"It's Hard Work To Balance"
Runic Games has taken to the forums to explain why Torchlight 2, which was originally slated to release before Diablo III, is taking so long. Apparently it's all in the balance.
"Many folks are anxious to see the game released - many have preordered, and want a date!" Runic co-founder Travis Baldree explained in a lengthy forum post. "We've been deliberately vague on this point. My hope is that if I give you an idea of what we're doing, what it takes to do it, and the scale of it, it will make it apparent why that is."
Apparently, Runic implemented a huge number of changes derived from beta feedback... and are now feverishly attempting to ensure that the entire game (from skills to acts) is perfectly balanced. With the inclusion of multiplayer, it's infinitely more critical to the sequel than its singleplayer-only predecessor.
"So, anyway. Immediately after the Beta we spent a good bit of time doing the last big changes that we were comfortable doing. We didn't know how long these would take at the outset, because, well, we hadn't done the Beta yet. Most of these changes were in response to feedback we received during the Beta and our own observations."
"We finished our primary goals and moved back into polish. There are two main parts to this - skills, and Acts. Skill polish involves making all the tier bonuses interesting, and finishing up the skills that we didn't show in the Beta, and just generally making sure that everything feels good and is reasonably balanced. A pass has already been done to give everything tier bonuses, but some of them are not as nice as we would like, so we are punching them up."
There are loads of specific details in the blog post.
Torchlight is still on for a "2012" release - more details when we hear it.