Torchlight III launched earlier this month as part of Steam’s Early Access program. Now, after gathering feedback from players, developer Echtra Games is rolling out some new content. This update, called Echonok, hits June 30. It adds the third act as well as new enemies, loot, and more. This is also an opportunity for Echtra to come in with a number of fixes and adjustments that fans began requesting from day one.
“I was looking at the patch notes, and it’s 18 pages of single-spaced notes,” game director Max Schaefer told GamesBeat. “It’s new content, and that’s the biggest thing. But it’s also a billion other things that all relate directly back to feedback.”
And this was always the plan. Schaefer wanted to release Torchlight III in Early Access specifically to hear from players during this point in the development process.
“The whole purpose of the Early Access release is to get the game out in front of players while we still have time to make the changes they were going to ask for,” said Schaefer. “And we sure got a lot of feedback. We’re on it, and now most of our day-to-day is addressing the things players want.”
Listening to feedback is key to Torchlight III’s future in Early Access
Fans were clear from early on that they weren’t happy with the shaky servers — although Schaefer says that’s something that has happened with every game he’s ever shipped. But players also had input on improving aspects of the gameplay as well.
Players told Echtra that moving around is clunky. Others complained about the large, mobile game-like UI. And some fans found the melee options to be too weak compared to ranged attacks. Schaefer and his team are addressing all of those issues while also patching up countless bugs.
“Even when we’re hearing negative things, I’m glad,” said Shaefer. “I’m glad we can fix that before release. People have a cynical view of Early Access … but from the beginning, our plan was to make substantive changes based on player feedback. Once you get over the shock of hearing negative feedback, you realize that this is for the best.”
Schaefer says it’s exciting to watch the game get better based on that input.
“Overall it’s stressful,” he said. “You want everyone to like everything, but that’s not the way the world works. But at the same time, we’re making a much better game.”
Echtra will continue pushing the game toward its eventual 1.0 release. That will bring in even more players on PC and a new audience on consoles. And every problem fixed now is one that won’t turn off that potentially larger audience in the future.