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Torchlight studio Runic shut down, Gigantic devs also almost closed

The owners of Torchlight developers Runic Games, the Chinese free-to-play-focused publisher Perfect World Entertainment, confirmed today that it has shut down Runic’s Seattle studio. Seeing as that’s Runic’s only studio, er, that’s them basically gone – though their games will live on. This comes barely one month after Runic released Hob.

Perfect World have also laid off most the team at Motiga, the studio behind Gigantic – which only launched in July. Perfect World say these are unconnected but sheesh, not a good week to be owned by Perfect World.”I’m sorry to say that today will be Runic’s last day open,” studio head Marsh Lefler said in a statement on their site. “For those that love the Torchlight series, there will be some news coming. And for all our fans, our community and multiplayer services will keep running even after the studio’s lights go off.”

As for Motiga, they’re not entirely closed but most people have been laid off. Perfect World said in a statement to Kotaku that “A core team of developers remains at Motiga, who will work with us to support the game and its players, including moving full steam ahead with the upcoming November update and future content.”

That statement also says that the decision to close Runic was “part of the company’s continued strategy to focus on online games as a service.” Ah, that old chestnut.

Runic’s swansong, Hob, was a plain old singleplayer game one our John quite liked parts of – though others, not so much. Our John said in his Hob review:

“Hob is like a beautiful example of how to make a third-person action game. Like a filmmaker who has learned every detail of cinematography, direction, lighting and set dressing, but never thought to care about the script. In that, I found it impossible to escape the sense of lack that pervades its beauty, both in an overall motivation (beyond ‘because it’s there’), and in the ‘why?’ of everything you do. It’s fun to play, it’s often extremely clever, but – well – it lacks at the same time too.”

Best of luck to everyone affected by these layoffs and closures.

Runic co-founder Travis Baldree, who left Runic in 2014 with fellow co-founder Erich Schaefer to start a new studio and make Rebel Galaxy, has remembered the studio with a good blast of trivia on Twitter. My favourites:

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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