There is an interesting history behind Torchlight. The fantastic four left Blizzard in 2003 and formed Flagship. Flagship produced two games, Hellgate and Mythos. Hellgate was a dismal failure. Flagship didn't even last a year after launch. When the company went under they sold the rights to Mythos (which was in closed beta). I don't know what happened to Mythos after that. But members of the Mythos team went on to form yet another startup, Runic, which produced Torchlight. Torchlight was a success. Runic sold out to their publisher following the success of Torchlight.
Both Flagship and Runic strived to create the spiritual successor to D2. Mythos actually showed promise, though it was clearly lacking direction based on my experience with the closed beta. Hellgate was just awful. Torchlight stuck to the formula and became a successful D2 clone.
I played with Hellgate at E32005, when the game was a pure FPS with RPG elements. I really think that they dropped the ball by leaving the FPS genre and going third person/FPS. Mostly because Call of Duty, if it was a futuristic FPS, would be exactly like Hellgate. Exactly, no ifs or buts.
I really fell in love with the gameplay, so for them to drop FPS entirely was a bad, stupid move. Mostly because at the time COD was rising in popularity, and it features the same frantic gameplay, the same FPS/RPG mix, and the same arcade feel (that's what made diablo so popular, IMHO).
Basically, Hellgate (the way it was "released") is a shadow of it's former self.