What We Know So Far About Torchlight Frontiers
The Torchlight franchise is like the non-gothic Diablo with a few key differences in mechanics that make it completely unique. Now, the innovative action RPG is getting a current-gen installment: Torchlight Frontiers.
What is Torchlight Frontiers?
Torchlight Frontiers is slated to be the newest entry to the massively successful Torchlight series. Based on past games, players can expect that this newest installment is going to offer the same top-down hack-and-slash RPG fun and maximum freedom in character customization in a cartoony world.
For the uninitiated, Torchlight and its sequel, Torchlight II, are action-RPGs set in a world abound with Ember, a mineral that can imbue items, people, and even monsters with magical monster. However, what’s initially not known about Ember is that they also have corrupting properties. Thus, it’s up to the players, or rather, adventurers to ensure that these precious yet potentially dangerous minerals never fall into the wrong hands.
Despite the thin lore, Torchlight I and II got its players coming back for more because of its randomized elements and supreme character customization. The former ensures that no two adventures are the same, while the latter gives players the freedom to build their character however they see fit.
What will make this game different?
Unlike its predecessors, Torchlight Frontiers is going to be a shared world. So rather than being instance-based, players will be seeing their peers within the game world in real time.
Here’s what Echtra Games has to say on their website:
“Torchlight Frontiers combines the heart of the award-winning Torchlight series with the ability to vanquish a rising evil once more through a shared, persistent & dynamically generated world. Team up with friends & other players, or venture alone – the choice is yours!”
This is without a doubt a good move, as letting players see and interact with others in real-time in an ever-present world will make the game look and feel more alive.
What else do we know?
Other than what’s already mentioned, the game is still in its early stages of development. Even the payment model is unknown. Perfect World Entertainment, Torchlight Frontier’s publisher, publishes a lot of free-to-play games, but Torchlight 1 and 2 have been buy-to-play exceptions. Will Torchlight Frontiers follow its predecessor’s path, or will it adopt a pay-for-convenience, pay-for-convenience, or God forbid, pay-to-win model? We can only wait until 2019 to find out for sure.
What’s known, however, is that the fact that the game even got made is a miracle in itself, as Runic Games, the studio responsible for the first two Torchlight games, was closed down by Perfect World Entertainment nine months ago. But thanks to its surviving members, including their co-founder Max Schaefer, as well as other former Torchlight devs at their new studio, Echtra Games, the game is going to see the light of day. The devs’ new setup is weird, and so is the fact that the publisher that closed Torchlight’s studio is now giving the green light on the third installment, but hey, what matters is that a new Torchlight is on its way.
With MMORPGs, especially those with shared and persistent worlds on a decline, Torchlight Frontiers is a bright beacon of hope. That’s true not only for the genre, but also for the franchise. Maybe this will finally be Torchlight’s big break.