During an AMA session on Reddit, Runic co-founder Max Schaefer said it was $20 "because we want a bigger community," and the game's digital release makes it "economically viable", unlike retail.
Torchlight II carries a number of improvements over the original which proved a hit. The sequel features co-op and more varied environments to tackle 'in Diablo style'.
"We sell for $20 because we want a bigger community, and for people all over the world to enjoy our game. Not everyone has $60 lying around," said former Blizzard North'er Max Schaefer via Reddit.
"Plus, digital distribution, like on Steam, makes this more economically viable for a company like us. We couldn’t make money selling $20 boxes only, but we’ll do fine with this price because of the trend towards digital distribution."
The small studio has an approach to the dreaded piracy boogieman: “With respect to piracy, a small company like ours isn’t going to solve it. And the last thing we think is appropriate is to punish our honest customers for something other people are doing. We believe that if we put out a quality game at a fair price, there will be less incentive to pirate the game, and that those who do pirate it may decide to buy it down the road. That’s our approach and we’re sticking to it!”
Fellow Runic man Travis Baldree tackled the piracy issue as well, saying, "Being nice and transparent about what we do, and charging a reasonable price, seems like the most effective way to convince people to buy our stuff."
"That, and a demo. I mean, we HAVE DRM. But it’s not super-draconian. It’s mostly there to allow a mechanism to continue playing after you unlock the demo, which is the same download. It will, of course, be cracked within minutes. It probably already HAS been cracked!” The Internet says 'yes, yes it has Travis'.
The Torchlight development team are now taking a break with no immediate plans to jump on that long planned MMO project, as they note the "landscape is a little different than a few years ago, and creating the amount of content we did for Torchlight 2 was a supreme effort with a team this size."
"Taking on an MMO immediately afterward is not our current desire," stated Baldree. Instead the studio will be keeping the focus on some extra content for Torchlight II "– a pet, some new items, a random map set, and things like that.”