After an XBLA re-release earned the first Torchlight a new band of followers, an even greater group of gamers have begun hungering for Torchlight 2. Developer Runic Games has just released first details and a couple screenshots for the sequel that promises to deliver larger environments and a more open world feel.

Speaking on the topic of level design, Lead Designer Patrick Blank revealed that not only will the overworlds in Torchlight 2 be more than three times the size of those in the first game, but they will also have even more randomized content in order to promote exploration.

While the first game was a loot lover’s paradise, some of the dungeons seen in the game felt a bit cramped and derivative. The hope with Torchlight 2 is to give a more MMO feel, but to remain true to the spirit of the series.

Also gone is the idea that only one true path is needed to trek through a given dungeon. Blank promises that in Torchlight 2 there will be a wider variety of branching offshoots that will increase the exploration and the amount of paths that are possible through a given area.

Adding even further to the design of the game are the new multi-layered dungeons that Blank reveals are even more detailed with new effects, decorations, and lighting tricks to help with mood and atmosphere. One of the more intricately created sections of the game will be the passes, a new area of traversal for Torchlight 2.

Passes will help to bridge the various overworld areas in the game, but will also be much more straightforward than the dungeons. While making their way through a pass, the player can encounter any number of enemies or other elements along the way. For those who might have a hard time envisioning the pass concept, Blank details one that players will encounter early on called ‘The Path of the Honoured Dead.’

One of the early Passes in the game is called “Path of the Honored Dead”. This area is dark and dreary, covered in fog, and crawling with all types of walking dead. Basically, it’s always a Monday in here. This pass is the cemetery/memorial of the Estherian Enclave. The area is lined with graves, and shrines, and is home to the dungeon, “The Defiled Crypt”, the first dungeon players will encounter in the game.

While gamers who might have been expecting Torchlight 2 to be Runic Games’ foray into the MMO territory will be disappointed, that doesn’t mean the developer isn’t trying to evolve their experience. With larger worlds, a greater emphasis on design, and increased randomization, Torchlight 2 looks to be a worthy successor to the breakout hit.

What do you think of these first details and screenshots for Torchlight 2? How else would you like to see Runic Games improve on the first game?

Source: Torchlight 2 Blog