Ex-Iron Lore staffer and lead gameplay designer on Titan Quest, Arthur Bruno has suggested that there was indeed a sequel to Iron Lore's RPG in the pipeline. THQ had suggested at the time that they weren't particularly interest in a PC-only venture, but Iron ore was set to start development on a "multi-platform ARPG with a 3rd person, over the shoulder camera and action-style combat".
So sort of like Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, then.
As it turns out, according to Bruno, when THQ got wind that Big Huge Games had hired Ken Rolston, they spent big...and Iron Lore were left in the lurch.
"That was actually part of the problem, [Iron Lore] were fully expecting to do a sequel and were laying the groundwork for it when THQ basically said they weren’t interested in another PC-only game and wanted to see a new, multi-platform IP," said Bruno. "So, they changed course, started working on a multi-platform ARPG with a 3rd person, over the shoulder camera and action-style combat. It was sort of like Oblivion meets Gears of War. It was actually rather similar to the recently released Kingdoms of Amalur but in a darker, grittier setting."
Speaking of which, it turns out that Iron Lore weren't the only developers in talks with THQ about a multi-platform RPG.
"Coincidentally, we were all set to begin development with THQ when they suddenly pulled the plug and decided to buy Big Huge Games instead," continued Bruno. "They had been talking to BHG about a multi-platform RPG at the same time as Iron Lore and from what I heard, once BHG got Ken Rolston to sign on, THQ basically wet their pants and couldn’t buy them fast enough. After that, Iron Lore just couldn’t gain traction on a deal with another publisher fast enough and they ran out of money.
"Since THQ owned the rights to Titan Quest, Iron Lore couldn’t just shop it around to another publisher, so it was basically dead at that point."
After the collapse of Iron Lore in 2008, Bruno set up Crate Entertainment, and began development on his own action-RPG, Grim Dawn. In development for over two and a half years, Crate recently set up a Kickstarter push to help finish off the game - a project that hit it's goal comfortably, and still has four days left to go.
"Part of the inspiration for Grim Dawn is definitely the idea that this is our chance to finally make the game we really wanted to make," Bruno stated. "Often times as a designer, you don’t get to indulge yourself because you’re not always building a game for yourself, you’re building for a specific target audience. On Titan Quest, part of the vision I had to work within was that we were building a game that would appeal to the casual market, would have an ESRB rating of E or T, show no blood, shouldn’t have any human death or corpses, was set in a bright happy world etc.
"As a hardcore ARPG player, I feel that I am the target audience for Grim Dawn and already it is a game that I am continually excited to play, even after all this time working on it. It has a certain magic that was missing for me in TQ and the combat is so much more satisfying, it just keeps you wanting to go smash that next enemy." [IncGamers]