Grizzled old survivor of the Diablo series? Naw, Deckard Cain is a 16-year-old kid.
File this under “little known trivia that makes me feel incredibly old.”
Prior to the release of Diablo at the tail-end of 1996, Blizzard Entertainment teamed with PC Gamer magazine for a promotional campaign that would allow a fan to have his or her name added to the then-upcoming blockbuster. These kinds of promotions are relatively common, but what makes this particular instance special is that Diablo went on to become one of the highest-selling, most critically acclaimed gaming series in history and the particular NPC saddled with the fan’s name became the series’ only true recurring character.
Though he didn’t realize the historical significance of the act, a Blizzard fan from South Dakota decided to submit his newborn son’s name for scrutiny. That boy’s full, legal name? “Deckard Cain Elder.”
I’ll let lil’ Deckard tell the rest of the tale:
My name is Deckard Cain Elder, and I am 16 years old. When I was just a baby, Blizzard had a surprise drawing for Diablo with very vague details. All anyone knew was that if they wanted to be a part of the drawing, they had to send a postcard to Blizzard with your name on it, and after a said date, they would pick a card at random to win the prize. Being a very big Blizzard fan, my father decided to take part in this. He thought about it for a while, and decided that sense my name is so unique, he would send the postcard in with my name on it instead of his. My first name comes from the Harrison Ford’s character in the movie Blade Runner, my middle name is my mother’s maiden name, and my last name is my fathers family name.
The family heard nothing for half a year after the submission, but then one day a box arrived from sunny California. Inside it included a copy of Diablo, a massively detailed statue of the game’s titular demon, one of those XXXL shirts that gaming companies seem to have billions of and, most importantly, a letter from Diablo producer Bill Roper.
Congratulations! Your postcard was chosen as the winner in PC Gamer’s Name In The Game contest for Diablo by Blizzard Entertainment. As you will notice, the town elder near the fountain locate in the center of Tristram is your namesake.
This story was relayed by the flesh and blood Deckard via a recent Reddit post, alongside pictorial evidence of his claims. The story is legit, based on all the background info I’ve gathered, but more importantly the now-teenaged boy serves as a living reminder of just how many years have passed since the release of Diablo. Young Deckard may live on eternally as one of gaming’s most famous cryptic old men, but the sands of time are slipping by all too quickly for the rest of us.
Thanks for the story kid, and for the bitter reminder of mankind’s inescapable mortality.