BlizzCon 2010: The Art and Design of Diablo III

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BlizzCon 2010: The Art and Design of Diablo III

The Art Director and Systems Designer of Diablo III sit down with The Escapist to chat about just what's taking Blizzard so long making this game.

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I'm very happy about what they said about the PVP I think thats what made it so fun in diablo 2 for me. Just spending time coming up with new and crazy builds then gearing a character up was half the fun.

i want this out NOW >.<
common people finish it faster.

phoenix352:
i want this out NOW >.<
common people finish it faster.

I do believe that was discussed.
No idea what the rainbow jokes are...would love for somebody to explain :/

Cmichaels:

phoenix352:
i want this out NOW >.<
common people finish it faster.

I do believe that was discussed.
No idea what the rainbow jokes are...would love for somebody to explain :/

One of the early (first?) gameplay videos of Diablo 3 involved running past a rainbow in some waterfall spray in an environment that looked fairly colorful and upbeat compared to the environments in D1 and D2. This prompted a lot of fan uproar about how the game looked pansified and what happened to the horror and blah blah blah - I'm sure you can guess the kinds of things unhappy fans say about a game looking "too pretty" for their expectations.

At least that's what I'm assuming they're referring to.

Whoa??! Double rainbow XD.

We look at Batman.

Whoever said the Batman remark originally, don't know if that was you or Logan, is a genius. Genius!!!

They also looked at Legend? Hahahaha. In my Blizzard art and design thread I basically said that Diablo looks like the devil in Legend. I'm a genius aswell.

These guys are cool, although when they keep saying 'awesome' or 'fun' in every second sentence it gets a little stale.

Strange that they keep talking about the Demon Hunter in this dark mysterious way because she honestly seems like the most boring least mysterious character out of the lot. A hard talking double crossbow assasin? Not very intriguing. I mean compare that to a monk that lives his life in constant training and discipline and a Witch Doctor that lives his life with zombie bears, I mean that's mysterious yo!

I think the Demon Hunter is the weakest and she also seems to be the least fitting when you compare the lot to the D2 flair. That's just personal preference I guess.

John Funk:

I'm totally rolling a Monk.

John Funk wishes the Monk could summon zombie bears, too.

Nice to see someone with good taste! I'll be rolling with my zombie bears and giant toads, just after that I'll try a monk :D.

I'm very excited! Good article and really good to hear that they are constantly playing the shit out of the game. Quite literally actually!
I'm still not quite sure if I want to roll a barbarian or witch doctor first... Smashing demons into steaming blood stew with a huge axe or unleashing the zombie apocalypse while drinking shroom-tea?

Id hate to say it, but while every call looks amazing, and all the variation is great.....

Chances are i wont play anything but the barbarian.....

ROAR!! KOURI SMASH!!

.... with axes.....

I've always loved the Blizzard concept art. Can't wait to roll another Barbarian.

Shjade:
At least that's what I'm assuming they're referring to.

It is.

The overall color scheme of the game was immediately altered after this uproar.

Diablo 1 and 2 have had fairly monotone color schemes which have made the games 'horror' games. ESPECIALLY Diablo 1. This monotone color scheme was made 'colorful' by enemies being 'colorful' to denote spell effects (poison, slow, etc) and power (those special guys were ALWAYS colorful). Color was used not for the environments but to clearly dictate what the living shit was going on on the screen.

Diablo 3 was the opposite with the initial video. Color was EVERYWHERE. Purple and green glows, multiple colored enemies and landscapes. Even with the heavily scripted first demo video it was very hard to tell what was going on.

So they put it back to the more 'horror' oriented theme and suddenly you can tell what's going on.

In other words, a less colorful world and colorful characters is easier to tell whats going on than a colorful world with colorful characters.

To put it another way, if Blizzard showed the exact same initial gameplay clip of D3 but didn't say what game it was, would you have been able to tell it was Diablo 3 or Warcraft: The Action RPG?

Because the design elements of Warcraft (NOT WOW, Warcraft) were HEAVILY in the initial Diablo 3.

The world is scheduled to end in a little over a year. If they do not set a release date soon we will never get to play D3:(

Please release it before 2012!!

phoenix352:
i want this out NOW >.<
common people finish it faster.

I read that as "Common (like not noble) people finish it faster"
Rather than "Come on people, finish it faster!"

I thought it was one of those weird sayings like: "Blondes have more fun"
"Queenslanders love it in the sand"
"Baketballers get it done up top"

Sort of like a jingle or catch phrase for commoners.

Anyway, I thought you were implying that Blizzard'd dev. team are a higher being than mere mortal humans, who take their time to make it perfect.
Which is why SC2 took so long and D3 is taking so long.

Credge:
It is.

The overall color scheme of the game was immediately altered after this uproar.

They never changed anything after any "uproars", they only showed more as the time passed. There are still light and colorful areas and there still are dark and gloomy areas. The pathetic "uproar" just died down after more of the game was revealed.

The double rainbows were in that video as a "how far can we go with this" joke.

Coldie:

Credge:
It is.

The overall color scheme of the game was immediately altered after this uproar.

They never changed anything after any "uproars", they only showed more as the time passed. There are still light and colorful areas and there still are dark and gloomy areas. The pathetic "uproar" just died down after more of the game was revealed.

The double rainbows were in that video as a "how far can we go with this" joke.

We are talking about two completely different videos.

I'm talking about >the very first gameplay video of D3 ever where the player saw rainbows, smiley faced lion statues,a bright, colorful world filled with Disney styled 'spooky' inside environments and a Winnie-the-Poo themed outside world.

They have completely changed the mood of that part of the Act since then. They have made the very first bit darker in mood by dulling the color scheme (which in turn made the character and enemies POP out) and changed the smiley lions in to snarling gargoyle. They didn't remove the ONLY rainbow showed in the video as it's realistic.

What you're talking about is a different video that they showed as a joke.

What I'm talking about is the reveal video of Diablo 3 and then what they have changed since.

To state that 'they haven't changed anything' since the uproar is just factually dishonest and a complete slap in the face to Blizzard, the quality of game they produce, and their love for their fans.

ETA: The game has also lost A LOT of the 'waterpainting' look that it originally had.

image

Oh gosh of course there's another one of this wanna be designers (Credge) in a topic about Diablo 3.
Can't they just die out...

Telling Blizzard how to design a game. Actually even telling Blizzard how to design a game after a gameplay trailer that looks absolutely stunning and shits on ugly Diablo 2.
But a world without wanna-bes would be sad too :(

GoGo_Boy:
Oh gosh of course there's another one of this wanna be designers (Credge) in a topic about Diablo 3.
Can't they just die out...

Telling Blizzard how to design a game. Actually even telling Blizzard how to design a game after a gameplay trailer that looks absolutely stunning and shits on ugly Diablo 2.
But a world without wanna-bes would be sad too :(

Indeed, if Blizzard followed all those suggestions, they'd still be in "concept art" and "tech demo" stages, instead of a playable game with actual content that will be released in our lifetime. I'm not sure if the aforementioned "wannabe designer" is ignorant, deluded, or just trolling (or all of the above), but I'm glad Blizzard didn't listen to those nay-sayers and kept the visual variance seen in all the videos and screenshots. Going again and again through the same Gloomy Dungeon of Dark Greyness and DOOMTM would get old reaaally fast.

Hell, even the very interview this thread follows describes the design of alternating contrasting dark and light areas. Slap in the face, indeed.

You know Blizzard designer replied countless times arguing very well about their designing progress. Making absolute and 100% sense.

Then some angry Internet Nerd hears about people complaining about colorful D3 graphics, jumps on the bandwagon and does some kindergarten analysis sounding like this: "Me don't like because that other guy doesn't like and the reason why is mimimimimimimi".

GoGo_Boy:
mimimimimimimi

image

Brotherofwill:

I think the Demon Hunter is the weakest and she also seems to be the least fitting when you compare the lot to the D2 flair. That's just personal preference I guess.

I agree, frankly. Watching the reveal trailer was extremely underwhelming, which wasn't helped by the preconception I immediately built up when reading 'Demon Hunter'. It's just such a derivative and boring class. When you compare it to the Witch Doctor (zany!) and the Monk (very cool), it looks a little underdone.

It's a bit of a combination of the Amazon and the Assassin classes from D2 and that is not good. I don't like it and will not be rolling one.

Barbarian and Monk ftw.

All that said, I do love most Blizzard games and played D2 online for many years so I am greatly looking forward to D3.

Seriously your already deciding what you won't be rolling?

I'm quite sure almost everyone will roll at least one of each character eventually.

Honestly looking forward to the monk class alot since we were missing that in d2 all together (or d1 for that matter). The entire monk concept is just plain cool. I guess the assassin's martial arts tree was as close as you got to a monk in D2...but it was missing too much for me.

Since no other class is ranged specialized (unlike having multiple ranged specialized classes in d2) I think the demon hunter is going to be a very common character for people to play. There are multiple spellcasting and melee oriented classes but only 1 ranged oriented class.

Sadly in D2 the amazon which was the biggest pure ranged oriented class was never that popular. Too many other characters handled range attacks better either with spells or thrown weapons etc.

Hopefully the same will not be true in D3 and Demon Hunters will be the master of ranged combat.

I wish my brains werked better at remembering stuff, but I somewhat recall an interview that was done by Game Informer magazine (I think) with a designer who used to work for the now non-existant Blizzard North. He talked about how the two different Blizzard groups had completely different art design concepts.
Blizzard North was the production house for Diablo 1 & 2, whereas just regular 'ol Blizzard made Warcraft, Starcraft, The Lost Vikings, etc.
He mentioned how when he saw the initial release footage (video and screen shots) he could tell that it fell exactly in line with how the base Blizzard studio did things. He never thought of it as Blizzard trying to make Diablo look like WoW, he said it just followed in that studio's general art direction.
Diablo 1 & 2 look so different from every other Blizzard game because as far as I can recall, they were the only ones made by Blizzard North.

Feel free to correct any false information in this post as it is all based on memory and I didn't bother to research any of it.

Shjade:

Rainbow talk.

Thank you kindly.

Cmichaels:

Shjade:

Rainbow talk.

Thank you kindly.

...but...when you put it that way...it sounds like I'm talking about something completely different. >.>;;

On topic: the first video, the bright and colorful one with all the mayhem going on than upset so many people?

I freaking loved that video.

Finally, I thought, Diablo and his minions are taking their corruption to places that aren't already torn up and dulled with evil. Finally we're fighting in a world that still has something to lose! I can actually feel invested in the story of a Diablo game for the first time ever! Whee!

So while they might have toned it down a little, I'd be supremely disappointed if it turned out the whole thing went back to earth tones and muted puke greens. Not that EVERY area needs to be Technicolor Slaughterhouse, but one or two areas that visibly have life in them would be a welcome break from a long chain of dour dungeons and fallen cities and so forth.

Just one person's opinion.

Regarding classes: assuming I get D3 (still undecided - I'm sorta meh about grid mashy RPG lootfest games these days, even if Diablo is the best of them), female monk's the top of my list. She just looks a lot like an RP character of mine, so it seems the natural pick.

Sidenote, anyone else find it interesting that Demon Hunter is the ONLY class that's gender-restricted? The other four can be male or female, but Demon Hunter is only female, unless they just haven't released male art/models for it yet. Seems odd.

Shjade:

Cmichaels:

Shjade:

Rainbow talk.

Thank you kindly.

...but...when you put it that way...it sounds like I'm talking about something completely different. >.>;;

On topic: the first video, the bright and colorful one with all the mayhem going on than upset so many people?

I freaking loved that video.

Finally, I thought, Diablo and his minions are taking their corruption to places that aren't already torn up and dulled with evil. Finally we're fighting in a world that still has something to lose! I can actually feel invested in the story of a Diablo game for the first time ever! Whee!

So while they might have toned it down a little, I'd be supremely disappointed if it turned out the whole thing went back to earth tones and muted puke greens. Not that EVERY area needs to be Technicolor Slaughterhouse, but one or two areas that visibly have life in them would be a welcome break from a long chain of dour dungeons and fallen cities and so forth.

Just one person's opinion.

Regarding classes: assuming I get D3 (still undecided - I'm sorta meh about grid mashy RPG lootfest games these days, even if Diablo is the best of them), female monk's the top of my list. She just looks a lot like an RP character of mine, so it seems the natural pick.

Sidenote, anyone else find it interesting that Demon Hunter is the ONLY class that's gender-restricted? The other four can be male or female, but Demon Hunter is only female, unless they just haven't released male art/models for it yet. Seems odd.

I'm pretty sure they just haven't finalized the male model yet. if I remember correctly, we didn't see the male wizard until some time after the wizard class (shown only as a female) was revealed.

Let me tell you what's taking them so long. They're trying to decide what to cut from the game and sell it as DLC later.

Shjade:

Cmichaels:

Shjade:

Rainbow talk.

Thank you kindly.

...but...when you put it that way...it sounds like I'm talking about something completely different. >.>;;

On topic: the first video, the bright and colorful one with all the mayhem going on than upset so many people?

I freaking loved that video.

Finally, I thought, Diablo and his minions are taking their corruption to places that aren't already torn up and dulled with evil. Finally we're fighting in a world that still has something to lose! I can actually feel invested in the story of a Diablo game for the first time ever! Whee!

So while they might have toned it down a little, I'd be supremely disappointed if it turned out the whole thing went back to earth tones and muted puke greens. Not that EVERY area needs to be Technicolor Slaughterhouse, but one or two areas that visibly have life in them would be a welcome break from a long chain of dour dungeons and fallen cities and so forth.

Just one person's opinion.

Regarding classes: assuming I get D3 (still undecided - I'm sorta meh about grid mashy RPG lootfest games these days, even if Diablo is the best of them), female monk's the top of my list. She just looks a lot like an RP character of mine, so it seems the natural pick.

Sidenote, anyone else find it interesting that Demon Hunter is the ONLY class that's gender-restricted? The other four can be male or female, but Demon Hunter is only female, unless they just haven't released male art/models for it yet. Seems odd.

There will be a male Demon Hunter. They mentioned it in one of the Q&A panels, saying that hopefully the ladies would find it as sexy as guys found the female one.

ImprovizoR:
Let me tell you what's taking them so long. They're trying to decide what to cut from the game and sell it as DLC later.

Feeling cynical are we? : P

Isn't that Bioware's shtick?

I was looking forward to this game with gleaming delight... and then I saw in-game art.

I'll pass.

The drawings are excellent.

The game itself looks tired and uninviting.

Pirate Kitty:
I was looking forward to this game with gleaming delight... and then I saw in-game art.

I'll pass.

The drawings are excellent.

The game itself looks tired and uninviting.

Sadly always true for these kinds of games. Starcraft is the same way: awesome concept art book! Shiny-but-basic in-game units. Of course, it doesn't help that I have to run it at minimum settings, but even looking at video of SC2 played at the top end doesn't make the units look suddenly wowzers.

Regarding demon hunter gender: I sorta figured that'd be the case, but wasn't sure. The way the lore page for it was written up it seemed like female-only might have been a possibility, sort of a hunter code or something, but better to have the options available and avoid possible outcry. ;p

@ImprovizoR - Nah. Knowing Blizzard if they were going to do a DLC thing (which isn't so much their M.O.; they're more for lots of balancing patches followed by an expansion of some sort) they wouldn't cut material to do it. They'd just set aside the things they usually patch/add in post-release and batch that into a DLC bundle of some sort. There's usually enough post-release updates and additions that they wouldn't need to deliberately withhold material just to build a DLC pack out of it. They can just pick up the scraps they already have to do that.

That image on page three looks like Warhammer Beastmen art. I really can't shake the feeling I've seen that exact image in a White Dwarf somewhere.

Shjade:

Finally, I thought, Diablo and his minions are taking their corruption to places that aren't already torn up and dulled with evil. Finally we're fighting in a world that still has something to lose! I can actually feel invested in the story of a Diablo game for the first time ever! Whee!

I feel almost exactly the opposite way. Diablo always drew me in much more than most other games exactly because of all the darkness. That even in that bleak world people would not give up and fight for the little things they still had left. To me that creates a far more powerful pull to the heartstrings/soul.

The little lighthearted moments of Diablo 1 were all the more potent because they were so incredibly rare.

PS a major pet peeve of mine popped up again:
Mr. Funk, You're not going to roll anything unless there's dice involved. Heck, almost all rpg characters in pen and paper systems are created through point buys these days, so even they're not being rolled. You play a class or create a character.

Though I agree, Monk is going to be my first pick as well.

Ah, so these people are to blame?

Ever since WoW the focus for blizzard has been 1. to rip of as many hollywood clichees in their trailers as possible and 2. focus on making things as overdone as possible, in true japanese style, and with no regard for versimillitude.
An example of 1. would be the deamon hunter trailer, which is, frankly, patently retarded. A woman comes out of nowhere, starts saying "there's always a choice" completely unprovoked, and then proceeds to shoot the enemy with her machine guns. Of course, after countless hours of Hollywood we are conditioned to think that "there's always a choice" has something to do with a deeper meaning, but in this movie its just derp.

The picture on page 2 would be an example of my second point. I mean, what happens when that woman raises her left arm? Think about it.

These trailers also manages to completely take any feeling of danger out of the setting - I mean, we see demons being killed left and right as just so much cannon fodder, it's hard to feel that there is any sort of danger to them.

StBishop:

phoenix352:
i want this out NOW >.<
common people finish it faster.

I read that as "Common (like not noble) people finish it faster"
Rather than "Come on people, finish it faster!"

I thought it was one of those weird sayings like: "Blondes have more fun"
"Queenslanders love it in the sand"
"Baketballers get it done up top"

Sort of like a jingle or catch phrase for commoners.

Anyway, I thought you were implying that Blizzard'd dev. team are a higher being than mere mortal humans, who take their time to make it perfect.
Which is why SC2 took so long and D3 is taking so long.

You made my day. That was hilarious.

Anyway, Blizzard always takes ages to release games. I much rather wait for a finished game than get a buggy game now.

While this is very interesting, I do have to point out the ridiculous implementation of someone using light crossbows who fires them like pistols. The demon hunter turns me right off. An over-sexualised female gunslinger without pistols, yet acting like she does have pistols.

Could have gone crossbow and bayonet, and focus on ranged and close skills, but no, got to spam the ranged and make something that makes no sense. Bolts cannot be loaded like rounds in spring loaded clips. Tsk tsk tsk.

The monk, the witch doctor, all very cool. This is bollocks.

I certainly agree with Honcho. Not deep, just crap.

Stop smearing your "oh hey look at your money, this is now our money"-sign in our faces, Blizzard. I mean, "Demon Hunter", really?
You mean THIS Demon Hunter? http://classic.battle.net/war3/nightelf/units/demonhunter.shtml

Oh and Diablo 3's Demon Hunter uses "Fan of Knives". You mean the Warcraft 3 Warden's Fan of Knives? http://classic.battle.net/war3/nightelf/units/warden.shtml
I mean seriously Blizzard.

EDIT: Double-post as mentioned below.

*Wink*
http://classic.battle.net/war3/nightelf/units/demonhunter.shtml
*Winkwink*
http://classic.battle.net/war3/nightelf/units/warden.shtml

*Winkwinkwink*
The D3 Demon Hunter uses Fan of Knives, """borrowed""" (yes the quotation marks are quoted) from the Warden from WC3:TFT and accidentally shares the same name the "Demon Hunter" with a class from the same game. [WC3]

Stop rubbing your "hey look, this is your money and now it is ours"-signs in our faces Blizzard. I know you are going to sell ridiculous amounts of this game, but seriously now.

EDIT: Double-post because of slow refreshing time on the forums.

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