Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Q&A with Torchlight's Wonder Russell

Recently, I had an opportunity to ask Wonder Russell, the Minister of Culture at Runic Games, about Torchlight.  This is actually the first of 3 interviews with folks at Runic, thanks Wonder!  If you are not familiar with Torchlight, be sure to check out this video review of the game.  Check back tomorrow for the next interview.

Werit:  Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Wonder, I’m a chick in the gaming industry which reminds me of a quote from my Alaska days: “the odds are good, but the goods are odd.” Except for Runic Games, that is! ;)

Werit:  What sets Torchlight apart from other Action RPG's, like Diablo II?

Torchlight has a very different look and feel, the art style is entirely different and very much our own thing. We also have an Enchanter, pets, fishing, save anywhere, an item inventory that does NOT use the Tetris style, and lots of little details like those that to us, make gameplaying more fun!

Werit:  The infinite dungeon sounds interesting, how does it work?

It goes on and on, unending! Well it’s infinite in the sense that  it will never stop randomly generating tilesets – muahahahaha. We included it for more playability once you finish the storyline quest but still want to gain fame and essentially finish the game at its level cap, which is 100.

Werit:  Torchlight is mod-able by the players.  How much can a player add to the game?  Is it just text files or can they also add art?

They can add literally anything they can think of. Ogre is a graphics engine, and supports 3DMax so they can add their own artwork, and we are providing an incredible amount of raw files. The tools for the mods are literally the tools we wrote to make the game. Nothing is dumbed down, you get it all. Check out these forum posts to stay tuned:


Werit:  Are there any DLC/Expansion plans for Torchlight before the MMO?

It’s possible we’ll release some content that is also going into the MMO, but nothing is planned so far. There will be gobs of new content from modders, though.

Werit:  Will players be able to use anything from the single player game in the MMO?

Nope, it will be an entirely different game, using an entirely different model.

Werit:  Which one of the classes is your favorite and why?

My favorite is the Alchemist for his steampunk aesthetic. Seattle seems to have a real sweet spot for steampunk and I’m a big fan, personally.

Werit:  Fishing is a surprising feature.  What kind of stuff can you catch?

 All kinds of fish that have transformational properties or  buffs for you and/or your pet!

Werit:  What kind of benefits and perks can your retired character give?  Can they ever come out of retirement?

Your character cannot come out of retirement, but at retirement they place special enchantments on a weapon which can be bestowed onto a new character, your “descendant.” It also decreases the requirements for wielding that weapon, so you’ll be able to use it sooner in your gameplay!