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Runic Games

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Runic Games is a Seattle-based American computer game company formed by Travis Baldree (creator of Fate), Max Schaefer and Erich Schaefer (co-founders of Blizzard North), and the Flagship Studios Seattle team responsible for Mythos.[1][2] In 2009, the company released Torchlight, a single-player action role-playing game, and they are currently developing a sequel and a massively multiplayer online role-playing game set in the Torchlight game world.


Runic Games was founded in August 2008 by Travis Baldree, Max Schaefer, Erich Schaefer and Peter Hu.[3] The company formed specifically for the purpose of keeping the Mythos team together to develop a new action RPG video game as a "spiritual successor" to their previous project.[4] Following the dissolution of Flagship Studios in 2008, all 14 members of the Seattle team that developed Mythos signed onto Runic Games.[2] [5]

Full production on the game started around November 2008, meaning that the game's total development period was approximately 11 months.[6] At the 2009 Game Developers Conference some members of the Runic Games team were present with an early version of their single-player game, at which point it was revealed that the tentative title is Torchlight.[7] One notable addition to the staff was Matt Uelmen, composer for Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo series. As of mid-2009, the company employed no fewer than 26 people.[3][8]

Gamasutra named Runic Games one of its "Top 5 Developers" of 2009 for the studio's ability to create the "highly-polished" Torchlight in only 11 months.[9] The company was also praised for its responsiveness to its player community, citing one particular incident:


Following the 2009 release of Torchlight, the studio shifted to the production of a sequel Torchlight II. A Torchlight MMORPG is planned subsequent to the sequel.[10][11]


Torchlight (2009)

Runic Games' first product is Torchlight, a single-player action role-playing game published by Perfect World Entertainment, Inc. and Encore, Inc, and released for Windows on October 27, 2009.[12] The fantasy-themed game is set in the fictional town of Torchlight and the expansive caverns and dungeons nearby, which adventurers explore to collect valuable loot and battle hordes of monsters. Following the initial digital distribution release, Encore, Inc published a Windows retail box version in January 2010, and a port for Mac OS X was developed by World Domination Industries and released through Steam[13] in May 2010. The game was met with a generally positive critical reception, holding a Metacritic score of 84 based on 46 reviews.[14]

Torchlight II (2011)

Runic Games has announced Torchlight II, a sequel which will feature multiplayer co-op, targeted for release in Spring 2011. The company decided to develop the sequel to "give [the players] what they're asking for" in terms of a multiplayer experience, while serving as an intermediate step toward their planned MMORPG.[11]

Torchlight MMORPG

The Torchlight multiplayer game will be an adventure-themed "action-MMORPG" published worldwide by Chinese online game developer and operator Perfect World Co., Ltd.[15]

The MMORPG will feature the same style of action RPG gameplay as the single-player Torchlight and will be set in the same game world.[10] Runic Games originally stated that it planned to release the MMORPG approximately two years after the release of Torchlight, but those plans have since changed with the decision to develop Torchlight II.[16]


  1. Sean Hollister (2008-08-14). Captaining The Lifeboat: Runic Games’ Max Schaefer and Travis Baldree. Gamecyte. Retrieved on 2009-04-11.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Suzie Ford (2008-08-11). WarCry Interviews Runic Games' Travis Baldree. WarCry Network. Retrieved on 2009-04-06.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Michael Cunningham (2009-08-21). Torchlight Interview. Retrieved on 2009-08-21.
  4. Sid Shuman (2009-02-06). Runic Games' Max Schaefer warns indie devs, talks secret new game, Diablo 3. GamePro. Retrieved on 2009-04-06.
  5. David Jenkins (2008-08-11). Mythos Team Reforms As Runic Games. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2009-04-06.
  6. Patrick Klepek (2009-10-12). Torchlight Interview With Runic Games CEO Max Schaefer. G4 TV. Retrieved on 2009-10-14.
  7. TiberiusAudley (2009-03-28). Announcing: Torchlight!. Runic Insider. Retrieved on 2009-04-06.
  8. Torchlight: Mega-Interview. (2009-07-24). Retrieved on 2010-01-10.
  9. Chris Remo (2009-12-17). Gamasutra's Best Of 2009: Top 5 Developers. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2010-01-10.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Tracey John (2009-12-09). Runic Games talks Torchlight, the upcoming MMO, Diablo comparisons, more. Retrieved on 2010-01-10.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Graft, Kris. Interview: Runic CEO On Torchlight II, Digital Strengths. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2010-08-06.
  12. Kat Bailey (2009-09-04). Release Date Revealed For Torchlight. Retrieved on 2009-09-04.
  13. Steam For Mac Launch Details Revealed,
  14. Torchlight (pc) Reviews. Metacritic (2009-10-29). Retrieved on 2009-10-29.
  15. Perfect World Co., Ltd. (2009-04-22). "Perfect World Enters into Publishing Agreement with Runic Games". Press release. Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  16. Leigh Alexander (2009-05-04). Interview: Runic Games' Schaefer Goes In-Depth On Torchlight. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2009-05-08.

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