Torchlight Frontiers, originally being developed as a free-to-play spin-off of the Torchlight series, is being renamed Torchlight III and will now be a premium paid game. This means several aspects of the game have been changed as well. The original plans of a shared world experience are being dropped so it can be a more traditional action-RPG. Developer Etchra has said the game will be launching in summer 2020 for PC, with a console version following shortly after. If you’re part of the closed alpha for the game, the new changes will be available on January 29th.
In a blog post, Etchra talked about some of the changes it would be making to the game as the studio pivots away from a free-to-play title. One of the first is that an internet connection is no longer required if you just plan to play the game by yourself. You can select either an online or offline character when you start, however, you will be locked into the decision you make, so you can’t take an offline character online or vice versa. Torchlight III will now be broken into acts, much like the first two Torchlight games were.
Progression has also been changed to be a more vertical RPG experience. Originally, with its free-to-play model, Torchlight Frontiers was going to have a horizontal progression for its characters, so you didn’t have super strong abilities locked away behind a paywall that free players couldn’t pass. Now the progression is much closer to that of a traditional action RPG as well, with stronger abilities locked away behind weaker ones.
There are certainly a lot of changes coming, but only time will tell if it manages to hit the heights that the other Torchlight games have managed to. The series survived its original developer being shut down, and the current developer is headed by Max Schaefer, one of the co-founders of the original game.