ECHTRA Games

mrpinsky

Diabloii.Net Member
So MrLlamaSC did a long interview with Max Schaefer a few days ago, which you can watch here on Twitch (or here on Youtube).

There are some highly interesting informations in this regarding a new game studio that Max has been involved in (juicy bit starts about here). It is called ECHTRA Games. Max founded this studio already in 2016 and they are located in San Francisco. Max says that they have gathered some "great industry vet[eran]s". He says literally "a lot of the old Diablo 2 team is back together" and mentions Matt Uelmen (composer of D1 & D2), David Glenn (artist on D2 and D2X), Tyler Thompson (Director of D2X: LOD), Guy Somberg (programmer). They also have "some Runic guys" (after that studio was shut down last year).

Their website is very minimalistic at the moment, but does feature a nice fantasy painting in the header. Intriguingly, the website mentions that they are working on "a big world based on a beloved gaming franchise", but without naming that franchise.

A few more tidbits from the interview and/or website:
- they currently have ca. 30 employees
- they will announce something this year
- they seem to have licensed the Unreal engine
- it will ship on PC and consoles
- there are some mild hints that it may be an MMO
- the name of the game doesn't have a "3" in it

I'll try to dig up some more info and update this thread.

Edit: Echtra is Old Irish for "adventure" and also denotes a literary genre about "a hero's adventures in the Otherworld" (Wikipedia).

---
Known staff
Max Schaefer - CEO
David Glenn - Co-Founder, Studio Creative Director
Justin Miller - Co-Founder and Network/Server Lead
Matt Uelmen - Composer
Tyler Thompson -
Guy Somberg - Programmer
Kendree McLean - Concept Artist (website, twitter)
Devin Manning - Concept Artist (website)
Jennifer Armstrong - Concept Artist (blog ?)
Jamie Martin - Senior UX Designer
Shawn Stone - Senior Game Designer
Jordan Womack - Product Lead (former Producer at Blizzard)
Danny Keller - Animation Director
Jennifer Brabec - Full Stack Engineer
Ivy Yup - Game Designer (ex-Gazillion)
Pete Hanshaw - Senior Technical Artist / Tools Programmer
Erika Escamez - Senior Sound Designer
Chad Cuddigan - Senior Server Programmer
 
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mrpinsky

Diabloii.Net Member
The most obvious guess is probably that they are making the "Torchlight MMO" that they have been talking about at Runic since many years ago. However, what seems strange is that Echtra was founded already in 2016, when Runic still existed and the rights on Torchlight must have been owned by Perfect World. One wonders if they managed to license or buy the IP from Perfect World?

Another point is that Travis Baldree is not at Echtra. He led the development of Torchlight at Runic and from what I gather, he was a key figure also in its technical conception using the OGRE engine. But we know that at Echtra, they use the UE engine instead. It would be a little surprising if they made another Torchlight game without Travis Baldree and in a completely different engine. (Rather than building on the previous installments, they'd need to pretty much start from scratch technology-wise).

On the other hand, it's hard to see what it could be if it were not Torchlight. After all it's "based on a beloved gaming franchise", so not a new IP. And I don't see any other IP that would fit the bill and that they could have acquired the rights on.
 
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mrpinsky

Diabloii.Net Member
OK, I stumbled onto the "studio closing down" announcement on Runic's Facebook page, and it includes this phrase: "For those that love the Torchlight series, there will be some news coming."

I guess that clears this mystery up: It's gonna be the Torchlight MMO.

To be honest, I'm a little disappointed. Although I did play and enjoy TL1 and TL2, I feel pretty much done with Torchlight at this point. I rather hoped for something fresh (and less cartoony).
 

Dacar92

Moderator: Community, D2 Zon, DH, Inc Clan Officer
I'n not finished with Torchlight. Although it never caught me like D2 did (not much has to be honest), I did play it a lot and would play a new iteration. I think they have done their homework and decided that TL would play best with their fan base rather than a new franchise where marketing would start all over again. A new franchise is a risk for a small studio. At least with TL they can count on the current fan base catching wind and buying it. If it's an MMO I am not sure I would play it. But new SP version I would. In a heartbeat.
 

Dacar92

Moderator: Community, D2 Zon, DH, Inc Clan Officer
I'm in. I just signed up for the beta. The trailer looks like Torchlight. Looks like graphics haven't been updated much either. It is SP and multi-player too.
 
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