In a somewhat arbitrary move, Runic posted a spotlight on Friday of the seven different pets available in the upcoming Torchlight II. Diablo III will not have combat pets, excluding various demon dogs and frog swarms which players can summon temporarily. This might not seem like a worthwhile selling point for Runic to focus on, but after losing its edge when Diablo III swooped in with a release date, they seem to be clinging to whatever ground they can find, no matter how petty.
The pets include a cat, a bulldog, a hawk, a panther, a wolf, the fan-favorite ferret, and a Chakawary, which Runic describes as “a Velociraptor crossed with a Cassowary.”
The spotlight does several things unintentionally which also showcase what Torchlight II does differently from Diablo III. The spotlight mentions how the ferret, originally available only to those who bought the boxed version of Torchlight, was easily obtained for those who didn’t through modding. Runic didn’t discourage this circumvention, rather, it encouraged players to mod the title.
Runic also has plans to release the developer tools for fans after the release of Torchlight II as well, which contrasts sharply with Diablo III’s online-only modless experience. The list of available pets for Torchlight II is really more of a suggestion, as players will really be able to mod in whatever kind of pet they can design. Modding won’t get in the way of the planned multiplayer either, as Runic is working on making multiplayer mods as seamless as possible.
Torchlight II also maintains contrast by maintaining its stylized cel-shaded graphics as shown in the screenshots included below. In contrast, Diablo 3 has an appearance which is more gothic and painterly.
It’s a good plan by Runic to keep Torchlight II from competing directly with Blizzard’s unstoppable Diablo III title. Time will tell if they manage to maintain a good enough distance to net sales.