Although Torchlight Frontiers has been in a closed beta for some time now, the official release of the game has been delayed to 2020. Echtra Games founder Max Schaefer spoke with PC Gamer this weekend at ExileCon and stated that that despite their best efforts, the goal of releasing in 2019 is not going to happen.
New Zealand was home to the annual Path of Exile convention, and there the former Blizzard North co-founder described that there were still several points they were trying to nail down. Unfortunately, Schaefer was not able to get into the specifics of what exactly is holding back the release of the game, “It's plugging along and it's getting better every day. And we're really excited about it. It's just we're kind of waiting for the right time to like, come out with another big news dump about what's going on.”
Torchlight Frontiers was first announced in August of 2018 and looks to shift the dynamic of the series. Rather than being another ARPG, which would simply have been Torchlight 3, the developers have moved more towards being a massively multiplayer online ARPG. This would present players with maps and play styles like what they know from the Torchlight series, but with other players present to explore dungeons and share in the world together.
Interestingly, Blizzard Entertainment seems to have taken a similar direction with their design of Diablo 4, where players will be able to take on difficult world bosses in larger groups. It will be fascinating to see how much overlap the two games have in that aspect of design once we have more information, as it appears that both games will feature large groups of players tackling content together.
Torchlight Frontiers looks to expand on its previous games by changing how a character’s power level is determined. Levels will no longer influence power levels, and instead items will provide more power instead. Players with significantly stronger items who enter a dungeon with lower powered players will see their items temporarily scaled down to provide a similar feel among all characters.
Customization will also be a major part of the game, as Torchlight Frontiers adds forts, a home base that can be built, expanded, and personalized. These will provide account wide benefits for all characters, and so there will be both a practical and cosmetic aspect to building up one’s fort.
While some fans of the Torchlight series may be disappointed to hear that the game is being delayed, there is no doubt that Schaefer intends to deliver a well-made product to players. If Torchlight and Torchlight 2 are any indication of what’s to come, a short delay is nothing to worry about.