GamePro.com has posted a new interview with Max Schaefer. In it Max talks about the Mythos/Diablo-style MMORPG Runic Games is working on, their development progress, the issues faced by an independent design team in this economy, and his thoughts about Diablo III. A quote:

    How is progress coming on the game, and do you have a tentative release window? When will we be able to see more of it?

    We actually can sort of answer this! First, we’re already running around randomly generated dungeons, killing monsters, equipping the loot that drops, quaffing healing potions, and opening chests. The basic feel of the game play is already there. It’s not ready for screenshots quite yet, but it won’t be long!

    Our goal is to release the single player version of the game this year, and we’re well on track for that. The MMO will be a couple years later in all likelihood.

    Many team members at Runic, including yourself, played a big role in creation of the Diablo universe. What do you think of Blizzard’s direction for Diablo 3, speaking as a fan and as a co-creator? Are you excited to play D3? How will your project carve out its own audience to be unique from D3?

    From what we’ve seen, it looks great! Everything Blizzard does is top notch, and I have no doubt this game will do the franchise justice. The production values look to be top notch, and the Diablo spirit is there. Of course, with the new crew making the game, the designers will put their own individual stamp on it, and that’s the way it should be. They shouldn’t live in the past, or try to emulate the style we forged when we were at Blizzard. It seems they’re doing a good job of keeping the spirit of the franchise, while giving it a new and different style. And of course, we can’t wait to play it!

    I think our game will be a lot different than D3. For one thing, we’ll be making a true MMO. The art styles will be radically different, and the economic model is, of course, completely different. Now, if we can just beat them to market…

    Runic Games was only founded last August, shortly after the collapse of Flagship Studios, so it’s amazing that Max thinks they’ll have a playable game finished later this year (before Diablo 3). It’s also interesting what he says about releasing a single player version soon, and then scaling up to the full MMORPG over the next year or two. Has that ever been done before?

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