Iron Lore was the developer responsible for making Titan Quest, a hack ‘n slash loot quest along the lines of Diablo or Dungeon Siege that I enjoyed quite a bit and still have loaded on my PC for those moments when I need to go out and collect more rat pellets. It packed in everything you could want from a loot game: plenty of monsters, skills, classes, and glorious, glorious goodies in the form of weapons, armor sets, rings, shields…everything that makes a game like this go ’round. Unfortunately, Iron Lore lost publisher funding early last year and closed, eliciting a mix of emotions especially in the form of a biting rant from former Creative Director, Michael Fitch, on Quarter To Three’s forums who places the blame squarely on a variety of factors including piracy.
But it looks like two of its alumni have gotten together to form Crate Entertainment and are busy shopping around a demo for a former Iron Lore IP called “Black Legion”. Crate’s official page has a little information on what they’re planning and almost nothing on this new game, but the Journal of New England Technology has a piece where Arthur Bruno, former Iron Lore lead designer, says that it will be “grittier” version of what they had worked on before. Sounds pretty exciting to me, but it’s probably going to be few years before we’ll see anything else. Still, it’s good news for gamers like myself that actually didn’t think Titan Quest was all that bad.
Part of me also can’t help but be reminded of Glen Cook’s “Black Company” novels which had also spawned a tabletop RPG presenting its gritty and dark fantasy world of heroism, betrayal, tragedy, and desperation in a player based setting, but I’m probably way off on that one. But that’s not so bad of a world, either, for an RPG on the PC or console to use as a springboard for the kind of hard fantasy that some players may be looking to get into more often and what Bioware had started off with in their Baldur’s Gate series of games on the PC.
Let’s just hope that when, or if, it comes out, it doesn’t do so at the same time Diablo III rolls out from the dungeon.