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Perfect World reignites Torchlight with new studio

Runic Games co-founder Max Schaefer returns to shuttered outfit's franchise with Perfect World subsidiary Echtra Games

Runic Games was shut down by parent company Perfect World Entertainment last year, but the studio's biggest franchise will live on. Perfect World today announced that Torchlight Frontiers is in development at its newest subsidiary studio, Echtra Games.

Torchlight Frontiers will be the San Francisco-based Echtra's first release. Fortunately, the team is not entirely new to the franchise, as Echtra was first established two years ago by original Runic co-founder Max Schaefer, and employs a number of other Runic veterans.

"Perfect World Entertainment has had a strong working relationship with Max Schaefer, dating back to the original Torchlight game, and we believe in his vision to evolve the Torchlight series," Perfect World senior VP of publishing Yoon Im said. "Max has put together an all-star team of developers, and we continue to be amazed by the sheer level of talent and wealth of experience that they bring to Torchlight Frontiers. We're proud to have Echtra Games as a part of the company."

Unlike it's predecessors, Torchlight Frontiers will take place in an online shared world, although Perfect World emphasized that it will rely on familiar features and mechanics from previous entries in the series. The company's ambitions to make the franchise an online game as a service have been clear since it first acquired a majority stake in Runic in 2009, announcing at the time that the studio was working on an MMORPG version of Torchlight. (The original Torchlight was single-player, while the sequel added online cooperative play.)

"Evolving the Torchlight universe into a shared world has always been a goal for the franchise, and I'm excited that we're finally able to make it a reality," Schaefer said. "Torchlight Frontiers will be a living, breathing universe that will still feel uniquely Torchlight, while we add our own creative spin to the game."

Torchlight Frontiers is slated for PC, PS4 and Xbox One, and will be playable for attendees of Gamescom and PAX West.

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