Diablo III's lead world designer Leonard Boyarsky claims that multiplayer made player choice impossible.
Leonard Boyarsky, the lead world designer on Diablo III, first made a name for himself writing the branching and varied storylines of the original Fallout series. So, it seemed odd for Blizzard to hire him to write Diablo III's straight-as-an-arrow linear story. In an interview with PC Games N, Boyarsky reveals that this wasn't always the case, as the original version of Diablo III had branching storylines and moral choices. He says that in the end, the multiplayer aspect of the game was what made player choice impossible.
"It's because [action RPGs] move quickly, but I think the bigger issue has to do with multiplayer," he explained. "Because if we offer you two different paths and I want to take a different path to my friend, how do we then reconcile that?"
He said that while other multiplayer action RPGs have attempted down this path anyway, the result is always incredibly lackluster, and not really worth the effort. "If I'm making an RPG where you have choice, I want it to matter," he said. "And it was really not possible to make it matter and to make this game."
Boyarsky revealed that his original vision had branching conversation choices - and a 'corruption' system would have seen players gain access to different conversation options as their characters fell from grace.
In the end, he felt that the team didn't put a high enough priority on the game's story. "I think eventually we came down too hard on the side of the players who didn't really want a lot to do with the story," said Boyarsky. "And that was very problematic because our story started out as something a lot more complex than we could probably tell in the context of what we were doing."
Source: PC Games N