GB Feature: Diablo II Retrospective

With at least three separate Diablo titles in development - Diablo IV, Diablo Immortal, and a Diablo II remaster - we felt that it would be a good time to author a retrospective for the original sequel and its Lord of Destruction expansion pack, while also providing some history around Blizzard North and evaluating the action RPG scene as it exists over two decades later. Here is a little something on the history side:
After leaving Blizzard North, Bill Roper, David Brevik, Erich Schaefer and Max Schaefer founded Flagship Studios alongside some other Blizzard North people and created Hellgate: London, a cult-classic first/third-person action-RPG that was ahead of its time and can be seen as a precursor to the massive these days Destiny-style looter-shooter games.

Following that, the Schaefer brothers founded Runic Games, the studio behind the Torchlight series, the third entry in which was recently released by Echtra Games. That one was founded by Max Schaefer, while Erich, together with Runic’s co-founder Travis Baldree, went on to work on the Rebel Galaxy series as Double Damage Games.

In the meantime, David Brevik worked with Turbine to create Dungeons & Dragons Online, then became a one-man team in Graybeard Games, and is now running Skystone Games, an indie-facing publishing house. And Bill Roper joined Cryptic Studios to work on Champions Online and Star Trek Online, and then followed that up as the VP/GM of Disney Interactive Studios.

This list can honestly go way deeper and include numerous other team members, studios, and projects. But even the above few paragraphs should be enough to drive the point across - even though they didn’t create a lot of games, Blizzard North is a studio with a vast and lasting legacy.