It is no secret that I am a big fan of both Torchlight and the company behind it, Runic Games. So, yes, I have followed Torchlight II; I start my days logging in to RGF (Runic Games Forum, not the other RGF, Runic Games Fansite), checking the Dev Tracker and the latest postings on Torchlight II sub-forum. And then I come here. At this point, I am not sure which game I am expecting more: Torchlight II or Diablo III. Both games will be great and, naturally, I will buy them both. I just hope that at least Runic could announce a release date. But even before Travis Baldree's announcement back in November, I knew that Torchlight II wouldn't be out this year, and I am prepared for a spring/summer 2012 release.
Many people here and elsewhere have called Runic's decision to postpone Torchlight II's release an "epic fail". Well, here's a quote (the bold part is important) from Travis Baldree's reply to an angry "fan":
Well, I guess I cancel my plans to get this games (like, forever) 'cause I really don't believe you need so much time for such a simple game, good luck not losing half of the sales :/
"I'm curious as to what you think an appropriate period of time would be? If the game includes 3x the content of Torchlight 1 ( At least - we run through about the same number of assets about 2/3rds of the way through the first act ), character customization, 4 new classes, many more items, many more monsters, many more skills, multiplayer, and new features like time of day, outdoor regions, as well as cinematics, and an orchestral score - how much longer should it, theoretically, take over the development of the first game? Factor in the fact that we'll be the first to admit that the first wasn't as well balanced and 'complete' as it should have been - and considering our team size is not significantly larger.
Scheduling is really, really hard - especially when you're effectively predicting a timeline to solve problems you don't know the solutions to yet. I have honest interest in how much time you think is required, and why. The previous game took 11 months to create, and we nearly killed ourselves doing it. Given the scope change from the first to the second, what would you consider a reasonable schedule? ( Ideally one in which you can sleep, have a vacation every once in a while, and spend time doing enjoyable stuff with your family )
I'll be straight with you. I care WAY more about the quality of the game, and what people think of it, than about how many copies it sells. I have never been motivated by money, and am never likely to be. My standards for success are to make something we are proud of, and to sell sufficient copies to survive and do something else that we want to do and that people hopefully want to play. That's pretty much it."
The whole thread can be read here. There's a lot of direct feedback from the devs, including Runic CEO Max Schaefer. But here's another quote from Travis, and it's something to consider too:
That being said, I will just be blunt: You have to decide how "polished" you want this game to be. If you launch AFTER Diablo III, your sales are going to plummet. I have no ill intent when I say that Torchlight II was going to hold A LOT of people over UNTIL Diablo III and your sales would have been HUGE.
"We don't have unrealistic expectations of what 'polished' means. We absolutely want to finish the game and get it into people's hands. We have a polished section of the game, whose quality we want to replicate across the rest of it - and we want to run a beta to make sure that things go smoothly. Trust me, we're not going to spend an extraordinary amount of time noodling around.
Diablo 3 or not, the game we want to ship is the game we want to ship. We could release it early in fear, but making the right choice for the game matters more.
We don't make our money all up front like box releases - we get our sales over the long haul. If Diablo 3 is going to kill us by coming out first, it's going to kill us by coming out 3 weeks later just as surely, so we are choosing not to schedule ourselves based on their theoretical release date.
The important thing is making a game that is good enough that people will continue to buy it months after release. That's our goal."
On the one hand, I understand. On the other hand I don't. Keeping deadline is part of the "game" after all
"Deadlines are one of those things that, outside of a company, nobody remembers if the game is released, and is good. I think you'd be surprised to find how many of the best games that people remember most fondly were delayed. Most of them, I'd imagine - even if you didn't hear about it. Not every delay is public - and that's why many companies choose not to announce or even hint at release dates. They KNOW that to make a great product, they need the leeway to alter their schedule to do what is right."
I just thought to add that last quote, because there has been "some" discussion/debate concerning Blizzard's decisions & actions (or lack of them) lately.