Two of Runic Games’ co-founders, Travis Baldree and Erich Schaefer, announced their departure from the studio that built Torchlight. The pair are moving on to indie pastures, founding a new studio, Double Damage Games.
“I should say from the outset that this is an amicable departure, that I consider the amazing team at Runic my friends and family, and that it is a privilege that they’ve let me get away with running the place for this long,” says Baldree in a forum post.
The new studio will focus on “small-scale development,” but I’d be surprised if the pair weren’t planning another ARPG. Before helping to build Runic Games, Baldree created Fate and its three expansions, which bore a lot of similarities to Diablo and contained many features which undoubtedly inspired Torchlight, including pets and fighing. While Erich Shaefer, along with his brother (who remains at Runic) co-founded Blizzard North, the studio responsible for the first two Diablo games.
“I’m personally excited – oh, hell, I’m SUPER-STOKED – to be getting back to smaller-scale development, where I can wear many, many hats performing many, many different kinds of tasks,” continued Baldree. “Working within the boundaries of limited means and resources is the best fun I’ve ever had, and that sort of work satisfies me in a fundamental way – I can’t wait to be working that way again.”
Runic CEO Max Schaefer added to the forum thread, saying “Meanwhile, the rest of us here at Runic are excited to move on and continue to work on this crazy, cool, completely secret project we’ve been working on. We’re champing at the bit to talk about it, but will wait until we’re ready to show it off.”