“You’d party up with people and go off and you were the humans in the world that were doing things. So [in Torchlight III]… some of the MMO-y elements like a shared town and shared instances, where you’ll see other players, gave it a more community feel. We always wanted to do that with Diablo, and we’re able to do it now with Torchlight.
“The other thing is, we have a very innovative ‘Fort’ system in the game, and it isn’t just player housing, where you store your trophies and stuff. It is that, and it is something you can decorate ad nauseam… but it also has profound gameplay implications. So your whole account has a Fort, and things you do in your Fort (in some cases) give you bonuses to all of your account’s characters.“For example, you can plant a Luck Tree in your fort, and by feeding the Luck Tree magic items, you grow the Luck Tree, and that gives all of your characters a Magic Find bonus. So all of your guys can have a little bit better Magic Find the more you grow your Luck Tree.
“The other cool thing about this is that we put people’s Forts kind of randomly throughout our world, so as you progress through our story, you will come upon other people’s Forts… If they have, for example, grown a Luck Tree, you can use it kind of like a Shrine and get a temporary Magic bonus by sacrificing one of [your] magic items to it.
“Then, for the next 5 minutes of gameplay, [you] will have a little bit of a Magic boost… and [you] can use their Enchanting Table, and things like that, and use the recipes they’ve unlocked at their Enchanting Table. So it’s worth [your] while to explore their Fort and see what they have to offer, and that’s another thing that is kind of tying the whole group of players together, that we were never able to do in our previous iterations.”
Uelmen, Diablo and Torchlight’s composer, also shared his thoughts, saying, “For me, personally, my main differentiator was the interactive stuff I was talking about before… I could make a truly interactive soundtrack… We’re [also] being pretty ambitious with game mechanics and skills. In this title… all four classes are very distinctive, and they all have… three or four parallel tracks of skills that… are attached to your relic item…
“I don’t want to give away spoilers, or too many details of the game… Torchlight III might seem like a relatively vanilla-ish ARPG on the surface, but there is a lot of stuff,” Uelmen continued. “Things like the action music. There’s a lot of subtle stuff that I did… subtle things around the formula that we tried to develop.
“Hopefully, people appreciate that… [For example,] even though it’s not a noticed discrete event… the way I used randomization in the soundtrack helps kind of push the art form along to a new state, where we expect action soundtracks to have randomized elements and… it makes the old paper loop seem old. That was my goal, music-wise.”In addition to more dynamic music generation and building a feeling of community among players, Schaefer highlighted build variety as one of the highlights of Torchlight III. “Yeah, the approachability of the game shouldn’t be confused with a lack of depth.
“I think that we have more variety in the kind of builds you can make with your character than any game that we’ve done previously… just by the combination of mechanics. It actually is really, really deep and it’s been really fun to explore in different ways than just having a big skill tree full of useless skills, to make variety in your builds.”
For more interviews with the best, brightest, most fascinating minds in the games industry, check out every episode of Unfiltered, which features candid conversations with Master Chief co-creator Marcus Lehto, 343’s Bonnie Ross, Valve’s Robin Walker & Chris Remo, Respawn’s Stig Asmussen, and so many more.
Brian Barnett writes wiki guides, deals posts, features, and much more for IGN. You can get your fix of Brian’s antics on Twitter and Instagram (@Ribnax).