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Torchlight 2 is too big for XBLA

Runic on classes, co-op, pets and the MMO.

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Image credit: Eurogamer

UPDATE: Runic has clarified via its Twitter feed that it's the XBLA memory limit that's the problem, not the file size restriction.

ORIGINAL STORY: Super-sized PC action RPG sequel Torchlight 2 is too big to fit on Xbox Live Arcade and will need to be "comprehensively redesigned" if it's ever to see a console release, developer Runic Games has revealed.

CEO Max Schaefer told Eurogamer that it had only just managed to squeeze the original game below Microsoft's file size limit. As it stands, the significantly more ambitious sequel is not even close.

Whereas the first game had just one just small town and a few dungeons, the sequel has vast outdoor areas, multiple hub cities, different terrain types and, crucially, co-operative multiplayer.

"With Torchlight 2 there is a little more complication as far as just being able to do a straight port, as we did with Torchlight 1," he explained. "In all likelihood, if Torchlight 2 gets to the Xbox it would be probably fairly comprehensively redesigned.

"We would have to be redoing the interface for a console release anyway, just like we did with Torchlight 1, so it would probably make sense to do something more specifically tailored to the Xbox.

"We managed to shoehorn Torchlight 1 in there but just barely," he continued.

"As some people have pointed out, there's a little bit of frame-rate slowdown when it gets super crowded on screen. That's another fact of it not being designed for the system and just being shoehorned onto it."

That said, it still hopes to bring the game to consoles in some form, given the huge success of the original on XBLA.

"Torchlight on Xbox Live did very well for us. I think it's the number one revenue game on XBLA for the year so far. We missed out being the top for units sold to Full House Poker by a little bit but they cost less than we do. It was definitely a profitable and valuable experience and we're happy with the results.

When asked whether he was interested in pursuing a full retail release for consoles rather than sticking to the limiting confines of XBLA, Schaefer replied, "We would absolutely consider that." However, no formal discussions with any prospective publishers have yet been held.

"We're very consciously trying to focus on one thing at a time and at the moment it's getting Torchlight 2 out for the PC. Then the next thing will be the Mac port.

"Beyond that we're keeping our options open, depending on what happens. We have a lot of opportunities to do a lot of different things but we want to stay a small studio. We're 30 people total, so we really like to do one thing at a time and not over-commit and grow the studio more than we would like."

Schaefer was good enough to provide Eurogamer with a few more tidbits of information on the keenly-anticipated follow-up to its acclaimed 2009 dungeon crawler.

First up, the The Railman character class has been renamed The Engineer, "because in re-doing our story 25 times we've actually got rid of rails, so it didn't make sense anymore."

He also added that the game's fourth and final class will be revealed at PAX Prime, later this month.

A player limit for the new co-op mode hasn't been decided on yet, but Schaefer reckons "It'll probably be between four and eight."

However the modding tools will allow you to tinker away with that number to your heart's content.

"You'll be able to break the game by setting it to 1000 or whatever – there's quite a lot of flexibility with the tools. If you really want to put more people in and design a level that fits that many people as a customer you're free to do so."

He declined to offer an update on what new pets we'll see in the finished game, explaining that that will be one of the last aspects of the game to be finished up.

"It's everyone's favourite thing but it's also one of the more trivial aspects of making the game," he said.

"We haven't actually tackled the new pets yet, so I don't even know what we're going to add. But they are a little bit more fully-featured and we'll have really fun, cool pets. Everyone likes the pets, but it is the thing you do at the very end after everything else is working.”

A release date still hasn't been pinned down, but Runic is hoping to have it out this Autumn.

"It's going to be in the Fall. It's definitely, 100 per cent, for sure this year and not the Winter with any luck. It's coming along really well. We've hit our internal July milestones, so we should be on track for a Fall release."

Finally, Schaefer offered a quick update on the status of the planned Torchlight MMO. Sounds like it's a long way off.

"That's obviously still in the plan. But is it the next thing or is it something beyond that? We just don't know. We have a lot of good ideas for the MMO, we just aren't committing to any kind of schedule yet. If Torchlight 2 blows up on PC and it's the biggest thing since sliced bread we'll probably want to give more attention to that before heading into the MMO world."

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