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Founders Depart Runic and Torchlight

Posted Thu, Mar 27, 2014 by Lewis B

Well this is surprising! It transpires that two key founders of Runic, the developer behind the rather good Torchlight series, are choosing to abandon ship in favour or pursuing their own studio. Having co-founded the studio more than 6 years ago it seems the main reasoning for leaving is for Travis Baldree and and Erich Shaffer to get back to smaller development. Considering Runic only have 20 staff however, I find that a little hard to believe. What are they wanting, a development team of 3?

The full statement from Travis is as follows:

I have a little something I'd like to share. It is with the strangest mixture of elation, fondness, fear, and bitter-sweetness that I'm announcing my departure from Runic Games, a company which I co-founded nearly six years ago, and have led as its President and lead engineer ever since.

I should say from the outset that this is an amicable departure, that I consider the amazing team at Runic my friends and family, and that it is a privilege that they've let me get away with running the place for this long. I love them all, and the biggest downside to all of this is that I won't get to see them every day. They are the reason that Runic has succeeded, and are the best group of people you could hope to meet or work with.

I feel more than confident in their ability to continue to excel, drawing on all of their collective talent. I'm excited for the world to see the project they are working on now, and I know it will be spectacular when you get to play it for yourselves.

I'd also like to thank Perfect World, who have been the best partner Runic Games could have hoped to find, and have been unfailingly supportive of us over the years, no matter how many curveballs I have thrown their way. It's my wish that I can maintain a great relationship with you all going forward.

Erich Schaefer, my friend and fellow Runic co-founder, will be departing Runic as well as my equal partner. I'm so gratified to be able to continue working with him.

I'm personally excited - oh, hell, I'm SUPER-STOKED - to be getting back to smaller-scale development, where I can wear many, many hats performing many, many different kinds of tasks. Working within the boundaries of limited means and resources is the best fun I've ever had, and that sort of work satisfies me in a fundamental way - I can't wait to be working that way again.

To those of you who have played our games, interacted with us on our forums, met us at trade-shows, and Tweeted/Facebooked/social-media'ed with us over the years, I want to thank you all. You have helped to make this a rewarding journey for me, and I hope the same holds true for you.

April 2nd will be my last day at Runic, as I tie up some last technical tasks for the team, and then it's on to the next thing! I hope to see you all again soon, online, or maybe at one of those trade-shows.

Okay, if this goes on too much longer I'm gonna burst into tears-

Don't be a stranger!

Travis

The new company is going to be named Double Damage Games (that's pretty snazzy!) with no word as to what it is they'll actually be making. We wish both Travis and Erich all the best and we look forward to whatever they make next!


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