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Torchlight 2 Next Month

The Runic Games Forums now offer the promised announcement of a release date for Torchlight 2, saying the action/RPG sequel is due on September 20th (thanks Mr. Tact). According to Travis Baldree, well see a more official announcement about this later today.

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55. Re: Torchlight 2 Next Month Sep 1, 2012, 10:42 hyperwired
WaltC wrote on Sep 1, 2012, 00:54:
WarpCrow wrote on Aug 31, 2012, 10:55:
InBlack wrote on Aug 31, 2012, 10:20:
I tried GW2 at my store today. Aside from the pretty graphics it plays and feels exactly like WoW. Somehow I thought it was going to be more Diablo-esque. Oh well.

I'm not sure how you got that impression. They're utterly different games in many ways; they just happen to belong to the same genre. It's a bit like saying BF3 and CoD feel exactly the same because they're both multiplayer FPS with a leveling system and a similar setting.

Torchlight surprised the heck out of me in how much like Diablo 2 it was/is--the music, the pacing, the voicing--almost everything--it's D2 down to its nubs...;) I liked Torchlight for that because it brought back great memories of D2 so long ago...I was very disappointed to see that D3 was Diablo in name only--didn't buy it and won't play it as I'm no pirate. There's only one thing I hate more than "always online" game designs (because Murphy's Law will always manage to screw things up), and that's...

Cartoon computer games! Argghghghghggjh! Aiyee-ee-e! Ugh-up-chuck! Eeeeeoooowwww!

From what little I've seen of T2 up to now I'm not sure if it's a cartoon or it isn't. T1 definitely wasn't. I did look at an early trailer for T2, and like Borderlands it looks (to me) ridiculously cartoonish--a style I really hate in computer games because it makes me feel as if I am being pandered to in the worst way: as if I am a baby doing a number in my swaddled diapers who still gets a kick out of the Cartoon Network, worships Sponge Bob, and sniffs his tightly clenched, fragrant "boo blanket" while sucking and gnawing his thumb down to the bone!...;)

That's a bit over the top, I know, but I really don't like the cartoon style in computer-game artwork--it very nearly offends me, and that's saying something because I am not easily offended at all. It's like "Wot? You want me to buy this tot's toy, this "play Army" cartoon crammed full of utterly unbelievable explosions in the name of pumping up 'PhysX' while deflating the player's gray matter--you want me to buy that? Wot's that? And you want me to pay $50 for the privilege?" "OK, tell you what...I think I can reach my shotgun in the den inside my locked gun display case in about...oh, 12.657 seconds, as mad as you've made me, because I have the key in my hand right now and the gun is loaded!" (Bad policy, I know.) "So I think if you start right now you can make the door and clear the yard before my artificially rusted and poisoned buckshot penetrates your--" (The guy is gone in a flash and I relax thinking how close I came to doing something really stoopid!)

So you see where I am on Borderlands. I hope that T2 is no cartoon and carries on in the inimitable style of D2 and Torchlight! I pray that Travis has resisted the urge to ruin his franchise by making it all "new and improved"! So new and improved, in fact, that it doesn't resemble his other games, which are sacred and revered.

Let us pray for sanity and depth among game developers. I curse thee, cartoon, and consign thee to the lowest level of hell's hottest dungeons where you shall dwell in great, steaming piles of baby poop until you are dead.

(Gosh, I'm emotional about this, I guess)

I can tell you as a game developer why a lot more games these days are cartoonish ("Non Photorealistic Rendering" or "NPR", commonly but incorrectly called "cel-shading").

Cartoonish graphics are faster to create. Chunky character silhouettes are easier to model and animate. You can basically get away with a lot less art asset time investment. Thats why a lot of studios are going this path... it lets you be lazy.

Fine detail take more time and skill, and is MUCH harder to get to look good. Furthermore you can get away with requiring less powerful hardware and saving video memory since the shaders are more lightweight and the textures can be easily compressed.

However there are some positive gameplay side effects of cartoonish style over photorealistic; mostly centered around readability. You can more quickly "read" what is going on in a busy screen when you have striking silhouettes and bold colors. Its much harder (a finer balancing act) to make a photorealistic game read well, especially those with grim/dark visual themes (where its mostly grey and brown).

Another factor is that with the mobile and casual gaming boom, a lot of developers are trying to have broad appeal and make it more accessible to a wider audience. This is the whole core vs casual argument, and I wont even go there except for saying that the "core" audience is usually worse off. And most sane developers want greater rewards for their work (as would anyone if given the opportunity). Very few fore-go extra monetization strategies for the sake of maintaining purity for the core audience.

I agree with you though. But it makes it less painful to know that there are a lot of cost, balance and market related factors around it - its not just done at whim, and there is reasoning behind it.

TLDR: its just cost-cutting.

This comment was edited on Sep 1, 2012, 10:48.
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