Studio Behind Torchlight Shuts Down; Big Layoffs At Studio Behind Gigantic [Updated]

Studio Behind Torchlight Shuts Down; Big Layoffs At Studio Behind Gigantic [Updated]

This week China-based publisher Perfect World laid off most of Motiga, the developer of the hero shooter Gigantic, and shut down Runic Games, the studio behind the popular action-RPG Torchlight and the recently released puzzle-platformer Hob. Both game developers were based in Seattle.

Motiga’s Gigantic

In a statement, Perfect World said that it will continue to sell Runic’s games and that development on Gigantic would continue with a small team of staff:

Following the news that Motiga has reduced the staff of its studio, Perfect World Entertainment can confirm that as the publisher of Gigantic, the game will continue to be available on our platforms. A core team of developers remains at Motiga, who will work with us to support the game and its players, including moving full steam ahead with the upcoming November update and future content. We cannot thank everyone enough for their contributions in making Gigantic the outstanding experience it is today.

Perfect World Entertainment recently closed the Seattle office of Runic Games as part of the company’s continued strategy to focus on online games as a service. We’re grateful to the team for all of their hard work bringing incredible experiences like Torchlight, Torchlight II and Hob to life. Runic Games will remain a part of Perfect World Entertainment’s portfolio of studios, and its games will continue to be available to players, as we stay committed to supporting and growing Runic Games’ beloved franchises.

The staff reduction at Motiga and the closure of Runic Games Seattle were unrelated. Perfect World Entertainment stands committed to delivering the best massively multiplayer online gameplay experiences to our players.

UPDATE (10:07AM): And here’s a statement from Runic Games:

Hey everyone,

It’s been over nine years since a rag-tag team of 17 developers helped open Runic Games. We’ve been so lucky for the community that has supported us and made us successful. Thanks to that support, we have had the chance to meet and work with the best people in the world. Our team here at Runic has released three successful games, and over that time we have seen many changes; team members got married, kids were born, but the most important thing is that we have become a family.

I’m sorry to say that today will be Runic’s last day open. Our focus is on our family here, and helping them find a new place to call home. If you are in games and looking for some of the best talent in the industry, please email

For those that love the Torchlight series, there will be some news coming. And for all our fans, our community and multiplayer services will keep running even after the studio’s lights go off.

It has been an amazing experience. To my family here at Runic, I know we won’t be far from each other, and I’ll miss seeing you all every week.

You haven’t heard the last of us,

Marsh Lefler

Studio Head


  • That is awful. Being owned by a publisher is the worst.

    Edit : OK, that was knee-jerk. The reality is they probably would have shut down earlier if it weren’t for the publisher. I just find it sad the way publishers will just screw with people’s lives because they’re publicly traded and that’s often the best way to show profitability.

  • It’s sad, but not surprising. Gigantic is a dog (704 peak players over the last 30 days).

    It was always going to struggle to keep the developers of Gigantic working, and it’s certainly not going to be possible now without enough staff to produce any significant new content.

    Next announcements:

    1) Gigantic servers to be pulled offline by March next year.

    2) Spiritual sucessor to Torchlight now on Kickstarter.

    • It feels like Gigantic failed at the marketing stage more than anything. I’d wager I’m far from the only one who had to double-check to see whether the game actually got a full release and wasn’t still in some kind of early access purgatory.

      • I really wanted to like Gigantic and have it a red hot go at a couple of stages of development. I really love the idea of having a goal that’s not just killing other players.

        Both times I tried it, however, it just fell flat somehow. It’s hard to put my finger on the exact problem.

        As I recall the speed was just a touch too fast and crazy, the systems didn’t seem to gel together all that well or have much point (capturing nodes and building on them seemed largely redundant), the ultimate bosses just weren’t that exciting, and the heroes were… lacking something.

        I dunno, perhaps it’s all just been done before.

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