BlizzCon 2011: Diablo 3 Interview — Mods, eSports, Female Diablo?
GF: Will D3 compete with League of Legends, DOTA 2, and other MOBA titles in the eSports scene?
Absolutely not. There is no intention to make D3 into an eSport, and we are actively making design decisions to prevent it as being perceived as or even accidentally falling into the area of eSports. It’s something we’re very aware of. The intention is to recognize that players want to beat the crap out of each other, and to find a better way for them to do so than what D2 offered.
PvP of the past wasn’t so much a feature as it was an afterthought, or at least that’s the way it felt. So the way people tended to beat each other up was by socially engineering them into a situation in which they could quickly die. And that wasn’t very fun.
So by creating its own space for PvP, we could keep the element of fun, but do it in a place where it’s fair.
GF: When D3 was first announced, people were comparing the art style to World of Warcraft, and a petition was even started to make the game darker and grittier. What are your thoughts on that?
That’s actually a funny story from my perspective, because we announced the game at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational, and there was that initial reaction you described. Then, three to four months later there was BlizzCon, where we showed something really dark, and if you know anything about us, it takes us a while to develop things. We don’t just pull things out of thin air in a month or two. So just goes to show that we were developing what we intended to be a dark-looking game all along — we were aiming for the game that you see today, which looks very dark and very gritty, very visceral. We just happened to have the most polished parts of the game at WWI, which were the brighter areas of the game.
It was also always our intention to create a wider scope in the game by creating some areas that were a little bit lighter than D2, because there’s a limitation to how dark you can make this game before it becomes off-putting. If everything you see on the screen is dark and bloody and covered in gore, then you can become desensitized to it, and there’s no longer a sense of scope or contrast. So the best way for us to create that wider scope was to try to make some areas that were very dark and surpassed D2, but also make some areas that pulled back, so you could refresh the darkness as you moved through the game.
Essentially, there were misconceptions about the artistic direction we were taking because of what we initially showed at WWI.
GF: Diablo is being depicted in a drastically different art style than in D2; less hulking, more slender. Care to comment?
We had a lot of talk early on about how we should bring Diablo back, what we should aim for in the art style perspective. A lot of monsters are re-treated when brought back from game to game. One of the discussions centered around him being the Lord of Terror, and whether we needed him to be massive in order to equate terror. In the end, the feeling was that wasn’t necessarily the way to convey terror. That’s when we started exploring lots of different takes on Diablo, dozens and dozens and dozens of different concepts, including one where he was half-snake…
GF: You’ve been using the pronoun “he.” Is Diablo definitely male?
You know, demons don’t really have a gender.
GF: There’s a theory going around that Diablo may be female, based on the art we’ve seen. With the newly revealed Black Soulstone cinematic, I’m sure people will wonder if Leah will become the new Dark Wanderer and host to Diablo, explaining Diablo’s feminine features.
Play the game and find out.
GF: D2 had the Secret Cow Level; will D3 have any call-backs to that, or other secret levels?
So you’re asking about secrets?
It’s a secret.
GF: Some theories suggest that Tyrael will play a villain in D3. Could the events of Diablo 2 have corrupted Tyrael? What is Tyrael’s role in the story?
Tyrael is in the story. I can’t comment further without going into spoiler territory.
GF: StarCraft 2′s story was intended to be told as a trilogy. Will D3 be a self-contained story?
That’s difficult to answer without getting into spoiler territory.
GF: D3 already has more visual customization options than D2. Will we possibly see a feature like WoW’s Transmogrification down the line?
I really can’t comment on whether or not we would do that. Our goal is to deliver the features we’ve announced so far, which would be the dyes.