Perfect World shuts down Torchlight, Hob developer Runic Games

Mere hours after the announcement of it shutting down Gigantic developer Motiga, Perfect World Entertainment has axed yet another of its properties: Seattle-based Runic Games.

Back in 2009, Runic entered into a publishing agreement with Perfect World for their first title, Torchlight, an Action RPG in the vein of Diablo. This particular choice was no mistake, as the studio's staff had amongst its ranks - beyond Fate creator Travis Baldree and ex-Flagship Studios staff that worked on Mythos - the brothers Max and Eric Schaefer. They were the co-founders of Blizzard North and creators of Diablo.

Later, Perfect World purchased a controlling stake in the company and now, it has announced the shuttering of the studio. A statement on the Runic Games website reads:

Hey everyone,

It’s been over nine years since a rag-tag team of 17 developers helped open Runic Games. We’ve been so lucky for the community that has supported us and made us successful. Thanks to that support, we have had the chance to meet and work with the best people in the world. Our team here at Runic has released three successful games, and over that time we have seen many changes; team members got married, kids were born, but the most important thing is that we have become a family.

I’m sorry to say that today will be Runic’s last day open. Our focus is on our family here, and helping them find a new place to call home. If you are in games and looking for some of the best talent in the industry, please email jobs@runicgames.com.

For those that love the Torchlight series, there will be some news coming. And for all our fans, our community and multiplayer services will keep running even after the studio's lights go off.

It has been an amazing experience. To my family here at Runic, I know we won’t be far from each other, and I’ll miss seeing you all every week.

You haven’t heard the last of us,

Marsh Lefler
Studio Head

The slight nod to the series that put Runic on the map is certainly somewhat intriguing, as is the fact that multiplayer services will continue on after the studio's closure. It is however strange that any mention of the latest title, Hob, is absent.

To give further context, a statement provided to Kotaku by Perfect World reads as follows:

Following the news that Motiga has reduced the staff of its studio, Perfect World Entertainment can confirm that as the publisher of Gigantic, the game will continue to be available on our platforms. A core team of developers remains at Motiga, who will work with us to support the game and its players, including moving full steam ahead with the upcoming November update and future content. We cannot thank everyone enough for their contributions in making Gigantic the outstanding experience it is today.

Perfect World Entertainment recently closed the Seattle office of Runic Games as part of the company’s continued strategy to focus on online games as a service. We’re grateful to the team for all of their hard work bringing incredible experiences like Torchlight, Torchlight II and Hob to life. Runic Games will remain a part of Perfect World Entertainment’s portfolio of studios, and its games will continue to be available to players, as we stay committed to supporting and growing Runic Games’ beloved franchises.

The staff reduction at Motiga and the closure of Runic Games Seattle were unrelated. Perfect World Entertainment stands committed to delivering the best massively multiplayer online gameplay experiences to our players.

In a perfect world, this perhaps wouldn't be happening, but as a majority stakeholder, the Chinese publisher does have the final say. It's unclear at this stage exactly what Perfect World means by "growing" these franchises.

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