Two of the co-founders of Runic Games are to leave the company at the start of next month. Erich Schaefer and Travis Baldree will be departing to form a game development studio after six years at Runic Games.
Runic has shipped two successful ARPGs, Torchlight and the Torchlight 2 sequel and both Travis and Erich have been instrumental in their success.
In an update on the Runic Games site Travis revealed that both he and Erich will be starting Double Damage Games (did Blizzard’s Jay Wilson come up with the name?) which currently has a placeholder website. Travis said in his departure post:
“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.”
Remaining co-founder Max Schaefer, who is also brother of Erich, is not departing and stays on at Runic working on a new top secret project. He added:
“As Travis said in his statement, this is a perfectly amicable parting, and we wish them nothing but the best in their new endeavor. I’m sure we’ll all be watching and waiting for what they make next. It’s sure to be wonderful.”
“Meanwhile, the rest of us here at Runic are excited to move on and continue to work on this crazy, cool, completely secret project we’ve been working on. We’re champing at the bit to talk about it, but will wait until we’re ready to show it off. Travis’ right-hand man for over ten years,Marsh Lefler, has seamlessly moved into the lead chair at Runic, and after we’ve sent Travis and Erich off in a bourbon-fueled celebration/wake, you’ll find that Marsh is more than capable of taking the reins, and the other 20-something Runic members all eager and able to pull the extra weight. Change is scary, but it’s often good. And this is healthy for both Runic, and Travis and Erich.”
Max and Erich started their careers working on the original Diablo games and departed Blizzard when Vivendi became involved with Blizzard. The closure of the Diablo Blizzard North studio soon followed. This will be one the first times in many years that Max and Erich will not be working together.