Perfect World Entertainment and developer Echtra have announced that Torchlight Frontiers has been renamed to Torchlight III, along with some major changes and a release date on Steam.
News on Torchlight Frontiers had been scarce in the wake of a 2019 delay announcement. While ambitious, the shared online world of Frontiers bucked the linear progression system of the series’s mainline games.
Now re-branded as Torchlight 3, it will return to these roots and launch on Steam like its predecessors did. The game can be played both online and offline, however characters created for offline play cannot participate in multiplayer games.
This change also means that players will be charged at the cost of a fully realized title, rather than a free to play business model. According to the announcement on the site, “For one box-price, you will own the game and be able to play the way that you want, online or off.” By changing to this pricing model, players will no longer need to spend real money on in-game items.
The decision to reinvent Frontiers as Torchlight 3 was motivated by player feedback in the alpha tests.
The new business model and distribution platforms allow for some major improvements including but not limited to:
- “The game now follows the classic Act structure from previous titles. Players start at the Imperial Outpost besieged by goblin hordes. They then follow the trail of nether corruption into lands overtaken by Hyvid and finally reach the [redacted] Peaks and their cavernous underplaces ruled by the electrifying [redacted]
- Horizontal progression has been removed, so all Frontier-specific levels, gear stats, and scaling has been removed as well. We are returning our progression systems to better work in tandem with this.
- Most zones are now private by default to give a better play experience. Players can still meet each other in public town levels and form parties to play together in instanced combat zones.
- When creating your character, you can now select Online or Offline Mode. Characters made in Offline Mode do not require an internet connection to play, but will also not be able to participate in multiplayer games.
- We have removed the in-game real-money store.”
Development of the game will still be influenced by community feedback as the project heads into beta testing. On January 29th, a new update will wipe player progress.
Dubbed “Update 10” this version brings a new character class, third frontier area and other content in time for the game’s transition to Steam. Alpha-exclusive collectibles from previous closed testing sessions will still follow current players to the full retail release.
You can find the “Join the First Expedition” trailer below:
Torchlight III launches 2020 for Windows PC (via Steam), and will be followed by a console version shortly after.