‘The true sequel it was always meant to be’
Torchlight Frontiers took on an unconventional name because it was an unconventional take on the Torchlight series. The third Torchlight still leaned into its Diablo-like action RPG sensibilities, but it also marked a departure of sorts from what people expected from another sequel. Frontiers would pursue new angles like a free-to-play model, an MMO-like structure, and leveling that focused on aggregate gear and item stats rather than the character.
All of that was not meant to be. After years of development and alpha testing, developer Echtra Games has reverted back to what fans expected all along. Torchlight Frontiers has been renamed Torchlight III, making it the official third main-line game in the series.
Echtra CEO Max Schaefer says “During development, you often discover what type of product a game was meant to be and we found Torchlight Frontiers was meant to be a true successor to Torchlight I and II. Based on this and extensive feedback from our alpha testers, we decided it was time to take the game back to its roots and model it after the classic Torchlight games that ARPG fans have come to love.”
Alongside the rebranding, Torchlight III seemingly drops nearly all the experimentation that Frontiers dabbled in. Echtra mentions that Torchlight III now follows a linear act-based structure. It’s no longer MMO-like, as most combat zones are private areas where cooperative parties can fight alongside each other; the only public zones/social spaces are towns. Because of this change, Torchlight III can now be played either online or offline.
Also of note, leveling no longer revolved around combined item score, which served as a solution for scaling players to the level of the people they were playing with. Progression will be retooled to be more aligned with the previous Torchlight games.
Most crucially, Torchlight III is no longer free-to-play. It’s now a “premium” paid-for game, and all in-game microtransactions are being removed. Torchlight III will be sold on Steam, and it’s tentatively set to launch sometime this summer at an unspecified price. Console ports are expected shortly after; PS4 and Xbox One were always planned, but maybe Switch is in the mix too after Torchlight II was ported to Nintendo’s system last fall.