Codex Gamicus
This article is about the action role-playing game. For the parade, see Torchlight Parade.
Developer(s) Runic Games
Publisher(s) Runic Games
Encore, Inc. (NA)
JoWooD Entertainment [1] (EU)
Designer Travis Baldree
Engine OGRE (graphics)[2]
status Status Missing
Release date Windows
October 27, 2009 (download)

January 5, 2010 (retail)[3] (NA)
April 9, 2010 (retail)[3] (EU)

Mac OS X

May 12, 2010

Genre Action RPG
Mode(s) Single-player
Age rating(s)
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Mac OS X[4]
PlayStation 3[5]
Xbox 360[5]
Arcade system Arcade System Missing
Media Download, CD/DVD
Input Keyboard and mouse
Requirements Windows
Windows XP or later, x86-compatible 800MHz processor, 512MB RAM, 400MB drive space, DirectX-compatible video card with at least 64MB of addressable memory (such as an ATI Radeon 7200, NVIDIA GeForce 2, or Intel GMA 950)[6]
Mac OS X

Mac OS X 10.4+, Intel-based Mac, 1GB RAM, 800MB drive space, OpenGL 2.0 compatible video card with 256MB dedicated RAM (ATI Radeon X1600 or nVidia equivalent)[7]

Credits | Soundtrack | Codes | Walkthrough

Torchlight is an action role-playing game developed by Runic Games, released for Windows in October 2009.[8] The fantasy-themed game is set in the fictional town of Torchlight and the expansive caverns and dungeons nearby, which adventurers explore to collect valuable loot and battle hordes of monsters.[9] Following the October 2009 digital distribution release, a Windows retail box version was released in the U.S. in January 2010 by Encore, Inc,[10] and JoWood Entertainment published a retail box in Europe in April 2010.[1] A port for Mac OS X was developed by World Domination Industries and released through Steam[11] on May 12, 2010.

Development of the game is led by Travis Baldree, designer of Fate, and Max Schaefer and Erich Schaefer, co-designers of Diablo and Diablo II, joined by the team that developed Mythos.[12][13]

In August 2010, Runic CEO Max Schaefer revealed that the game was in development for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, aiming for release by the end of the year.[5]


File:Torchlight screenshot.jpg

A Destroyer engages in combat against undead monsters. The bar at the bottom of the screen displays skills activated by hotkeys.

The player controls a lone hero who explores a series of randomized dungeons, fighting large numbers of enemies and collecting equipment, gold, and other loot. The game also features a single town which serves as a hub, to which the player character can periodically return to buy and sell items to NPC vendors and obtain quests.[14] As the protagonist delves into the dungeon, a series of quests are presented which involve battling unique bosses that advance the main storyline. Optionally, the player may take on side quests, random quests or visit branching dungeon areas.[15] The graphics are three dimensional and viewed from an overhead perspective, similar to the isometric perspective used in the original Diablo. The game is controlled using a point-and-click mouse interface and keyboard hotkeys.

The game generates each level of the dungeon by assembling modular "chunks" of the game environment. Each chunk is designed by hand and may be composed of multiple rooms. They can contain scripted events and interactive objects such as levers that open secret doors or cause bridges to move.[16] This approach to level generation is intended to create dungeons with more purposeful design, instead of environments that simply look like "crossword puzzles that have been extruded upwards."[17]

As in Fate, the player has a permanent pet which fights alongside and can carry and sell loot. The initial pet can be either a wolf dog or a lynx; the player can feed fish to their pet to transform it into different creatures.[18]

Also present in the game is a retirement system, in which the player can pass on an heirloom item from an old character to a newly-created one, likened to a New Game Plus game mode.[14]

Character classes[]

Torchlight features three character classes.[16][18]

  • The Destroyer is a wandering warrior skilled in melee combat, although he also has the ability to call upon ancestral spirits to produce magical effects.
  • The Alchemist is a spellcaster drawn to magical power of Ember. He can fire blasts of magic and electricity from his specialized focus glove and can summon imps and steampunk-styled robots.[19]
  • The Vanquisher is an elite city guard, sent undercover to investigate the town of Torchlight. She specializes in ranged weapons and can also use traps against her foes.[6][20]

The player develops their character by placing points into class-specific skill trees. Further, there is a separate class of spells that any character can learn from scrolls, regardless of class.[21]


In the fantasy world that serves as the setting of Torchlight, Ember is a mysterious ore which has the power to imbue people and items with magical power. The mining boomtown called Torchlight is built above a rich vein of Ember, and adventurers are drawn there seeking the magical substance and the enchanted items it creates. However, as the player character explores the dungeons below Torchlight, they discover that Ember has a corrupting influence which led to the fall of past civilizations and endangers those who use it in the present.[9][15][22]

The player character arrives in town and is recruited by Syl, a sage who is searching for her mentor, an alchemist named Master Alric who has disappeared in the nearby mine. At the bottom of the mine tunnels, the player finds a passage into older, crypt-like chambers below, eventually discovering that the entire dungeon is a "layer cake of ruined civilizations."[23][24] Alric ambushes the player and reveals he has become evil due to the corrupting influence of Ember. After fighting a series of monsters and henchmen, the player reaches the bottom of the dungeon and must face Alric and an ancient creature named Ordrak who is the source of the Ember's corruption.


Pre-production on Torchlight began in August 2008, shortly after the dissolution of Flagship Studios. Runic Games was founded by Travis Baldree (lead developer of Fate and Mythos) and veterans of Blizzard North and Flagship: Max Schaefer, Erich Schaefer and Peter Hu.[15][25] The "entire Flagship Seattle team" consisting of 14 people (the branch of Flagship which created the original Mythos) signed on to Runic Games at the time of its formation.[17][26] Having lost the rights to Mythos, the Runic team saw the development of a new game as a way to "finish what [they] started," although they would have to start over with none of the code or art assets from Mythos.[27] From the start, the company's ultimate goal was the development of a massively multiplayer online role-playing game with gameplay similar to that of Mythos or Diablo, but before tackling the MMO, Runic's founders decided to "go back to [their] roots" with a smaller game that they could refine and polish within a relatively short production cycle.[15] This single player game was intended to introduce the Torchlight game world to the public ahead of the MMO. Further, it allowed the team to get a released game under their belts sooner than if they had immediately started on the MMO.[20][28][29] Full production on the game started around November 2008, giving the entire project a development period of approximately 11 months.[30] As of July 2009, 25 team members were working at Runic Games.[21]

In a feature article on Gamasutra, art director Jason Beck explained that Torchlight's art style was inspired by comic books and classic film animation, using stylized character designs combined with painterly background textures.[27] The developers have described the game's look as inspired by "Dragon’s Lair meets The Incredibles."[28] The team chose to give the game world a lighter fantasy tone to make it more inviting, rather than utilizing a "dark and gritty" style.[27]

The game uses the OGRE open source 3D graphics engine, although the rest of the game engine was built by Runic. The game was designed to run on a wide range of systems (including a 'netbook' mode) and does not require shaders.[2]


Diablo composer and sound designer Matt Uelmen also joined the team, creating original music and sound for the game.[31] Uelmen based his score on the pacing and context of the gameplay, which he observed even in very early playable builds of the game.[32] For the "Torchlight" town theme, Uelmen incorporated some elements reminiscent of his "Tristram" theme from Diablo, but also tried to give it a distinctly different sound. For this piece, he recorded over 200 live takes using a twelve-string guitar among other instruments. For other portions of the score, he played a pedal steel guitar, and created a different sound from the instrument's typical use in country music.[31]

The developers cast voice actors with the help of veteran voice actress Lani Minella, who also performed in the game.[31]


Torchlight is designed to allow extensive modding by players, and Runic Games has released the game editing tools they used to create the game as a free download.[14][19][33] The editor, known as "TorchED" is intended to be intuitive to use and allows the user to switch between editing levels and playing in them without leaving the editor. Player, monster, and item statistics, language translations, and even particle systems can be customized within the editor.[23] TorchED is also capable of editing quest events, scripting, and global game balance. Further, the game uses publicly available file formats, allowing users to import models and animations with relative ease.[29]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 85.13%[34]
Metacritic 83[35]
Review scores
Publication Score A[36]
GamesRadar 9/10[37]
GameSpot 8.0/10[38]
IGN 8.6/10[39]
RPGamer 4.5/5[40]
Entity Award
RPGFan E3 2009 PC RPG of Show[41]
GDC 2010 Best Debut Game[42]

Torchlight received positive reviews; it currently holds a score of 83 on Metacritic and 85.13% on GameRankings.[35] Writing for RPGamer, staff reviewer Anna Marie Neufeld praised Torchlight's "phenomenal music and great art direction" as well as its addictive combat but criticized the game's storyline as shallow.[40] Rock, Paper, Shotgun reviewer John Walker found the core gameplay to be a highly focused and engaging refinement of the dungeon crawl genre, albeit one with a "tissue-thin" story and quests.[43] In his review in Game Informer, Adam Biessener listed responsive controls, attractive animations and effects, and clever enemy designs as some qualities that set Torchlight above most other action RPGs.[44] GameSpot's, Brett Todd found the game's pace engaging, noting a deep variety of monsters and loot, but found the lack of multiplayer to be an omission.[38] Several reviewers cited the game's low price as a positive point.[39][44][38][45][43][46] The Australian video game talk show Good Game's two reviewers gave the game a 7/10 and 8.5/10.[47]

Many reviewers compared the game to the Diablo series, some describing it as the best Diablo-like game since Diablo II[45] and "the best Diablo clone in years."[44] Adam Biessener of Game Informer stated that "the soul of Diablo hasn't been so ably captured in years,"[44] and The Escapist's John Funk wrote "Torchlight absolutely nails the formula that made Diablo so addictive."[46] RPGamer stated that Torchlight "manages to overcome the Diablo expectations by being a game that can stand on its own merits."[40]

Torchlight won the Best Debut Game Award at the 2010 Game Developers Choice Awards.[42]

In August 2010, Runic Games CEO Max Schaefer revealed that Torchlight had surpassed 750,000 sales.[5]


Main article: Torchlight II

On August 4, 2010 Runic Games announced Torchlight II which will be a continuation of the story, featuring a co-op mode, new player characters, an "overworld" with multiple outdoor areas, and a new user interface. The game is set for release in spring of 2011.[48][49]

Runic Games had originally planned to begin work on an MMORPG set in the Torchlight game world immediately following the release of the first game. Runic entered into a partnership with Chinese online game developer and operator Perfect World Co., Ltd. to publish the MMO worldwide.[28] At some point after the release of the first game, Runic Games decided to develop a sequel to Torchlight with co-op multiplayer capabilities, temporarily putting the MMO on the back burner. The sequel will serve as another intermediate step toward the MMO, which is still planned for development in the future.[48]


  1. 1.0 1.1
  2. 2.0 2.1 Chris McGraw (2009-09-10). Remember Mythos? Meet Torchlight.. Retrieved on 2009-09-16
  3. 3.0 3.1 Torchlight release information,
  4. Cord Kruse (2009-09-08). Runic's Torchlight Action RPG Coming To Macs. Inside Mac Games. Retrieved on 2009-09-18
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Sliwinski, Alexander (2010-08-21). Torchlight 'hopefully' out on XBLA and PSN by holidays, has sold 750,000 units. Joystiq. Retrieved on 2010-08-21
  6. 6.0 6.1 Torchlight FAQ. (official site) (2009-10-01). Retrieved on 2009-10-01
  7. Torchlight on Steam. Steam (official direct-download site) (2010-05-15). Retrieved on 2010-05-15
  8. Kat Bailey (2009-09-04). Release Date Revealed For Torchlight. Retrieved on 2009-09-04
  9. 9.0 9.1 Perfect World Co., Ltd. (2009-04-22). "Perfect World Enters into Publishing Agreement with Runic Games". Press release. Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  10. Encore Software, Inc. (2009-11-12). "Encore Software & Runic Games Announce the January 5th, 2010 Retail Release of TORCHLIGHT". Press release. Retrieved 2009-11-21. 
  11. Steam For Mac Launch Details Revealed,
  12. Sean Hollister (2008-08-14). Captaining The Lifeboat: Runic Games’ Max Schaefer and Travis Baldree. Gamecyte. Retrieved on 2009-04-11
  13. David Jenkins (2008-08-11). Mythos Team Reforms As Runic Games. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2009-04-06
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Thierry Nguyen (2009-06-12). Torchlight. Retrieved on 2009-06-15 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "1up" defined multiple times with different content
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Nick Breckon (2009-10-21). Torchlight Interview: Runic Co-founder Peter Hu Shows Us the Light. Shacknews. Retrieved on 2009-10-22
  16. 16.0 16.1 Mike Griffin (2009-06-18). Torchlight Preview. Play Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-06-21
  17. 17.0 17.1 Christian Donlan (2009-09-14). Torchlight Hands On. Eurogamer. Retrieved on 2009-09-15
  18. 18.0 18.1 Garrett Fuller (2009-06-11). Torchlight: E3 Demo. Retrieved on 2009-06-15
  19. 19.0 19.1 Kevin Kelly (2009-09-07). PAX 2009: Hands-on with Torchlight. Joystiq. Retrieved on 2009-09-11
  20. 20.0 20.1 Michael Cunningham (2009-08-21). Torchlight Interview. Retrieved on 2009-08-21
  21. 21.0 21.1 Torchlight: Mega-Interview. (2009-07-24). Retrieved on 2009-07-25
  22. Torchlight E3 factsheet. Perfect World Co., Ltd.. Retrieved on 2009-06-17
  23. 23.0 23.1 David Moore (2009-06-19). Torchlight: Runic Games Q&A. Retrieved on 2009-06-19
  24. About Torchlight. (official site). Retrieved on 2009-10-22
  25. Massimo Villa (2008-05-30). Runic Games: Intervista - Articolo. Retrieved on 2009-08-15
  26. Suzie Ford (2008-08-11). WarCry Interviews Runic Games' Travis Baldree. WarCry Network. Retrieved on 2009-04-06
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Jason Beck (2008-09-03). From the Ashes of Mythos: The Art of Torchlight. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2009-09-11
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Leigh Alexander (2009-05-04). Interview: Runic Games' Schaefer Goes In-Depth On Torchlight. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2009-05-08
  29. 29.0 29.1 Chris Remo (2009-10-23). Working by Torchlight. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2009-10-23
  30. Patrick Klepek (2009-10-12). Torchlight Interview With Runic Games CEO Max Schaefer. G4 TV. Retrieved on 2009-10-14
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Jayson Napolitano (2009-10-13). Stay Awhile And Listen: Matt Uelmen Talks Torchlight. Retrieved on 2009-10-14
  32. "Torchlight Interview With Lead Composer and New Screenshots". 2009-08-24. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  33. TorchED is here!. (official site) (2009-11-16). Retrieved on 2009-12-01
  34. Torchlight for PC. GameRankings. Retrieved on 2009-11-24
  35. 35.0 35.1 Torchlight (pc) Reviews. Metacritic (2009-10-29). Retrieved on 2009-10-29
  36. Kat Bailey (2009-11-17). Torchlight (PC) Review. Retrieved on 2009-11-19
  37. Jaz McDougall (2009-11-04). Torchlight Review. GamesRadar. Retrieved on 2009-11-04
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 Brett Todd (2009-10-29). Torchlight Review. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2009-10-29
  39. 39.0 39.1 Mark Birnbaum (2009-11-18). Torchlight Review. IGN. Retrieved on 2009-11-19
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 Anna Marie Neufeld (2009-10-26). Torchlight - Review. RPGamer. Retrieved on 2009-10-26
  41. E3 2009 Awards. (2009-06-24). Retrieved on 2009-06-24
  42. 42.0 42.1 Stephen Totilo (2010-03-13). Victorious Torchlight Creators Like The Idea Of Torchlight 2. Kotaku. Retrieved on 2010-03-14
  43. 43.0 43.1 John Walker (2009-10-30). Wot I Think: Torchlight. Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved on 2009-11-07
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 44.3 Adam Biessener (2009-10-29). Torchlight. Game Informer. Retrieved on 2009-10-29
  45. 45.0 45.1 Alec Meer (2009-11-05). Torchlight Review. EuroGamer. Retrieved on 2009-11-07
  46. 46.0 46.1 John Funk (2009-10-27). Review: Torchlight. The Escapist. Retrieved on 2009-10-27
  47. Good Game stories - Torchlight. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (2010-04-26).
  48. 48.0 48.1 Martin Davies. Torchlight 2 interview with Runic Games. PC Gamer. Retrieved on 2010-08-04
  49. Torchlight 2 Website (2010-08-04).

See also[]

External links[]

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