German PCGames has about Diablo 3’s art design that’s entirely about the creation of the Diablo games. What did Art controversy page do, why did the games work so well, what key elements were advanced by them, how well is Diablo 3 continuing them, and more. I could quote the whole thing here, since every question is good, but here are just a couple, with a very strong recommendation that you go read the whole thing. Thanks to rfs for the tip.
PCGames.de: What do you think – why did pretty much nobody manage to create a real “worthy? successor to Diablo 2 till this day?
Bill Roper: The randomization elements are probably the biggest hanging point. It isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, and Diablo made it look like it is – deceptively so. Also, the pacing of the play is vital to the slot machine effect. The final main element is the elegant simplicity of the item system. To be honest, this is one of the major areas where Hellgate: London fell down. We made weapons that could be incredibly customized (so much more than the simple gem system in Diablo II) but this also made it nearly impossible to easily compare two different items. Our randomization technology was actually amazing, but we suffered from a poor area / story flow and a lack of visual distinction between areas of the game which made it feel even smaller.
PCGames.de: You’ve been quoted once that you’d prefer Diablo 3 match the visual style of the first two Diablo games. Are you still having doubts about the game? Or are you even looking forward to it?
Bill Roper: I think that one of the key flavour elements of the Diablo series is the dark, gothic look. You mentioned that Jay Wilson told you that staying true to the dark license was a rule that Blizzard had for the franchise. As long as they hold true to that vision, then I think the fans of the series will be happy. I think that some of the initial screens they put out didn’t highlight that, and showed off a much brighter envisioning of the world. I have little doubt that after going through their typical iteration process, the art style will be great.
Update: Bill Roper’s earlier comments about Diablo 3’s art design were more critical than this. Click through to read them for yourself:
Comments from interviews with IncGamers and VideoGamer.com. Source links and more on the Art controversy page.
Bill Roper: You know, I liked the darker grittier. I liked the differences in art style, to be honest. So, I think I would personally from a player standpoint prefer that. One of the things that we always tried to get across was that Diablo was Gothic fantasy and I think there was just a need that was put in there from the visuals that I didn’t necessarily get. I got it from the architecture and to a degree from the character design but not the feeling of the world. I can’t say that I dislike it. I didn’t look at it and go, oh my God that’s horrible. But I looked at it and went, it’s not really… to me as a player it just didn’t really ring with Diablo.
Bill Roper: I don’t dislike how it looks now. I didn’t look at it and have the appalled reaction a lot of people did, I just appreciated that it had a very distinct look. The Diablo games looked different to the Craft games, and I liked the fact that it was very dark, gothic fantasy. I just think that it’s nice to be able to have different worlds represented with very different visuals… When WoW came out, there were plenty of people who didn’t like the way it looked, and I think that with Diablo 3 there’ll be some people who don’t like it and prefer the look of the first two Diablo games. When they first released the the videos and the screenshots, there was definitely an uprising from certain sections of Blizzard and Diablo fans, but Blizzard does what it’s going to do so I’m sure that all those people who were really upset will still be in line with the rest of us, getting a copy! As long as it’s good and cohesive and takes the stories that they’re telling, I’m okay if it doesn’t look exactly like it did before, although I did like that really dark, edgy, gothic look.