Blizzard Prototyped a Sci-fi Diablo, Diablo II Behind-the-Scenes Details

Two new snippets of info on the Diablo series (here and here) have been published by Shacknews via Stay Awhile and Listen author David Craddock. This time we learn of how one of the priorities in Diablo II's development was a hacking fix and the doubts over the direction of the title at Blizzard North. Furthermore, we're also told that a "Starblo", a sci-fi version of Diablo, was in development for a time.

Here's a couple of snippets:
"For Diablo 2, Blizzard North wanted to break out of the first game's vertical mode and create a larger world with lots of varied locations to explore," Craddock said. "Over time, the team hit on some drawbacks. They added the ability to run in order to explore new regions more quickly, but running meant if the going got tough, the tough could just get going. Second, many on the team missed the original game's grittier environments, which had largely been put aside in favor of grasslands, jungles, and deserts that, while beautiful, certainly couldn't be described as "gothic horror," Diablo 1's trademark theme.

"Most of the team's reservations came from an attachment to the mechanics that had made Diablo 1 so much fun, such as the slower, more strategic march through claustrophobic dungeons. Eventually, Blizzard North came to embrace Diablo 2 as its own game, one that needed to step away from the original in some ways," he said. "Creating lots of new environments gave them the opportunity to expand Diablo's world and mythology, and presented players with a change of scenery just around the time they might start to feel bored of their current region. Running left Diablo 1's emphasis on picking through dungeons carefully and methodically in the dust, but it also broadened the sequel's mainstream appeal and punched the pace up considerably."


"The project earned the nickname Starblo for its mix of a space setting and the action-RPG formula that made Diablo so successful," he said. "Like Diablo 2, Starblo would take place over several acts, but rather than journey across a single world, players would board their customizable spaceship and travel to new planets, killing and looting the space creatures they found there. By the time Dave Brevik and the Schaefers left Blizzard North in summer 2003, the Starblo team had produced a few playable builds of the game, but still hadn't come up with a proper name."