What Delay? Torchlight II Still Aiming For Summer

By Nathan Grayson on July 20th, 2012 at 9:00 am.

Oops, I see a minor clipping issue. SEVENTY TWO MORE MONTHS OF POLISH.

If the Internet serves as a representative sample (and I don’t see why it shouldn’t), the first thought on the minds of most humans – the goal that sustains our insatiable will to live – isn’t love, sex, eating, fighting, curiosity, or figuring out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. It’s Torchlight II‘s release date. When word got out that the vibrant hack ‘n’ slash was facing an uphill battle to completion, chaos ensued. The Internet collectively wept, and hope festered into bitter sorrow. All of which is, in retrospect, pretty silly, because everything’s probably going to be a-okay.

Speaking with Joystiq, Runic president Travis Baldree explained that – in spite of a billowing to-do list – Torchlight II’s still got a summer release date in its sights. He (briefly) explained:

“The end of summer is September 25th or something like that, right? We’re still trying to get it done for summer. It’s a big game and we’ve still got some polish to go.”

So obviously, that leaves room for more slippage, but I’m not counting Runic out yet. Clearly, though, quality’s more important than timeliness, and honestly, carving out a little breathing room away from Diablo III’s sulfur-soaked aromas certainly can’t hurt.

There is, however, reason for more WIDESPREAD PANIC. This year’s fall equinox, after all, is on September 22nd. Baldree’s made a grave miscalculation, and if Torchlight II comes out on the 23rd, 24th, or 25th, it’ll miss summer by eons. In other news, I’ve put together an infallible mathematical equation that figures out – in all situations – precisely how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, but it isn’t helping at all.

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70 Comments »

  1. Demon Beaver says:

    Can we have the equation please?

  2. Chris D says:

    September 25th? As in the day people can start playing Guildwars 2? Not sure I’d want to be aiming for release just about then.

    Edit: Oh, wait thats August, I’m an idiot. Carry on. Actually leaving things a month to get over the initial excitement is probably not a bad idea.

  3. Gnoupi says:

    Torchlight 2 has big shoes to fill. Because it doesn’t only come as “the sequel to Torchlight”.
    It is also expected now to be “the Action-RPG for people disappointed by Diablo 3″.

    And in such context, you’d better make sure that you deliver with the right amount of polish, on release. Because in the end, people don’t care about the delay it took, once it’s released. They care (and reviews care) about the state in which it’s released.

    If you start falling into the walls, or have disappearing inventory (like there was at some point in the beta) on release, you can be sure people will just dismiss it in a short time.

    So yeah, please, Runic Games, take your time. Doesn’t matter if it’s not in summer.

    • Toxic Tiger says:

      Couldn’t agree more. What with the Steam sale on as well, it’s not as if people won’t have anything to play in the mean time.

    • Metonymy says:

      I would caution everyone to understand, the multiplayer experience is going to be equivalent to open battle.net, where every other person is using hacked items. It looks like there will be some verification to insure that characters entering your game are logically possible without cheating, but I wouldn’t expect miracles. You have to play with friends if you want a cheat-free experience. There are already respec mods in progress, and they can be used without flagging the save file as cheating, so that’s another guaranteed occurrence.

      This retains the TL flavor of non-leeching special skills, and powerful normal attacks. Manage your expectations, is the key phrase here, it’s not the second coming of diablo2. The unique items have more individuality now, but skills points still have a lot of frontloaded power, so most skill plans will have a similar feel. Stats are how you really differentiate your build.

      • Shralla says:

        Did you even read the original article about the delay? They’re practically reworking the whole active skill system to give more incentive into leveling your skills, as well as making them more useful.

      • skalpadda says:

        “You have to play with friends if you want a cheat-free experience.”

        Oh yes, the horrible prospect of playing a small scale co-op game with friends. I hope you didn’t mean it that way, but it came across as if somehow playing with friends is worse than random strangers.

        • suibhne says:

          No, it really didn’t. All he’s saying is that Torchlight 2 won’t somehow solve the basic multiplayer problem of Diablo 3 – that playing with non-friends can be a pretty ragged experience.

      • Tams80 says:

        I think it’s better that way. If you join an online community *cough* RPS *cough* you don’t have to limit yourself to just friends. If Runic implement a ban list that can be applied, then it would make running such communities easier.

      • Fumarole says:

        the multiplayer experience is going to be equivalent to open battle.net

        Pretty much contradicts:

        it’s not the second coming of diablo2.

    • pakoito says:

      >It is also expected now to be “the Action-RPG for people disappointed by Diablo 3″.

      The real ARPG for diehard Diablo fans is Path of Exile. TL2 is somewhere in-between, and I love it for that, but PoE has better endgame and build system: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bE1t9oCA9MQ

      • UncleLou says:

        PoE is good for theorycrafting and building characters, but it is unfortunately not a lot of fun to actually play so far. In my humble opinion, of course. I’ve been through the so far available content 2,5 times with one character, and tried all other classes and several builds. Combat feels a little sedate and anemic, and I always ended up with 1 or 2 skills at best that I use 95% of the time. It also needs more gearslots, there aren’t seperate slots for shoulders and trousers. It’s all just part of one piece of body armour.

        It’ll be great for those who played D2 for years just to come up with crazy builds, but the less dedicated crowd that wants to have visceral pick up and play fun might be disappointed with it.

      • Freud says:

        PoE was very slow and wooden when I tried it. Combat wasn’t very fun at all.

        Diablo 3 and the original Torchlight blows it out of the water in that area and since you spend pretty much all the time fighting in these games, it’s hard to see PoE as a serious competitor.

        Grim Dawns fighting looks to be coming along quite nicely, but that is still at least a year away from release.

    • Lemming says:

      Unless Torchlight 2 has had features removed since the beta, it’s already better than D3. So no worries there.

      • mr.ioes says:

        I agree. I can’t possibly imagine how Torchlight 2 could dissappoint me. The beta was great. Cool innovative features. Loothunt felt great (contrary to D3 Beta, but apparently I was the only one without rose tinted glasses back then (I was a hipster!)).

        I don’t expect as much replayability as D2 had, but I expect hell-of-a-great time playing TL2 for as long as it keeps me entertained.

        • subedii says:

          Yeah the hipster argument’s one. Personally I was called a “tin foil hat” wearing idiot when I dared, had the sheer nerve, to suggest that I didn’t believe Blizzard when they said that the RMAH would have “zero effect” on the drop rates of in-game items. Any more than I believed them when they said they didn’t believe the RMAH would make money, oh goodness no, we might even lose money on it.

          The existence of something like the RMAH is predicated on drop rates allowing it to exist. I don’t see how that’s a controversional viewpoint to hold even if you disagree with it, and I don’t necessarily blame Blizzard for that, but the very idea apparently makes you a “conspiracy theorist”.

          Then someone else ranted at me about how Blizzard had done the right thing and that the lack of an in-game RMAH would wreck Torchlight 2 as a game because it would destroy the “economy”, before it was pointed out to them the Torchlight 2 doesn’t have an MMO style economy in that way.

      • Gnoupi says:

        It was on the base gameplay in my opinion as well. But there were bugs remaining to iron out. Typically, the network engine wasn’t particularly good at handling connections with a low bandwidth, during the beta.

        It was using a lot of bandwidth, and desynching a lot if you had a moment with too much happening on screen. Then it wouldn’t catch up until every packet would be delivered. I believe they fixed that since, but that’s in the examples of things that would ruin the experience for a lot of people.

    • Xerian says:

      Diablo got some good reviews, didnt it? Did you see the state in which it was released? – Fanboys dont care, they’ll give great reviews no matter just how bad it is, like D3. But yeah, most of us will indeed care about the polish and such of Torchlight 2, but thats most likely because its gonna be a good, or even *great* game.

      • Lycan says:

        I think polish has a direct effect on attracting and keeping long-term fans for the game and franchise. I love Runic and am excited by Torchlight 2, but it’s time to stop planning around its release, so to speak. I’m going back to Skyrim – maybe time to check out some mods – and if/when I go off Skyrim again, I picked up Batman:Arkham City in the Steam sale…

        Even if Torchlight 2′s release date slips past “summer”, there might be Borderlands 2 by then :P

        “A wimoweh, a wimoweh…”

        • remote says:

          Yeah, I’m thinking I’d rather they put all the time they need into polishing it, even if it isn’t out until more like October. Seems like a good fit for a fall game. Besides, Dark Souls hits Steam on the 24th this month and that’s gonna dominate my free time all over again.

  4. Mr. Mister says:

    I vote for curiosity. Don’t even know what Torchlight 2 is suppoused to be.

  5. Sarigs says:

    More importantly what the devil is a Tootsie Pop?!

    • Revisor says:

      It’s the bane of children’s teeth created by an evil Nazi scientist during the WW2.

    • Funso Banjo says:

      Nathan is no doubt a Yank. Tootsie Pops are very much US things, and very popular.

    • Koozer says:

      It sounds suspiciously like a Chupa Chup.

    • InternetBatman says:

      It’s a lollypop (hard candy on a stick – I think they’re called biscuits in England) with a Tootsie roll (a type of chewy chocolate candy – also called biscuits) at the center, represented by an owl (I have a friend who has a pet owl named Biscuit).

      Biscuit.

      • wodin says:

        No a biscuit in the UK is a biscuit not a lolly. Things like Digestive and rich tea are biscuits..hob nobs are a biscuit. A biscuit is definitely not a boiled sweet on a stick, thats a lolly. Chubba Chups is a lolly, so where Kojaks many moons ago.

        • Torgen says:

          Kojaks, as in “named for the Telly Savalas TV police character, famous for his lollypops?”

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kojak

          In the early episodes of the series, Kojak is often seen smoking thin, brown More-brand cigarettes. Following the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on smoking, cigarette commercials were banned from American television in 1971, and trying to quit smoking became common in the 1970s… To cut down on his own habit, Kojak (and quite possibly Savalas himself) began using lollipops as a substitute. The lollipop made its debut in the Season 1 episode “Dark Sunday”, broadcast on December 12, 1973: Kojak lights a cigarette as he begins questioning a witness, but thinks better of it and sticks a lollipop (specifically, a Tootsie Pop) in his mouth instead. Later in the episode, Kevin Dobson’s character Crocker asks about the lollipop and Kojak replies, “I’m trying to bridge the generation gap.” Lollipops became a trademark of the character, but contrary to popular belief they were only a partial substitute for cigarettes and Kojak did not quit smoking.

    • Dare_Wreck says:

      How have none of my fellow Yanks posted the original iconic television commercial referenced by Nathan by now?

      There are all sorts of parodies of this around, too. As others above hinted at, it’s a lollipop (or sucker or sticky-pop, or whatever else you call a hard, round or circular-shaped candy on a stick) with a chocolate center. The gag is that no kid wants to lick it enough times to get to the gooey center without first biting into it, so no one knows how many licks it truly takes to get to the chocolate.

  6. Kaira- says:

    Well, I guess we have summer even next year, seeing how they didn’t specify the year.

  7. Uthred says:

    Summer ends at the end of September now, not the end of August? Even “Amercian Summer” generally ends early September does it not? Why not just say they arent going to hit their announced Summer release date? Cant imagine releasing at the end of a month a packed with major releases as September would help them either

  8. Lobotomist says:

    Either the game will be something unbelievably excellent. Or they totally dropped the ball.

    I have been gaming enthusiast for far to long not to learn that : long , longer , never ending development time – is never sign of something good. But sign of problems , or even worse – systems that dont work as intended and needs complete revamp.

    T2 beta was good. But not as good to grant the fact that game was set to release exactly 1 year ago. And is literally delayed more than one year now.

    • Ashen says:

      So what you’re saying that all the Valve and Blizzard games are terrible, yes? After all they take ages to make and are always delayed.

      Few developers can afford the luxury of actually polishing their games – most often it’s just a mad dash to the finish line. Runic is small enough (and the profits from TL1 apparently high enough) to do so. That’s hardly a bad thing.

      • Lobotomist says:

        Yes. Exactly what I am saying.

        Blizzard developed Diablo 3 with mindset of “release it when its done” , and “We will only release it when its perfect”.

        They began development in 2001 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diablo_III)

        Result of 12 years of development is game that you can breeze trough in 6 – 7 hours. And than forces you to repeat the same just with artificially ramped up toughness.

        “Like too little butter spread over too much bread”

        A game that would take 2-3 years development max. If they didnt make , trash and re make everything over and over again. Just to release it finally in sorry state. When they got the message “Its enough” from higher up.

        That is just one of examples.

        - So extra prolonged development times = we encountered problems

        As for Valve, I dont know what are you talking about ? If its HL3. Who can say if they are actually developing it.

        • Xardas Kane says:

          He’s talking about every game they ever made. Half-Life 2 is considered one of the best FPSs of all time, but guess what, it took 7 years to make.

          Your post is completely off. Look up who actually is in Runic, read that post where they explain what they are doing right now, and then tell me if there is absolutely any merit to what you are saying

          Pro-tip – not at all.

          • Lobotomist says:

            Sorry guys. Just talking from experience. From somebody who is following gaming from days of zx spectrum til today.

            Games being delayed for year + , could turn out to be better there for. But in most cases its always because problems.

            You mention Half Life 2. Was it delayed ? Or did they knew from a start it will take 7 years to develop.
            Its a big difference.

            When developer says that the game is launching latest March 2011 , and year later its unsure if its even launching September 2012. Thats what is categorized as delay. And in case of T2 , it had at least 4 other release dates mentioned by Travis. So it had several delays.

            So take from it whatever you want. You can always put on rose sunglasses.

            But history of gaming would show you many ruins that came with word “delayed for polish”

          • Lemming says:

            @Lobotomist, actually you’re half-right.

            Delays from a development company with a publisher – that could be seen as bad. Because publishers like to stick to ship dates, bugs be damned. A game has to be pretty fucked to get an extension in that scenario. Valve, Blizz (of old) and Runic are independent. So a delay on their end is by choice, and is usually a good sign.

            D3 is an aberration. they became Acti-Blizz in the meantime and have also completely changed their design ethos since then.

          • Xardas Kane says:

            Half-Life 2 was in fact delayed repeatedly. Delays can mean two things – development hell, which you are referring to, or the devs doing their best to deliver an amazing game. Runic has a lot of Blizz talent and is still working with their “When it’s done mentality”. They made the original in 18 months and want to show the world what they can do with more time and resources, I don’t see what’s wrong with that. Any development problems would have surfaced for sure, but that’s not the case here, not to mention the game has been in the making for less than 3 years – hardly long enough to be worrying. The only stupid thing they did was announcing a release date in the first place.

            @ Lemming Pretty much EVERY delay is by dev choice, whether it goes through a publisher or not is irrelevant to this discussion. EVERY delay of Duke Nukem Forever was by 3DRealms, was that a good sign? I’ll repeat again, just look at the game and its development, troubled dev cycles always surface. Always.

            EDIT: I hez friendz in Valve. And while they won’t say exactly what Valve is up to, I can tell you they are developing SOMETHING Half-Life-related. Not that it’s not blatantly obvious or anything, just throwing it out there :D

          • Lobotomist says:

            It remains to be seen. But all these delays are starting to smell fishy to me.

            Especially when you realize they could have make huge profit releasing game in the originally promised window , which was in peek of Dablo 3 anticipation. When D3 was still work in progress and no date was announced. People were so eager to play it , and T2 would perfectly scratch that itch.

            But they missed it. Even D3 managed to launch.

            And now they are even missing opportunity to launch before Gw2 release.

            They are constantly kicking them selfs in the groins.

            That could either mean that they are “the game artiste” , care nothing about money. But only the holy grail of that perfect game … Or they have some actual issues with the game, and simply can not launch.

            And I am to old to believe the first one.

          • Vorphalack says:

            > ”Or they have some actual issues with the game, and simply can not launch.”

            If that’s true then launching any earlier would have been an unprecedented disaster. I’ll happily wait until it’s done, thanks. Got Dota 2, i’m good for now.

          • RegisteredUser says:

            You and a couple of HL fans are alone with the “one of the best FPS” thought.

            The actual shooting is nowhere near as enjoyable(sound, feel, precision, impact, etc) as a a whole league of other games.

        • skalpadda says:

          I hope you realise that every difficulty level in a game is artificial. Game systems don’t grow on trees.

          • The white guar says:

            D-don’t they? Are you saying I buried all those game developpers in my garden for nothing? D:

          • jrodman says:

            Well at least that’s more tidy than some other options.

  9. PodX140 says:

    Honestly, I’ll chime in and say the hated argument here, but I do feel cheated. They had just announced the summer 2012 date, opened up for pre-orders, and had said a month after D3. I bought the game thinking I’ll be able to enjoy it with my brother over the summer when engineering isn’t 110% of my time, only to have wasted my money that could have been spent elsewhere, and later purchased TL2.

    I don’t want a refund, I don’t want the game to be rushed. I want developers to gain a goddamn proper understanding of development times and to announce dates accordingly, so that instead of constantly pushing back dates and creating drama/dissapointment, to simply say “We won’t have it done till December.”

    • skalpadda says:

      To be fair they never said a month after D3, they said that if it was done by then they’d wait for a month to get past the rush for that game. I can see how that’s a rather confusing way of putting it, but they haven’t actually set any release date apart from Summer 2012.

    • Vorphalack says:

      > ”I want developers to gain a goddamn proper understanding of development times and to announce dates accordingly”

      It is because they have a good understanding of game development that they did not release a date.

      > ”so that instead of constantly pushing back dates and creating drama/dissapointment”

      No dates were pushed back because none were ever given. This ”drama” is entirely fabricated by confused gamers.

      • Sensai says:

        “No dates were pushed back because none were ever given.”

        No, that’s not true. I mean, it’s true if you don’t look past the last few months, but previous that, Runic games has said ‘sometime in 2011′ (http://www.gameinformer.com/games/torchlight_ii/b/pc/archive/2011/06/08/e3-2011-hands-on-lives-up-to-expectations.aspx) and, slightly later than that, it’ll be out in 2011 ‘unless someone on the team dies.’ (http://www.strategyinformer.com/news/15082/torchlight-ii-out-this-year-unless-someone-dies)

        ….so, jeah. They weren’t specific dates with a month and a date, but they’ve certainly given us time-tables as to when they’d come out.

        Now, I’m not complaining that they’re taking forever, mind you. I just wanted you to know why you’re wrong on the point I quoted.

        • Vorphalack says:

          Technically right, but out of context. We were talking about specific dates (day/ month) since they started taking pre-orders, and people who seem to think they ever gave one out.

          • PodX140 says:

            But that IS a release date. A huge one, sure, but when they say released in 2011, they mean 2011. Aka: I will have it for 2012. And yet here we are…

            They HAVE given out dates, and they have missed them, And it looks like they’re on track to miss a third? fourth? one now yet again.

            As I said, I don’t want it rushed, but I don’t want to be fed false hope/information either. I don’t invest funds in something that I can’t access for another 6 months, for instance I’d be mad to purchase a washing machine despite living with my parents, even if I know I will want one later. I don’t want to tie up my (very limited) cash in games I can’t play, rather than just buying said games later.

  10. Foosnark says:

    September 25 is way too close to the Borderlands 2 release date.

    I think I’m going to have to write off October.

  11. andyhavens says:

    If they take the original Torchlight and put a sticker on it that says “2,” it’ll be a better game than Diablo III.

    Such disappointing mediocrity on that game. Meh.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I’m assuming that second sentence refers to Torchlight.

      I’ve played/got the original Torchlight. It doesn’t come remotely close to the detailed animations of player and monsters in D3.
      That some other aspects of D3 might be upsetting is possible, but the core combat / smashing / blood-gore-exploding of things seems vastly superior in D3, if nothing else.
      Of course I can’t know how it actually plays, since they had to stick idiot DRM onto it.

  12. Demiath says:

    Personally, I don’t know about this whole summer thing. The way I see it, Winter Is Coming…

  13. MythArcana says:

    Take your time, add more features, polish and rinse and let’s have a FALL release instead. It’s too damned hot to sit next to a quad core oven anyway. :)

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