The last of the public Diablo 3 panels came at the very tail end of this year’s Blizzcon. Hosted by Lead World Designer Leon Boyarsky and Art Director Brian Morrisroe, the panel covered the art and lore for Diablo 3.
Diablo 3 begins 20 years after the fall of the Worldstone. Deckard Cain is wandering the world in despair bemoaning the fact that this new generation of people doesn’t believe him when he tells them the war is not over yet. The sense of history is missing from the collective consciousness. It’s not the same world anymore.
D2 fans will remember that the destruction of the Worldstone utterly trashed the economy in Kurast. Because of this, the D3 merchant center will be in Caledeum, a materialistic trade city.
This is all well and good but Boyarsky wanted players to know that the world doesn’t center on their character (much to MY disappointment, LOL!) and folks will have much more to talk about as a result. For instance, players will hear a lot about Skovos, the spiritual, legendary, mythological city of the Amazon and Askari.
The goal here is to develop and show off a world with a richer history and give players a deeper story. Players will have a context for their action, at least in theory, beyond running out into the wilderness and killing monsters.
History is told through the environment and it offers players a visual elements (i.e. ruins), bite sized chunks of information and gives hints to players.
From this point, Art Director Brian Morrisroe took over. This, of course, was probably the high point of the panel given the controversy on the Internet over the art tone.
Morrisroe told us that the main goals of the D3 art department are to respect the franchise, to meet the expectations set by the previous games and to give players the sense that they are exploring a new visual world. Much of the game will have a handcrafted look due to the isometric view embodied D3.
Interestingly, Morrisroe showed the audience a variety of screenshots from the original Diablo and from Diablo 2. Surprising to some, color plays a big part in both games. The franchise isn’t afraid of color and D3 should be no exception. Color conveys mood and the use of accent colors grabs they eye. The palettes are the same as used in D2 and they bring the horror vibe to D3. The look of Diablo 3 is right, folks. There’s nothing wrong with it and it fits the past and sets a tone for D3.
While D3 is stylized, it’s not “cartoony”. I mean, come on. This is an altered and alternative reality and things should be stylized.
“Explosions are good”. Yeah, we heard that again. The lore and the art style bears that out. They have created an environment that is explosive both in story and in reality. Blizzard has tuned the Diablo franchise to a fine and well-oiled machine and it shows.