Echtra washes its hands of Torchlight III as the Cursed Captain arrives

    
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What was once a promising next generation of Torchlight in the MMORPG space ended up fizzling so hard that even its developer is getting out of the game. That’s right: Echtra Games announced this week that it’s pulling out of Torchlight III entirely, handing off the development and handling of the multiplayer ARPG to Perfect World. The news isn’t a total shock, since we’d already covered the Zynga acquisition of the studio and speculated on whether Torchlight III would remain with PWE – and that turns out to be exactly what’s going on.

“This is also a sad message because it marks the end of Echtra Games’ work on Torchlight III,” Max Schaefer wrote. “As you may have heard in the news, we were acquired by Zynga back on March 2nd. As a result of this transition, we are moving on to new (and exciting) things, and we will be passing the baton back to our partners at Perfect World.”

This game-changing news came at the same time that Torchlight III dropped its Cursed Captain update. This month’s patch adds the titular class, which has “summoning skills, giant cannons salvaged from ships to blast enemies in the way, and a salty, ghostly personality.” Players also have new pets, contracts, housing items, and cosmetics to collect. Echtra, on the way out the door, said that the patch improved performance enough that “this puts Torchlight III in a good place.”

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cursedseishi

A bit of an irony here, and not an entirely enjoyable one at that.

Torchlight was always meant to be an MMO, but they went the ‘Copernicus’ route and started with a single player title to feel things out–aka Torchlight 1. And every time after? They tried to do an MMO, couldn’t and in some form or shape washed their hands of the IP/title before coming back and repeating things. Torchlight MMO started to get planned out, then thrown away for Torchlight 2. Studio fell apart, everyone left… then came back as Echtra for Torchlight MMO, which got shelved, the summarily torn apart and hastily stitched back together to serve as Torchlight 3…

Which. Well, that’s also Magic: Legends, but that’s not here nor there.

Honestly? My take is that they’re just sick of the game. They spent more than a decade planning on making an MMO, nearly an entire decade working or kicking that can around in some fashion, and when it finally came time to do the MMO? They couldn’t get any of it to work. Ten+ years of dealing with a game and IP you’re only really making just to make an eventual MMO, and yet when you do get to do it it all just… fails.

I’d want to dump that off too. And unfortunately, they’ve left Torchlight 3 to die. It wasn’t the saving grace of the first two games, but the mod support was a major reason for their longevity and replayability for 1 and 2. It allowed the community to fix issues, add new items and monsters, and even create new classes for the games. And the one thing 3 could have used more than anything was proper support for that.
More than a new class or update or anything, mod support could have really turned things around. But the team has been against mod support for the title, and when they weren’t it’s been noncommital and ignored. And if they didn’t add in Mod support with this patch?

Perfect World more than likely isn’t going to. Which, yeah… that’s a major potential death knell.

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McGuffn

Lets wash our hands and say goodbye to all of that.

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Jeremy Barnes

We built this game
We built this game on crap and poop

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Greaterdivinity

This is a pretty disappointing conclusion to a pretty disappointing title. I can’t blame the team entirely, honestly the more I think about it the more they were likely hamstrung by the Torchlight IP not gelling with what they wanted to make. This was kinda expected, and I don’t expect PWE to field anyone to keep working on the game, so it ends with the same kind of whimper it launched with.

Haven’t played too much of the new character but it sure as heck doesn’t seem like a summoner, seems to have about as many summons as my sharpshooter had. Other abilities are cool and I dig the concept of enemies dropping dabloons that are used as your primary resource but it’s pretty rough/not great. You have to basically run over coins to pick them up, they VERY SLOWLY get sucked in towards players but it basically is constantly making you run around and not do damage just so you can pick up the coins.

I’m just hoping they finally fixed the endgame mapping issue, because I still periodically run into maps that simply cannot be completed because there are no more enemies/destructible stuff to destroy to get the final drops.

As for Echtra, good luck to them at Zynga. I hope they get the support and budget they need to make something great.

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Dug From The Earth

Got the game on mega sale for like 8 bucks. Played it for maybe 10 hours, no incentive to go back and play more. Its just polished turd.

Even the new pirate class they added, is just a thematically visually different version of the archer class. At a certain point this game started with some interesting concepts, and then completely fell on its face and decided to not even get up, but rather to just continue on the ground.

WayTooLateTV
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WayTooLateTV

WOW. I’m… honestly kinda glad I didn’t jump on that Torchlight III sale a while back, because… it appears to be a right flaming dumpster fire of a mess, eh? We’ll see what *looks at notes* oh. Perfect World. Can do. With it.

*Writes it off completely*

WayTooLateTV
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WayTooLateTV

Wait… I may be getting PWE mixed up with Daybreak. It’s very, very late and I’m not nearly as caffeinated as I should be.

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Crowe

PWE is marginally more respectable than Daybreak. But you shouldn’t expect anything out of them for TL3.

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Neurotic

I could see PWE adding more characters and pets and things to this, and growing it into quite a large, successful thing.