What was once a free-to-play offshoot of the beloved Torchlight franchise is now its next major installment. According to an announcement trailer released today (and embedded below), Torchlight Frontiers is now Torchlight 3, which is the “spiritual successor” to Torchlight and Torchlight 2, according to series creator Max Schaefer. Gone are Frontiers‘ free-to-play elements and online requirements, replaced instead by a conventional price tag and the ability to play online or offline.
“We’re doing this based on two things,” Schaefer said. “First, the amazing feedback we’ve gotten from our alpha testers. And secondly, as you make a game, the game starts to tell you what it wants to be, and Torchlight Frontiers told us that it really wants to be the spiritual successor to Torchlight 1 and Torchlight 2.”
Schaefer goes on to say that Torchlight 3 will be out on Steam (rather than Arc, the F2P platform) sometime before the end of the year, for “one box price,” though he doesn’t specify what that price may end up being.
“We did these changes mostly because of feedback we got from our alpha players,” he continues. “They told us what they want the game to be, and from our own internal deliberation we also agreed. The game just works better as a premium title.”
Sure sounds like people said “hey we definitely just want another Torchlight game and not this free-to-play thing,” so it’s cool that Schaefer and the rest of Echtra were so receptive to the idea. According to the game’s official website, Torchlight 3 takes place hundreds of years after the events of Torchlight 2. In addition to the standard clicking and looting that one expects from a Torchlight game, players will also get to build and customize their own forts, where they can “build monuments of power, pet stables, and more.” No word on what might go into those pet stables, but I’m hoping for like, a weird penguin or something. Role-playing games love weird penguins.
Players create their character as one of four new classes, such as the Dusk Mage (magical DPS), the Forged (steampunk robot melee DPS), the Railmaster (steampunk train engineer hybrid DPS), or a fourth to-be-announced class, whose placeholder icon kinda looks like Elsa from Frozen. Again, not trying to tell Echtra how to make its video game, but weird penguins would also be good here. Just something to think about.
You’ll have to choose if your character is an Online character or Offline character during creation, according to a blog on the official site. “Characters made in Offline Mode do not require an internet connection to play, but will also not be able to participate in multiplayer games.” Seems like a weird restriction, especially since there are sure to be people who might want to swap back and forth between online and offline play. My guess is that this is some kind of anti-cheating mechanism, but the website gives no justification.
Torchlight Frontiers was originally announced for PC and consoles back in 2018, but Schaefer has been talking about the idea of a Torchlight MMO since the first game came out in 2009. Unfortunately, the world of online multiplayer games has changed pretty significantly in the past 11 years, and what probably seemed like a great idea at the beginning of last decade apparently isn’t what the kids want these days. Console versions of Torchlight 3 are still in the hopper though, with a planned release date of “shortly after” the PC version.