20 Years of Diablo Retrospective talks to numerous Diablo team members


The team at IGN has put together a 20 year retrospective article which includes comments from the different Diablo teams. Rob Foote, Joe Shely, Julian Love, Russell Brower, Erich Schaefer, and David Brevik all took part to provide some historical commentary.

The article is a couple of pages and there are some interesting quotes from people involved in all the Diablo games. Here are a couple of snips as a primer:

“I think that over the years we’ve just gotten better and better at taking that moment-to-moment aspect of the gameplay and bringing it up to new, higher heights.” Love continues, summing up the transition from the core game to the Reaper of Souls expansion and on to the release of the Necromancer this year. “We really cranked it up in terms of the amount of reward that you get in terms of the effort that you put into it. What you get back from it. I feel like it’s now a game that always gives you way more back than what you put in. And that has just steadily improved over the years.”

“A lot has changed in twenty years,” says David Brevik, looking back at the legacy of the series. “Diablo III is a very different game than Diablo II and Diablo I. Also, Diablo II is a very different game than Diablo I. There’s different people involved and things like that, but the thing that has stayed the same is that people love Diablo. And people love the Diablo franchise. No matter which version is your favourite, people know Diablo. People play Diablo and masses of people love Diablo.”

There’s an interesting note regarding how Blizzard wanted to create a team that could develop the franchise from Diablo 3 and beyond. As most of us know, some key players from the original Diablo 3 team have since moved on.

“There were two goals,” Julian Love says of the transition away from Blizzard North. “One was to make a great Diablo III game. But the second goal was to make a great Diablo III team. One that could go on and keep making Diablo games. That was a big hurdle, and we really needed to be smart in the way that we assembled the team, and be careful and take great care to not just build the next Diablo. But build a team.”

While most of you already know the development story of the series, it’s worth a read.

Comments

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  1. Nice! That last bit is very interesting. I thought it was awesome when Diablo 3 vanilla came to consoles and that version was leagues above the pc at the time. Eventually they updated the pc to the port version, then visa versa. Josh M really saved the game.

    Reply
  2. Lessons learned from Diablo III

    Rhykker (How to make Diablo good again)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vzHKWhgr-Q

    MrLlamaSC (D2 SpeedRunner opinion on D3)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeY0WWpDpig

    Indigo Gaming (comparing D3 to D2)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ME-0-i6-0No

    DownwardTrust (What D4 can learn from the franchise)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGku1bLelSw

    TheSuperRetroBros (comparing D3 to D2)
    Part1 Introduction:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2L8yopjRP0
    Part2 Itemization/Trading:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHpFzJEPLVw
    Part3 Tone/Story/Atmosphere
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krG5vJAX7bM

    Reply
  3. Lessons learned from Diablo III

    Rhykker (How to make Diablo good again)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vzHKWhgr-Q

    MrLlamaSC (D2 SpeedRunner opinion on D3)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeY0WWpDpig

    Indigo Gaming (comparing D3 to D2)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ME-0-i6-0No

    DownwardTrust (What D4 can learn from the franchise)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGku1bLelSw

    TheSuperRetroBros (comparing D3 to D2)
    Part1 Introduction:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2L8yopjRP0
    Part2 Itemization/Trading:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHpFzJEPLVw
    Part3 Tone/Story/Atmosphere
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krG5vJAX7bM

    Reply
  4. Rhykker (How to make Diablo good again)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vzHKWhgr-Q

    MrLlamaSC (D2 SpeedRunner opinion on D3)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeY0WWpDpig

    Reply
  5. This is what Diablo needs…

    I have to post the links one comment at a time unfortunately…

    Rhykker (How to make Diablo good again)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vzHKWhgr-Q

    Reply
    • One thing that this guy brings up is the elemental damage types. That does feel like it was pretty much non-existent in D3. Would be a lot better if general enemies more commonly had elemental damage (or at least that is was more apparent that they do?).

      Something that I disliked that they brought up as a positive point though was the immunities in late game D2. These sucked. The enemies shouldn’t be 100% immune to a damage type, it just doesn’t feel fun to not be able to kill something at all because it goes against your build. The enemy resistance should have capped out at 90 – 95% or so, so that you could still kill them with that type, but it will be a much more drawn out fight. At least then it would still give you the choice of skipping the fight (like you already had to in D2), or committing to a much slower, and potentially dangerous fight. Good game design after all is providing people with interesting choices.

      Reply
  6. DownwardTrust (What D4 can learn from the franchise)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGku1bLelSw

    Reply
    • This guy makes a lot of terrible suggestions for no good reason. He provides very little reasoning as to why he’d like to see some of those mechanics in D4.

      For a video called “What D4 could learn from the franchise” there is no look at the positives of D3 (yes there are *some*).

      Reply
  7. TheSuperRetroBros (comparing D3 to D2)
    Part1 Introduction:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2L8yopjRP0
    Part2 Itemization/Trading:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHpFzJEPLVw
    Part3 Tone/Story/Atmosphere
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krG5vJAX7bM

    Reply
  8. TheSuperRetroBros (comparing D3 to D2)
    Part1 Introduction:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2L8yopjRP0

    Reply
  9. Diablo 3 wasn’t nearly ambitious enough for a company that enjoyed literally billions in revenue. A caustic release, developed by a largely incompetent and unassuming team left us a game that’s criminally underplayed considering the namesake(s).

    Reply
    • You’re spot on – I wish it would have been different…

      Reply
      • The developers’ comments scares us.
        Sounded like Diablo 3 developer/programmers did nothing wrong; sales just happened to be bad.

        If this is the seed premise for Diablo 4 development (understand that D4 development did not start yet), then we might skip (do not buy) Diablo 4 also.

        We have entirely skipped the Diablo 3 franchise (did not buy it).

        But we are still passionate about the Diablo franchase;
        we still have multiple copies of Diablo 2 Expansion installed on our hard disks and playing at home via TCP/IP!

        Reply
  10. My theory is that to create dumbed down games for the masses you need like minded casual and dumb developers/designers. The intelligence has left Blizzard. We are left with the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    Reply
    • Well. You are 100% wrong.

      Developing for a more casual audience is actually much HARDER to do. It requires piles of UX testing and iteration to make the game soft enough for the audience. You don’t accidentally make a highly polished game and accessible game.

      The game doesn’t offer the experience that fans of the franchise wanted; it doesn’t mean that it took any less talent to make.

      The issue is that the direction for the game prioritised the wrong things. It prioritised accessibility over depth and flashy arcade combat over strategic combat.

      Reply
      • The fact that Blizzard targeted (Xbox) console and PC-gamers with the exact game was recipe for disaster, mainly for us more in-depth PC-gamers.

        Blizzard was in fact making a flashy Diablo 3 arcade-like game for Xbox console sales, at the expense of us Diablo1/Diablo2 fans.

        Reply

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