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Default Diablo 3 - Deep in Hell with Leonard Boyarsky

July 2nd, 2008, 16:49
Gamespy has an interview up with Leonard Boyarsky(Troika Games) discussing his work on the storyline and lore aspects of Diablo 3, for which he is lead world designer. Here's a bit from some of his comments:
"I wasn't a hardcore Diablo fan before joining Blizzard," Boyarsky says as we begin talking. "I played them, of course, and I really liked them, but I usually like a lot more story depth in my games." According to Boyarsky, what drew him to the project was what he sees as the franchise's untapped potential for storytelling. "A lot of people are afraid that we're going to slow the gameplay down by enriching the story parts of the game. We're not doing that at all." The idea is to use some simple cinematic techniques such as dialogue rather than monologue to convey quest information and crafting richer backstories for the main characters that will be reflected in their artwork and the way they view the central action of the story.
…Unlike the previous games in which the player's avatar was more archetype than actual character, the classes in Diablo III are designed with complete backstories including who they were before the story began, why they're interested in the events of Diablo III, and who they are as people…. Boyarsky also cites the new city of Caldeum that became the seat of government when Karast fell in Diablo II. How an open-trade city changes when its freewheeling style is co-opted by colorless government bureaucrats is something that informs everything from character development to artwork to the nature of quests.
Thanks to Remus for posting this link in his forum thread on all things Diablo 3.
More information.

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July 2nd, 2008, 16:49
Really nice, i like a lot when in the gameplay movie, when the barbarian is with the 2 archers and deckard cain and they begin talking in middle of the action, and when the 1st archer die
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July 2nd, 2008, 17:26
"A lot of people are afraid that we're going to slow the gameplay down by enriching the story parts of the game.
That just adds to my prejudice against action-RPGs.

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July 2nd, 2008, 18:04
Greg Howson (The Guardian) also got an interview with Leonard Boyarsky that you can see here.
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July 2nd, 2008, 19:36
wow leonard boyarsky is lead designer on this. it just went from buy for less than 20 months after release to now less than 40. who knows these may beat out starcraft 2 for which one gets a collector's edition bought. i do like the supposed 'attempt' though in both games to incorportate more storytelling.

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July 2nd, 2008, 19:42
Originally Posted by curiously undead View Post
wow leonard boyarsky is lead designer on this.
Lead world designer. Jay Wilson is lead designer.

Jay Wilson is - of course - also a well-known game person. Lookie here

Originally Posted by curiously undead View Post
i do like the supposed 'attempt' though in both games to incorportate more storytelling.
Attempt or not, one thing Leonard spoke about at the WWI was making dialogue interactive: gone are the long monologues of the first two, in come interactive dialogues.

Also, the PCs will be more fleshed out.

Also, NPCs will banter, and be strongly cultural-specific and what-not. Not much detail there, yet.
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July 2nd, 2008, 20:52
Whhhohho, that's what I call news.
Mr. Boyarsky works on Diablo3? I'm sold - will buy the thing for sure.

No, I'm not some gayish fanboy freak, my reasons are very simple:
1. Action RPG is good if done right (IMHO: Divine Divinity, Baldur's Gate-Dark Alliance), so I am not going to expect the next Troika-RPG goodness here.
2. The aforementioned games had very simple stories, thus, while the game mechanics were spot on, the actual depth was shallower than Stallone's acting repertoire.
3. Diablo was hyped because of its incredibe STORYtelling cinematics. Although the animation was stunning, there was no story to speak of.

So, I expect quirky, but believable stories now (Fallout, Arcanum, VtM:B anyone?), with all the tried and tested, easy-to-access-for-the-massess gameplay of the Diablo series.
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July 2nd, 2008, 21:21
Originally Posted by duerer View Post
3. Diablo was hyped because of its incredibe STORYtelling cinematics. Although the animation was stunning, there was no story to speak of.
Yes there was story. It was actually pretty decent. And if you read the books and other lore material, you find out it's quite good.
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July 2nd, 2008, 22:18
Originally Posted by danutz_plusplus View Post
Yes there was story. It was actually pretty decent. And if you read the books and other lore material, you find out it's quite good.
How does reading a book suddenly tell you that the story in a game is good? Maybe the story in the book was just good
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July 2nd, 2008, 22:38
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
How does reading a book suddenly tell you that the story in a game is good? Maybe the story in the book was just good
The books, actually novels, were written to complement the story in the game and to detail certain events that are maybe just mentioned in the game. I found them quite interesting, and it proves that Diablo's story has a lot of potential. I'm hoping they really use that potential in part 3.
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July 3rd, 2008, 11:17
Originally Posted by danutz_plusplus View Post
And if you read the books and other lore material, you find out it's quite good.
The emphasis lies on "if".

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July 3rd, 2008, 15:45
Originally Posted by danutz_plusplus View Post
Yes there was story. It was actually pretty decent. And if you read the books and other lore material, you find out it's quite good.
So if I write a book abt minesweeper then the game suddenly has a story?

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July 3rd, 2008, 16:12
Originally Posted by zakhal View Post
So if I write a book abt minesweeper then the game suddenly has a story?
What!? You haven't read Minesweeper: Ship of Glory? For shame

If there was a great story in Diablo, they did a good job of hiding it ;-) I have no illusions about D3…sadly I know *exactly* what to expect. Of course, it will be a critical success and everyone will go gaga and spew forth about how "awesome" it is etc etc. I think I'll go swipe and airline barf bag in preparation.
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July 3rd, 2008, 17:17
Originally Posted by zakhal View Post
So if I write a book abt minesweeper then the game suddenly has a story?
Diablo already has a story. The noves just build up on that, and complement it. The game's story is told through monologues and cinematics.

If people missed it I guess people weren't paying enough attention.
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July 3rd, 2008, 19:35
I think the story in it was just too … simple to be caught by highly sophisticated minds.

Or maybe hidden in plain sight ?

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July 3rd, 2008, 22:44
I could type a long post describing the story, and so forth and so on, but there reallly isn't any point. Diablo—which is far from an rpg— has a story very similar to most rpgs. That would be saving the world from evil and being a hero and all the usual conventions, but it was never intended to be the primary focus of the game. If Boyarsky can use story a bit more in Diablo III—which is what the newspost states—I don't see why that's something that needs to be ridiculed.

If everyone is so desperately in need of a story maybe they might get a book? Or a real rpg? It's like criticizing baseball because there are no goalposts.

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July 3rd, 2008, 22:57
I dont mind games that dont have story but I dont see the need to explain that there is a real story in the game when there isnt. Its like saying that wolfenstain 3d, doom, duke3d or samurai warrior (they had monologues and cinematics too) have stories when the games are all about shooting up stuff in 3d with boomsticks.

The fact that people advertise that diablo rpg has a story just make people who want action-rpgs with story (i.e divine divinity) disappointed.

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Last edited by zakhal; July 3rd, 2008 at 23:07.
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July 3rd, 2008, 23:12
Originally Posted by zakhal View Post
I dont mind games that dont have story but I dont see the need to explain that there is a real story in the game when there isnt. Its like saying that wolfenstain 3d, doom, duke3d or samurai warrior (they had monologues and cinematics too) have stories when the games are all about shooting up stuff in 3d with boomsticks.

The fact that people advertise that diablo rpg has a story just make people who want action-rpgs with story (i.e divine divinity) disappointed.
So when DOES a game have a story? When there is more than X lines of dialog? When there is X amount of written text? When the intro is more than X seconds long?

The story in Diablo is not deep as in Planescape:Torment. No one is saying that, but to claim that there is NO story in Diablo at all is just plain silly.

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July 3rd, 2008, 23:39
Originally Posted by fatBastard() View Post
So when DOES a game have a story?
If you have played divine divinity and diablo then you know there is a world of difference. If you call diablo an action-rpg with story then what do you call divine divinity as? If we call every rpg a story rpg no matter how miniscule the story element is (how abt one cutsceen and two monologues?), then the whole definition looses its meaning.

Duke3d had a story too - the main character cracked jokes all the time during the game and there were cutsceens in it too - but I dont remember anyone calling it a story shooter.But in the end you can of course call it anything you like - its just a matter of taste. For me though few monologues and pretty cutsceens does not a story make in a roleplaying game. I want to roleplay a story - not a monologue or cutsceen (how do you roleplay a cutsceen video?).

Also before you argue read the phrase which started this argument:
Yes there was story. It was actually pretty decent.
Somone claimed that diablo2 has a good story? That sounds like its planescape torment or somthing (the game people usually praise for a good story).

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Last edited by zakhal; July 4th, 2008 at 01:01.
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July 4th, 2008, 00:58
Closer to the truth is that the world of Diablo is very well fleshed out. The premise of a great story indeed is there, as shown in some of the books (I even liked one of them). Point taken that none of the 2 games so far has bother to tell the actual story - it's more of an excuse as to what is there and why you are supposedly motivated to go and get it - since we all know the better reason - better loot. But if you bothered, it was interesting to read all of what's written as dialogue, it had some interesting lore pieces.

So far, nomatter what Boyarsky, as much as I admire him for his previous work, says, he can't convince me that D3 will tell a story as well. But his work will probably not go to waste, as it will make us a better excuses to kil… actually to loot stuff of some demon.
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