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Default Diablo 3 - What We Know So Far @ Shacknews

July 2nd, 2008, 02:12
Shacknews has a nicely constructed FAQ on Diablo 3, broken down into different categories. Here's the general overview part:
  • Largely follows in the style of past Diablo games.
  • Controls and camera kept simple, but depth of combat enhanced.
  • The story takes place 20 years after the events of Diablo II.
  • Greater emphasis has been placed on a character-driven story.
  • Targeting a length similar to Diablo II, which ran four acts.
  • Uses a new in-house 3D engine and the Havok physics engine.
  • Has been in development for four or five years. Was rebooted after Blizzard North shut down in March 2005.
  • The game is "really far along," and is "really fun to play already." (Source: GameSpot)
  • Dev team now up to 50-55 employees.
  • Will ship simultaneously on Mac and PC.
  • No plans for a console version.
  • No decisions made on financial model.
  • Blizzard challenged themselves to add color to the art style while maintaining the dark, gothic feel of the previous titles.
Looking at the last one, some fans have started a partition to express their disappointment on the artistic direction - an interesting counterpoint to the articles arguing Diablo 3 is a faithful sequel, while Fallout 3 has gone to the dogs.
More information.
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July 2nd, 2008, 02:12
Just wait till the financial model question gets popped.
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July 2nd, 2008, 02:19
The art director Brian Morrisroe talked about the colour pallet in his WWI showing, and notes two things:

1. Diablo I/II was less dark on replaying it than the team had remembered it; so memory discolours perception
2. Diablo III does take the colour pallet further, he recognizes this and even mentions he knows it's going to be a controversial decision

So yes, it is a change, but one taking what was already happening between Diablo I and II and taking it further. I get why fans are upset about it, though no one wants a fully stagnant franchise, SC 2 had the same problem. Blizzard adapted a bit there, they might pull back a bit here though I think they were aware of the popular implications of the change.

It's an interesting topic, tho', hopefully it'll be discussed more in interviews with Blizzard in the coming time.

(but a complaint not shared by all fans (people who complain about this are received as "trolls" on the battle.net forum) about one elements (art direction) hardly stands as a counterpoint to the many, many complaints about Fallout 3's overall direction)

Also, to actually argue the point a bit, I feel the fans who are saying this are dead wrong.

If you look at some of their mockups (here, here, here), you'll find that what they're suggesting is turning Diablo III from experimenting with colour pallets (in a well-reasoned way, from what I've heard of Morrisroe), to turning to that godawful "brown is real" grey look that we know from every single "dark" FPS that we've seen for the past decade. If Blizzard wants to battle this god awful trend, I'm all for it.

I mean, friggin' look at this. That just screams bland, no artistic feel whatsoever.

In fact, take a look at some Diablo II screenshots. It's pretty apparent they are simply wrong, Diablo II is not nearly as dark as the mock-ups they've made to enable to show the "right way". I mean, look at this, or this, or this and tell me they're not simply wrong about their viewing of Diablo's "true look".
Last edited by Arhu; July 2nd, 2008 at 02:44. Reason: nothing edited, I just had a display issue
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July 2nd, 2008, 02:32
The examples of changes provided on the petition page looks very reasonable to me, so i signed.
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July 2nd, 2008, 02:43
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
turning to that godawful "brown is real" grey look that we know from every single "dark" FPS that we've seen for the past decade. If Blizzard wants to battle this god awful trend, I'm all for it.
Valid point. I read a very interesting blog article about the issue of colors in games:

I Miss Color

In that light, the new Diablo style does look more fun, even if it may have a different atmosphere from the original. I believe that players will get over this eventually, Blizzard will have created a new standard (even if it's not true and there were others before, you can't ignore the impact of their games) and the masses will flock around the game and keep on playing just like they always do.

"Mystery is important. To know everything, to know the whole truth, is dull. There is no magic in that. Magic is not knowing, magic is wondering about what and how and where." ~ Cortez, from The Longest Journey
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July 2nd, 2008, 02:45
Samwise did some work on the Diablo series as I certainly remember this and this from the LoD booklet.
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July 2nd, 2008, 02:52
Originally Posted by Arhu View Post
In that light, the new Diablo style does look more fun, even if it may have a different atmosphere from the original.
That I wonder about.

Remember, Diablo had a more horror-atmosphere. Diablo II was dark, but not horror-ish, it was more just dreary. There was never the shock of "Ahhh, fresh meat!" The colour palette was certainly sharper.

So there's barely a consistent style to deviate *from*, as you can adapt either style. What I don't really get is that Diablo III looks more like Diablo II, but if you listen to Morrisroe speak at WWI he talks about returning to that horror feel of Diablo I and just using the colour more effectively for horror purposes.
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July 2nd, 2008, 03:12
Maybe they are trying to go for some sort of psychedelic horror this time?

Nah, just kidding. I looked some more at the before/after screenshots and I do like Blizzard's version better. The darker versions look just.. bland, you can barely make out what's happening. Like, "oh, there's something moving over there.. but I'm indifferent, because it looks like everything else."

As for a horror feel with those new colors, I'm not sure. Looking at some Diablo screenshots it really wasn't too different then, so I guess they could indeed make it work. The feel of darkness was probably mostly due to the fog of war or the relatively small light radius down in the dungeons. What also has to be kept in mind is that there's so much still images can't show. Background music, effects, scripting, lighting, shadow plays - all of which can shape the atmosphere in many different directions.

PS: The light radius from Diablo II is one thing they should definitely keep, however.

PPS: Ah.. well, maybe they could find some kind of middle ground? Some of the "after" screenshots do look better, while some are overkill.

"Mystery is important. To know everything, to know the whole truth, is dull. There is no magic in that. Magic is not knowing, magic is wondering about what and how and where." ~ Cortez, from The Longest Journey
Last edited by Arhu; July 2nd, 2008 at 03:21.
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July 2nd, 2008, 04:25
I'll point 3 other things wrong with the art direction which take me away from the Diablo universe.



apparently you have to click here->
http://img201.imageshack.us/my.php?image=d3gn5.png
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July 2nd, 2008, 04:49
Originally Posted by Arhu View Post
PPS: Ah.. well, maybe they could find some kind of middle ground? Some of the "after" screenshots do look better, while some are overkill.
I do hope so.

Bloom, in particular, is one thing Diablo does not need.

(I don't exactly see how the floor constitutes cartoon, tho', zzajin)
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July 2nd, 2008, 05:30
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
(I don't exactly see how the floor constitutes cartoon, tho', zzajin)
Looks like to me it was influenced more by a cartoon rather than Diablo. Too many soft edges.
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July 2nd, 2008, 07:14
I smell they are preparing the ground for a Diablo MMO game
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July 2nd, 2008, 09:21
Diablo 2 was fairly cartoonish already - which is especially apparent in the character class designs and animations.

I personally preferred the style of Diablo 1, but the gameplay of Diablo 2.

I'm not sure the style and atmosphere of Diablo 3 will impact my enjoyment all that much, but I'm pretty convinced that Blizzard have the resources to impress me no matter what style they choose.

That said, one of the most appealing aspects of the original Diablo - to me, anyway - was the fact that you ALWAYS descended deeper and deeper into the ground. It really felt like a journey towards hell, and I must say I enjoyed that kind of experience.

Diablo 2 was bland in terms of exploration, mostly because of the vast, random, and empty overland areas. It was just too much, especially in Act 3 where the jungle seemed endless. Also, they made a big mistake in making all the dungeons so small and samey. Diablo 1 was basically just one giant dungeon, which worked a lot better from where I'm sitting.

Obviously, they're not going back to D1 style, and if that's excluded I think they're handling it correctly with more focus on dense and less random areas - with more scripted events.
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July 2nd, 2008, 10:34
Well having not bought Diablo 1 and 2 on release, only much later when they were budget, I have to say the current art direction has me much more likely to buy D3 on release. I don't want a horror game, I want something slightly arcady, fun, vibrant and with nice environments that I thing are aesthetically pleasing. Yes, give me gloomy dungeons where lighting is dramatic, but also give me lush forests to better contrast it.
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July 2nd, 2008, 10:45
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
[*]Greater emphasis has been placed on a character-driven story.
If this is anywhere near Dungeon Siege II, this game might actually be worth my time. I wouldn't dream of replaying Diablo II today due to the lack of story.
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July 2nd, 2008, 11:17
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
Well having not bought Diablo 1 and 2 on release, only much later when they were budget, I have to say the current art direction has me much more likely to buy D3 on release. I don't want a horror game, I want something slightly arcady, fun, vibrant and with nice environments that I thing are aesthetically pleasing. Yes, give me gloomy dungeons where lighting is dramatic, but also give me lush forests to better contrast it.
I wouldn't go so far as to call Diablo a horror game - but it definitely nailed the gothic feeling, which Diablo 2 didn't do for me. I was particularly fond of the mob art direction and death animations - which somehow didn't work as well in Diablo 2. I think of Diablo 2 as more of a cartoon, which just isn't my style though I can live with it. I feel much the same way about WoW - which is a great game, but I don't like the cartoonish feel - especially not when its combined with constant pop culture references, as it takes me out of the world, rather than inside it. I'm very much about immersion. But I fully appreciate the technical advantages of doing low-poly cartoon graphics, and I prefer that over resourse intensive "realistic" graphics. With Diablo, it was fully 2D, so the art direction didn't need to be "cartoonish" to play fluently. However, since they went with that in Diablo 2 also, which was 2D as well, it seems a mixture of conscious aesthetic choice AND performance considerations - and I think the latter is something people tend to miss. I could be wrong about that, though.

Also, I'm a big fan of both gothic style in general and gothic horror - so I understand where others might differ.
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July 2nd, 2008, 11:47
Originally Posted by Arhu View Post
Valid point. I read a very interesting blog article about the issue of colors in games:

I Miss Color
This is what I wrote as a comment into their blog :

I wholeheartly agree to the "I miss colour" statement.

Especially on the PC platform, colourful games have died out. Everything's dark & gritty.

Is this the wish of the fans or of the marketing ?

Is the marketing / the devs assuming that a dark & gritty look is more favourable ?

One thought I recently encountered is this : A "dark & gritty" look looks more "mature". Colour is for kids & weak whiners.

I think that this could be the basis on which these decisions are built upon.
I do strongly believe in that "dark = mature" thought pattern. My intuition (to which I trust very much) says that this is the point.

So, in the end this just adds, nothing more, to the overall scheme I have found out a few years ago : The PC platform is mutating into a simple "action platform". Driven by the bigger companies.

Because outside of "real action", there's not much anymore. At least when i browse through current gaming magazines and I find 99 % dark, non-colourful action games that pretend to be hard, dark, grity and mature. Alone in the Dark and GTA belong to the most prominent examples of this.

Sacred would be a huge exception, and I could very well believe some ranatical fanbois out there saying: "Sacred is for whiners, because it's colourful."


On the other hand, colourful, bright games are sooo much more prominent on consoles that the contrast in comparison to PC games is ihmo just striking.

Bright, colourful games are sooo much more prominent on consoles that they make the eyes of a gamers used to dark, gritty colours almost bleed.

(And as a sidenote, the phrase of "dark & gritty" has almost become a term in itself.)

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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July 2nd, 2008, 16:08
Diablo 1 was so dark, there were levels where I could hardly see my enemies, navigate around room, or find the entrance/exit, so I certainly don't want that kind of dark setting again. Diablo 2 was certainly pretty decent as far as colours go, but I don't mind a brighter setting. Sacred was pretty bright, and that was a very good hack'n slash.
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July 2nd, 2008, 16:58
Just when I think that i like things pretty dark, doomy, and "realistic" looking, I play a bright and colorful cartoonish game and enjoy it immensely. Diablo was markedly darker both in graphical style and tone (even the sound was scarier), but I definitely prefer DII and logged a zillion more hours in it. It's a given that DII also brought a lot more to the table in terms of replayability, and just the pacing of the game was so much better, but overall I liked the art direction far better and it seemed to draw me in more. The original Diablo was D&D-lite for the pc, Diablo II was bringing the series into it's own. I'm very eager to see where they go w/ DIII.

So far, I like what I see of the new Diablo, I just hope that the "financial model" is "buy the game", w/ the option of a collectors edition. I'll do that. Anything more is going to piss me off!
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July 2nd, 2008, 19:08
14,000 odd signatures on that petition… i can`t believe it… they should be thankful Blizzard decided to do Diablo 3, i know i am, i`ve waited long enough. I played Diablo 1 and 2 to bits, and i still play Diablo 2 now.

If i want a more `gothic` feel/atmosphere, i`ll just alter my monitor settings. In the meantime, i`m soaking up every bit of info i get from Diablo 3. One on the top PC games ever, imho, that is

We`ve waited years, and all people can do is complain. Sad.

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