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Following the grand reveal of Diablo IV at this year's BlizzCon, the folks over at AusGamers had a lengthy chat with Blizzard Entertainment's game director Luis Barriga and art director John Mueller. This resulted in a massive two-part interview where the first part is dedicated to Diablo IV's story and lore, while the second part revolves around the technology fueling the game, character design, trading, and PvP. Here are a few sample paragraphs from the former:
“It started with that very natural conversation about what we both thought this game might look like,” John recalls. “Luis, his vision was that Diablo was three things; darkness, world, and legacy. That was where Diablo started.”
For the team at Blizzard it was a mix of both a need to tap into Diablo’s inherent darkness and history that led to new art being created to, as the project leads put it, “feel the tone out”. One of these pieces presented the creation of Sanctuary, as seen through the lens of renaissance or almost medieval art. Depicted in the image was the angel Inarius and the demon Lilith, and when viewed in this light it was a chance to experience Diablo in way that hadn’t been seen before.
“Once we saw the art we were inspired, [Lilith] was a character that we could build a story around,” Luis says. “What we love about Sanctuary is that we've already planted these seeds. There’s a rich backstory found in novels and lore books, so we decided to look closer at the creation myth. We felt that we’ve fought Diablo before, and Diablo always comes back – so, it was a case of, what other bullets do we have on the table just lying around."
“Diablo IV is like the first chapter of a book,” John adds. “We want to tell a big story and we want to tell it, hopefully, for a very long time. Treating this like the first chapter of a book and Lilith as a key character in this story, it feels great knowing that there are still all these other characters that could come back in the future. Or, new characters that we haven’t seen before.”
“It also changes up the formula,” Luis explains, noting that the villain that doubles as the title for the game and franchise – has not suddenly been relegated to the history books. “In [Diablo III expansion] Reaper of Souls if you go up against Diablo, after playing to max level - it’s a battle that’s almost like a like a minor speed bump. Malthael became the real boss. So, it’s also, what if we don't bring him back right away? And instead, take the time to explore some of these other characters first.”