monsters, many more skills, multiplayer, and new features like time of day, outdoor regions, as well as cinematics, and an orchestral score - how much longer should it, theoretically, take over the development of the first game? Factor in the fact that we'll be the first to admit that the first wasn't as well balanced and 'complete' as it should have been - and considering our team size is not significantly larger.

    Scheduling is really, really hard - especially when you're effectively predicting a timeline to solve problems you don't know the solutions to yet. I have honest interest in how much time you think is required, and why. The previous game took 11 months to create, and we nearly killed ourselves doing it. Given the scope change from the first to the second, what would you consider a reasonable schedule? ( Ideally one in which you can sleep, have a vacation every once in a while, and spend time doing enjoyable stuff with your family )

    I'll be straight with you. I care WAY more about the quality of the game, and what people think of it, than about how many copies it sells. I have never been motivated by money, and am never likely to be. My standards for success are to make something we are proud of, and to sell sufficient copies to survive and do something else that we want to do and that people hopefully want to play. That's pretty much it.


    And more!
    JacerX wrote: I really respect you guys, and really do hope this game sells well (you have my support either way)...but the fact of the matter is, if you guys release after D3, how do you expect to sell enough copies to survive?
    Because I think there's room for more than one ARPG in the world. Because we do enough things differently from Diablo to justify our existence. And because we cost 1/3rd of the price to buy and WAAAAAAY less than 1/3rd of the cost to develop. A financial 'success' for us can be a LOT smaller than a 'success' for Diablo.

    There are loads of games in a load of genres, but generally, very few ARPGs. I think(hope) we'll be OK. What can you do? Try your best, try not to do stupid things, and what will be will be.


    That's it for now, but hopefully this will help you all to understand the reason for the delay. Now keep a watch out, as we're less than a day away from all the cool fansite event coverage going live!

    *********

    Great news everyone! That is to say, it's great news to ME that I didn't have to break the bad news for you tomorrow! I am of course referring to the notice that when up on the official Torchlight 2 website and forums today. Here's the main quote for you, from the mouth (fingers) of Runic Games President Travis Baldree:


    "So... where is Torchlight 2? Didn't you guys say that you were planning to try to release this year?"

    Well, yeah. We did - and we made a good run at that. We've come to the realization, however, that getting a game of this scope up to the quality and polish level we want to achieve is going to take a little longer; especially since we want to run a small beta before release to ensure that our launch is smooth.

    The first Torchlight was released in record time, but it had plenty of issues that a little more development could have resolved. We didn't have the resources at the time to give Torchlight that treatment. Right at this moment though, we do have those resources for the sequel, and we feel strongly that we should apply them to make this the best game we can make and hopefully one that you'll enjoy and continue to want to play in the future. We've probably had 18 months of full development time on it so far - not excessively long yet, as far as that goes. The amount of time we need to take it the rest of the way is relatively small.

    We feel pretty safe in saying that if you enjoyed Torchlight at all, this sequel is superior in every respect. Right now our job is to ensure that the quality level is consistent all the way to the end.

    Besides, you're all playing Skyrim right now anyway, aren't you? Or Battlefield 3? Or Uncharted 3? Or Saints Row 3? Or Arkham City? Or Skyward Sword? Or Minecraft? Or Modern Warfare 3? Or Dark Souls? Or Assassin's Creed Revelations?

    Those are awesome games. When Torchlight 2 goes live, we want it to be awesome too - all the way through.

    Before I get into more of the finer details and personal responses from the forum thread, let me make a few important points for you:

    The reason that this announcement came today was so that you could all enjoy the extremely cool information and media we have coming to you when the NDA lifts in 11 hours. They didn't want to spoil all the awesome new stuff with the bad news, so they brought it out first, and I want to thank them again for that.

    You're going to get more details tomorrow, but the reason for this delay is that they just need more time. They are working their asses off to get this game to you at the level of quality they expect of themselves. As Travis says, Torchlight 1 wasn't all that it could be because they were running out of resources (things like time and money) and they had to release it. It shows, and not just because "it lacks multiplayer." Everyone who visited Runic for the Fansite Event agreed that the game wasn't going to make it out this year because it's just not finished being polished yet. Polish means things like bug testing, balancing, and a million little tweaks that can turn it into the perfect game. The end result looks like it is going to be something of the quality level you'd expect from a much bigger company, like the ones who made the games Travis listed above.

    Sorry for the color blind people out there, but I wanted those two paragraphs to stand out. Tomorrow you'll get the full details on the Fansite event, and it should be full of cool things that should perk you up.

    Moving on, if you follow the forum thread you will see that many of the developers, including the President and CEO have been responding to people. I'm going to quote the meat of it here for those of you who don't want to dig, because it gives insight into why this announcement was made and how Runic thinks.

    From Max Schaefer, Runic Games CEO and one of the original Diablo creators:
    Hey guys,
    This wait will be worth it, believe me. The change the game has experienced even over the last couple weeks is incredible - and this slight delay is more the result of aiming higher than it is just trying to get done what we originally planned. Anyway, thanks for understanding and being patient with us. We know how hard it is to wait for new releases, and how frustrating it is to hear of a delay, and we appreciate your kind and gracious response! We are more motivated than ever to make TL2 as great as possible!

    Next we've got a couple of responses to the following angry gamer:
    NimrodAgain wrote: Oh, come on!
    You're just lazy arses and that's all. No, really, "didn't you guys say that you were planning to try to release this year?" That's all because of that Xbox shit which "pushed the release of the game". You want to keep the fans? Don't let any shit get in your way. It's been 2 months without any update and now you say that the release is pushed back for some time. You must be joking, really. And yes, I'd better buy and play Skyrim or Diablo 3 or any other game but not yours.
    Brian (Runic's Community Manager/Tech Support) writes:
    I know you're waiting for the release, but this delay is not about being lazy at all: we want to be really proud of Torchlight 2 when it releases, so that's what this is about.

    Travis (Runic Games President) writes:
    It ain't for lack of effort, I can assure you. There are lots of late nights going on here. The current state isn't something that we'd be happy to ship, or that would satisfy you.

    Making games isn't like making a widget - you estimate how long something will take, and if it doesn't turn out well, you have two options - ship with it, or fix it. If you ship with it, you ship a crummy game. If you fix it, there are only so many hours in the day - so you crunch, or delay, or do both. And we are doing both.

    *shrug*

    That's about the size of it. I'd much rather be done and shipped before Christmas so that I can go off and spend time with my family instead of working to get this in a state that we will be pleased with, but that's not in the cards. But lazy, we aren't.

    Next up we have a multi-quote response from Travis, so let's just tack that all up together:

    That being said, I will just be blunt: You have to decide how "polished" you want this game to be. If you launch AFTER Diablo III, your sales are going to plummet. I have no ill intent when I say that Torchlight II was going to hold A LOT of people over UNTIL Diablo III and your sales would have been HUGE.
    We don't have unrealistic expectations of what 'polished' means. We absolutely want to finish the game and get it into people's hands. We have a polished section of the game, whose quality we want to replicate across the rest of it - and we want to run a beta to make sure that things go smoothly. Trust me, we're not going to spend an extraordinary amount of time noodling around.

    Diablo 3 or not, the game we want to ship is the game we want to ship. We could release it early in fear, but making the right choice for the game matters more.
    We don't make our money all up front like box releases - we get our sales over the long haul. If Diablo 3 is going to kill us by coming out first, it's going to kill us by coming out 3 weeks later just as surely, so we are choosing not to schedule ourselves based on their theoretical release date.

    The important thing is making a game that is good enough that people will continue to buy it months after release. That's our goal.


    It's a good thing that you want to release a finished/polished product. But when I read statements like " you can't imagine how the game has changed in a few weeks..." I can't help but feel a bit distressed. I don't think the game should have undergone such changes so close to the release date (even though I have no idea what those changes are... I'm just extrapolating).

    This isn't weird at all - at least not for us. A great deal of change can be affected by polish. We didn't rearrange the story, or throw out a class, or redesign an area - but polish is a very powerful thing.

    On the one hand, I understand. On the other hand I don't. Keeping deadline is part of the "game" after all

    Deadlines are one of those things that, outside of a company, nobody remembers if the game is released, and is good. I think you'd be surprised to find how many of the best games that people remember most fondly were delayed. Most of them, I'd imagine - even if you didn't hear about it. Not every delay is public - and that's why many companies choose not to announce or even hint at release dates. They KNOW that to make a great product, they need the leeway to alter their schedule to do what is right.


    You'd think that would help end the angry rants, but there's more!
    xdanx wrote: Well, I guess I cancel my plans to get this games (like, forever) 'cause I really don't believe you need so much time for such a simple game, good luck not losing half of the sales :/

    I'm curious as to what you think an appropriate period of time would be? If the game includes 3x the content of Torchlight 1 ( At least - we run through about the same number of assets about 2/3rds of the way through the first act ), character customization, 4 new classes, many more items, many more monsters, many more skills, multiplayer, and new features like time of day, outdoor regions, as well as cinematics, and an orchestral score - how much longer should it, theoretically, take over the development of the first game? Factor in the fact that we'll be the first to admit that the first wasn't as well balanced and 'complete' as it should have been - and considering our team size is not significantly larger.

    Scheduling is really, really hard - especially when you're effectively predicting a timeline to solve problems you don't know the solutions to yet. I have honest interest in how much time you think is required, and why. The previous game took 11 months to create, and we nearly killed ourselves doing it. Given the scope change from the first to the second, what would you consider a reasonable schedule? ( Ideally one in which you can sleep, have a vacation every once in a while, and spend time doing enjoyable stuff with your family )

    I'll be straight with you. I care WAY more about the quality of the game, and what people think of it, than about how many copies it sells. I have never been motivated by money, and am never likely to be. My standards for success are to make something we are proud of, and to sell sufficient copies to survive and do something else that we want to do and that people hopefully want to play. That's pretty much it.


    And more!
    JacerX wrote: I really respect you guys, and really do hope this game sells well (you have my support either way)...but the fact of the matter is, if you guys release after D3, how do you expect to sell enough copies to survive?
    Because I think there's room for more than one ARPG in the world. Because we do enough things differently from Diablo to justify our existence. And because we cost 1/3rd of the price to buy and WAAAAAAY less than 1/3rd of the cost to develop. A financial 'success' for us can be a LOT smaller than a 'success' for Diablo.

    There are loads of games in a load of genres, but generally, very few ARPGs. I think(hope) we'll be OK. What can you do? Try your best, try not to do stupid things, and what will be will be.


    That's it for now, but hopefully this will help you all to understand the reason for the delay. Now keep a watch out, as we're less than a day away from all the cool fansite event coverage going live!

  2. #2
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    Re: Torchlight 2 Delayed Until Next Year

    Webb, awesome post!!!! (and awesome work on the forums today man)

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    It's too bad they won't be able to release this year. On the other hand it gives atleast me time to clear a lot of other games in my backlog to get more time with TL2 when it comes!

    And as Travis stated there are a lot of big titles out there right now so the risk of this game not getting the attention it deserves if released now is quite big.

    Personally I' rather have a late but polished game rather than a game that is released for the sake of keeping a releasedate.

    I know it's frustrating when you wait for something and it gets delayed.
    Having worked as a professional developer for over a year now I am more in the know how of things like these It slightly pisses me off to see angry accusations of lazy devs at Runic. I know they care about their software and they have proven it. Having spent hours of overtime myself to get a software out on the planned release only to see it fail or beeing released accompanied by a release-note that contains a way to big list of known issues it's a slight relief that Runic delays the game to polish it up and release it at a later time.

    Less issues will make me able to enjoy the game all more when it's here!



    Good sumarization of dev-answers from the thread Webbstre. It was quite big already when i looked at it so reading through a big thread is quite a time-consumer only to find bits and pieces that are actually intresting and useful.
    Last edited by Trappski; 11-18-2011 at 02:22 AM.

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    Re: Torchlight 2 Delayed Until Next Year

    Okay, this is my take on the whole thing. It's cool that Runic wants to put out a far superior sequel to TL, I have no problems with that. However, this is like the 2nd or 3rd time that Runic has pushed TL2 back. If anyone was wandering the Diablo 3 forums at all, they know the general angst that gamers are displaying towards Blizzard for doing this very same thing with Diablo 3 (support for and against the push backs in regard to D3 have been about even). Then when Blizz announced the whole no single player, no mods, play it our way or no way for D3.....ppl were PO'D.

    Now when a company starts pushing back titles like this, it makes their fans have the "Diablo 3 reaction": what the hell are they doing to the game that it needs to be pushed back again. Blizz used all the same arguments that Runic gives, we want to make the game better, produce a more finished product. Then Blizz goes and mucks it up. Another company putting out a similar ARPG stalling things a bit (even for legit reasons) makes fans nervous. I'm also worried that Diablo 3 will completely overshadow TL2 if it gets released first (which, thankfully is NOT likely, its Blizz we're talkin about for crying out loud).

    I just hope that this doesn't hurt the Torchlight franchise or Runic in the end. I wish there were more indie companies like Runic out there that we could turn to for goods games like this, instead of the over-commercialized (and over-rated) juggernaught that Blizzard/Activision has become.

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    Re: Torchlight 2 Delayed Until Next Year

    It's really just the time it takes to finish it. It's hard to estimate that. It's not like they're revamping entire systems or adding huge new features, they're just trying to finish and polish everything they have.

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    Re: Torchlight 2 Delayed Until Next Year

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramli View Post
    Now when a company starts pushing back titles like this, it makes their fans have the "Diablo 3 reaction": what the hell are they doing to the game that it needs to be pushed back again.
    It's a valid concern indeed but as Webbstre pointed out. Estimates are extremely hard to nail. There is almost always something that takes more time than expected and issues will arise during development time.

    Of course it makes the company look bad for developing assumingly buggy software. And not releasing on time and whatnot.

    I however will gladly take a delayed but less bug-prone software than a on-time release with a day one patch to patch up only the critical issues.

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    Re: Torchlight 2 Delayed Until Next Year

    Well, like I said, I'm glad they are taking the time to put out a polished product. This is something that Blizzard fails to do over and over again, and they have a lot more money and play testers than Runic. I got tired of having to deal with 2-3 days of patch downloads for WoW whenever new content went live. Estimates are really hard to go by, but I also hope the delay for TL2 won't be too long. No matter how good it is, if Diablo 3 launches first, TL2 is going to be overshadowed.

    Heck, Torchlight didn't even make it into my local stores for almost 3 months after it was released because of other "big titles" coming out at the same time. Blizzard's games (no matter how broken they may be sometimes) get all the facetime in stores. The local stores here even put a few other titles on the back burner just becaue Cataclysm hit (and failed miserably with most WoW fans).

    I don't want Runic to lose ground to Blizzard, we NEED more companies like Runic. Companies that aren't so blinded by their own brightness and that do not [U]refuse[U] to have open source content, just because they might lose a few bucks. The mod community spawned by Fate/Torchlight is just awesome. Look at the stuff that came out of China for example: that Lich King in TL demo vid & the Chinese Mausoleum. Not to mention all the talented modders who post stuff here It's because of companies like Runic that stuff like that has been made possible.

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    Re: Torchlight 2 Delayed Until Next Year

    I think Runic's going to win out on the staying power though. Blizzard's only option is to release patches and expansions to keep their games going. Even though Diablo 2 is still popular years and years later, you've gotta admit the actual number of people playing has shrunk. Runic releases the modding tools, and hopefully player-run server utilities later on, and then the community only grows from there. When there are a ton of mods and great servers, it becomes even more of a selling point when the game goes on sale a year later on Steam. Blizzard's games don't get cheaper, and only grow when they release more content, so it gets more expensive for the devs and the players. So.... I think Runic's on the right track. Initial sales might drop because of D3, but in the long run they'll probably be better off.

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    Re: Torchlight 2 Delayed Until Next Year

    Ramli, I understand how you feel, and i'm totally with you, I just think maybe we shouldn't praise mods that involve copyright infringment hehe

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