In a surprise announcement, the game formerly known as Torchlight Frontiers has been rebranded as Torchlight III with a huge overhaul of the game’s systems.
Torchlight Frontiers was announced back in mid 2018 as a free to play successor to the beloved Torchlight franchise featuring a “shared, persistent, and dynamically generated world”. In an announcement made today by the development team, Frontiers will be transforming into a complete sequel that will no longer be free to play, instead being sold as a more traditionally priced game. It will also feature an offline mode, something Frontiers was never originally intending to offer.
“Along with this name change comes a major shift in our design approach to Torchlight III. Torchlight III will be released as a premium title. For one box-price, you will own the game and be able to play the way that you want, online or off. Over the past year, we have gathered massive amounts of feedback from our Alpha testers. After reviewing this feedback, discussing with our internal teams, and receiving guidance from our publisher, we determined that this was the best course for the game. This shift helps bring Torchlight back to its roots and makes it the true sequel to Torchlight I & II that it was always meant to be.”
Torchlight Frontiers clearly had some trouble throughout its Alpha testing phase, with negative feedback encouraging the team to change things up pretty drastically. Another change that has been announced is that the game will be available on Steam, whereas Frontiers was previously only accessible on a separate launcher by the name of Arc. Additionally, the game is now said to follow a more classic Act structure, a reworked progression system, private zones, and Torchlight III will no longer have an in-game real-money store.
It all seems like a lot of big changes for Torchlight III, with the intention of bringing the game back to what its predecessors were and move it further away from the live service product Frontiers was becoming. The game will continue with its Alpha testing after all of these changes are made.
As a fan of the original Torchlight games, I for one am very pleased with this announcement. Whilst Path of Exile proved you can make a fantastic isometric ARPG with an online / free-to-play business model, it still didn’t feel right when Torchlight was moving in this direction. The original games were always such an enjoyable yet contained experience, and I wasn’t sure if the same charm could remain whilst playing in open multiplayer lobbies with microtransaction stores. Diablo III was at its best when elements like the real money auction house were removed, yet Diablo IV appears to be heading back in the MMO direction. So it will be good to have Torchlight III available as an offline experience.