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Default Diablo 3 - Bill Roper on the Art Style

March 18th, 2009, 12:02
Heady stuff…VideoGamer has interviewed Bill Roper (now working on Champions Online with Cryptic) about the art style in Diablo 3:
When asked if he was disappointed or pleased with Diablo's new art style, Roper, who is now design director and executive producer of Atari-owned Cryptic Studios, and in charge of Champions Online, a superhero MMO due out on PC this spring, said: "You know, I liked the darker grittier. I liked the differences in art style, to be honest. So, I think I would personally from a player standpoint prefer that.
More information.
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March 18th, 2009, 12:02
Sorry, Bill, your opinion has ceased to be relevant.

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PS Yes, I know I'm being, slightly, irrational- but it's the "slightly" that nails it (and that's not just the sleeping pill talking).
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March 18th, 2009, 12:52
Series' architect 'prefers dark and gritty', but reckons new art style 'makes complete sense'.

Yeah, right. Series architect. Diablo 1 was in development before Blizzard bought the company and turned it into Blizzard North. And to my knowledge he was there just after Blizzard create Blizzard North. Other more important people were the series architects. Roper was more of a figure-head and PR person. A face for the company. Way too much recognition for him.

Originally Posted by wikipedia
Blizzard North was originally an independent company. It was established in 1993 under the name Condor, founded by Max Schaefer, Erich Schaefer, and David Brevik. The company was purchased and renamed by Blizzard about six months before the release of their hit PC game, Diablo, in 1996
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March 18th, 2009, 13:01
Good call, danutz!
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March 18th, 2009, 13:07
They did the old Vikings game, very colourful, I liked that quite much, although the "riddles" became relatively hard in the end (never finished it because of that).

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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March 18th, 2009, 17:40
Who cares when North was founded - it's what they DID that's relevant. Roper has had key roles on both Diablo games - as producer and senior producer.

I don't know if architect is fair - but his opinion is pretty damn valid, as if his position mattered for that to be true anyway.

In the end, there's no person on earth whose opinion on the art style is more relevant than that of anyone else - so to even bring all this up because of Hellgate is silly.

The guy has an opinion - and I agree with him.

Hurray for us - the end.
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March 18th, 2009, 18:08
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
In the end, there's no person on earth whose opinion on the art style is more relevant than that of anyone else - so to even bring all this up because of Hellgate is silly.
Must be hard times for Roper fanbois. Usually you guys are mods, have a majority and/or have something at least subjectively arguable to defend. However, I think you greatly overestimate Roper and underestimate public sentiment over the failure of his last venture.

Let us also not forget that Roper took Travis Baldree's game, Mythos, down in flames as well.

If ripping on Blizzard is Roper's pathway to redemption with fans, I think he's got some ways to fall yet.
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March 18th, 2009, 18:23
Roper has had key roles on both Diablo games - as producer and senior producer.
And what is a producer actually? I'd like to know what exactly did Roper do for the game in terms of serious game development or design (except for doing a couple of voice-overs for characters which is a minor thing). Because most of that work was done by notable people like Max Schaefer, Erich Schaefer, David Brevik along with the real meat of team like other concept artists, graphics artists, programmers and game designers. It's mostly that some guy gets all the glory and fame just because he's become a public figure for the company. Which is exactly what I believe Roper to be. I'm sure he's had his merits, but I believe they're mostly exaggerated.

The only person that I know of that is a public figure and also a serious developer is John Carmack, who I have the deepest respect for. Most other people are just that. A face for the public.
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March 18th, 2009, 18:51
Originally Posted by danutz_plusplus View Post
And what is a producer actually? I'd like to know what exactly did Roper do for the game in terms of serious game development or design (except for doing a couple of voice-overs for characters which is a minor thing). Because most of that work was done by notable people like Max Schaefer, Erich Schaefer, David Brevik along with the real meat of team like other concept artists, graphics artists, programmers and game designers. It's mostly that some guy gets all the glory and fame just because he's become a public figure for the company. Which is exactly what I believe Roper to be. I'm sure he's had his merits, but I believe they're mostly exaggerated.

The only person that I know of that is a public figure and also a serious developer is John Carmack, who I have the deepest respect for. Most other people are just that. A face for the public.
I'm not the one claiming to have details on who did what - that's what you're doing. I'm saying he was a producer - which we can be damn sure is considered an important and key position on any production. You're saying "most of the work" was done by certain key people, as if you had any idea of what you were talking about. So, please, enlighten us with your inside information before you start demanding anything from others.

But it's all irrelevant - because it's simply one guy and his opinion.

The point is that what he did or didn't do on Diablo is irrelevant to his taste in art styles.
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March 18th, 2009, 19:07
Originally Posted by danutz_plusplus View Post
And what is a producer actually?
Ah yes, the old argument rears its ugly head: producers don't make games; developers make games… nice.

Producers, if they are doing their job, contribute tons to game development, including assisting with (or perhaps even writing) game design documents, developing QA strategy (in the form of test plans, test scenarios, etc.), assigning art, programming, and design duties, overseeing voiceover recording, etc. etc. etc. etc. In fact, depending on the size of the project, a developer's job and overall participation in the project might be FAR more limited, such as a developer whose sole job on the team is writing AI code or scripting cut-scenes. The producer tends to get immersed in every aspect of a project, not just one piece of the engine, or one section of 3d art.

Now, I can't say whether Roper's role met this definition of producer, but if it did, I'd say that he has as much claim to project ownership as any single developer on the team.
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March 18th, 2009, 22:23
I probably even agree with Bill Roper's opinion on the art style, but that does not change the fact that as a professional, he would never have made the same derogatory statements if he were still payed by Blizzard. And he would never openly criticise Champions Online now, even if it rings true in his personal opinion, simply because it might hurt sales.

So the truth is that he does not suddenly have an unusual streak of general honesty, but just a very selective one, concerning his previous employer. And he can hope to profit from it by smoothing relations with the fans, about 90 percent of which prefer the darker textures as well. All in all, pretty bad style in my opinion; other people might differ.
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