Blizzcon 2011 Poster Artwork and Sheablo Speculation

Blizzard has finally released the Blizzcon 2011 poster artwork in a high quality digital image (as a wallpaper), and it’s a good chance for us to once again view Diablo and his/her child-bearing hips. Debate about this has raged since the event, with the most obvious conclusion/rumor that a female is somehow possessed by Diablo’s spirit, soul-stone style.

Also note the big, glowing eyes in the top back, which the Blizzard website update says are there to symbolize the Pandareans. (Not to tease something from DiabloWikiTitan, as some had speculated.)

We can make a lot more informed speculation about Diablo’s form in Diablo 3 though. It’s a bit spoilery, so I’ll put it below the fold. Click through to read about which female seems the obvious choice to turn into Diablo, in Diablo III.

There’s no proof that Diablo possesses a woman, but if he does it seems like DiabloWikiLeah is the obvious choice. Some spoilery points in the argument:

  • Leah is the only female main character NPC we know of who gets involved in the story and action. (The DiabloWikiMystic doesn’t count.)
  • Leah looks to be menaced by and possibly within the grasp of Azmodan in the DiabloWikiBlack Soulstone cinematic.
  • Diablo has a history of possessing humans and reforming their bodies for his use.
  • Leah is the daughter of DiabloWikiAdria and (apparently) DiabloWikiPrince Aiden (who became the DiabloWikiDark Wanderer).
  • Data-mined images show Leah with a corrupted form (but looking zombie-like, rather than demonic.)
  • This artwork of Diablo has… dat hips. And possibly boobs as well, though the mouths on the shoulders are unaddressed by this theory.
  • DiabloWikiChris Metzen puts similar themes/events into all of the Blizzard franchise stories, and he loves to take females and throw them into danger/possession/transformation by powerful enemies. Kerrigan, for instance.

The various Diablo devs, asked about this possibility at Blizzcon, gave very non-committal replies. They must have rehearsed them in advance, since they knew where the fan speculation would run once they showed us this feminine-looking Diablo. Here’s Julian Love speaking to Gamefront:

GF: You’ve been using the pronoun “he.” Is Diablo definitely male?
Julian Love: You know, demons don’t really have a gender.

GF: There’s a theory going around that Diablo may be female, based on the art we’ve seen. With the newly revealed Black Soulstone cinematic, I’m sure people will wonder if Leah will become the new Dark Wanderer and host to Diablo, explaining Diablo’s feminine features.
Julian Love: Play the game and find out.

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42 thoughts on “Blizzcon 2011 Poster Artwork and Sheablo Speculation

  1. Ugghh… why did blizz have to show us Diablo’s full form? They should’ve just kept the full form under wraps until we actually played the full game.

    • What makes you think this is the final form 🙂

      Not saying definitely it’s not, hehh, but keep in mind that Blizzard must have known exactly what they were doing with the oh-so-feminine Diablo reveals and the “oops, major plot point!” slips in the beta about Leah’s parentage.

      I personally suspect, though – and I’m sure I’m not the only one! – that the full picture is significantly more complex than this. Remember: we didn’t see Infested Kerrigan before Starcraft was out, and we didn’t know Illidan’s new form before the Night Elf campaign. I’m certain that the direction that our current speculation is taking is quite according to plan.

      Azmodan, at least, seems to agree with the Diablo fans. The way he scolded Leah for causing his brethren to fall into her trap one by one, it seems that he’s defiantly challenging what he believes to be Diablo – and saying that all the events of Diablo II (where we offed two Lesser Evils and two other Primes next to Big D) are part of some greater Diabolic scheme.

      Something to think about! If Azmodan thinks he’s so smart, he’s most likely wrong.

      • Maybe..
        I’m just worried because Blizzard did ruin the story behind Tychus Findlay in the beginning cinematic of SC2 – Mengsk’s deal with Tychus.

  2. I’m thinking that Adria is the one that has taken the Diablo form… Jay said that she would be coming back with a ‘significant role’, and the comments from the beta tell Leah that ‘there appears to be more that you don’t know about her’ (I know it is in reference to her being a witch, but it just felt more significant that that).
    Leah’s corrupted form might have something to do with the black soulstone – maybe just being in proximity to it, keeping it safe from Azmodan?

    • That seems to be the most likely… the pandaren have glowing green eyes in a lot of art and the in game one they showed has green eyes…

      • I’d heard that suggestion previously but I forgot to mention it in this post, probably since I’m still not entirely convinced that the whole Kung Fu Panda expansion thing isn’t some kind of elaborate practical joke. I updated the post to include that suggestion, though.

        • Heh… As much as many people want it to be, it’s not a joke… The pandaren were pretty much part of the canon from the time they added a playable pandaren brewmaster hero in Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne and made one a significant character in the Horde campaign… and then had a couple quests mentioning that particular pandaren in WoW… plus they had a lot of lore about them in the Warcraft tabletop rpg as you could play one in that… Apparently Blizzard has been wanting to put them in the game as far back as the development of the first expansion…

  3. One page in the Book of Cain says Diablo’s true form is likely to be “lizard-like”. If you see the full oblong image, not this one, Sheablo has a thick, huge TAIL.
    I hold on to my theory that this is the real form of Diablo, but what we’re seeing is the underside of this supposed lizard-like creature that will not be standing up when we actually see it in the game…it will be hunched forward or maybe on all fours like a giant reptile.
    Although it is still a very feminine underside…

    • Are you sure you don’t mean Mephisto? I’m pretty sure they saidin the Sin War that his true form has reptilian skin, long pointy teeth, and red eyes, whereas Diablo’s true form is more ethereal… sort of an incorporeal cloud that can shift in appearance to match the worst fears of the beholder… Like the boggart in Harry Potter… 8)

    • So you are saying looking feminine = being weak and fragile? Some people would call you a chauvninist pig for that… 😉

      • Heh, you said that, not him…. you chauvinistic pig… ;-P  In reality, I agree.  Not because it’s “feminine”, but because it’s too humanoid.  Diablo in D2 was like a possessed Deathclaw (from fallout, if you don’t get the reference the second best choice is possessed dinosaur).  He was big and scary and mean, and looked like something that could tear you in half without flinching, while your puny attacks couldn’t do more than tickle him.  This looks like a person in a diablo suit, and a ridiculous one at that.  The useless but massive shoulder “blades”?  What benefit do those serve, to impale people falling on it?  How about the massive protrusions on the head?  Going to twist the head before charging someone (snapping its own neck), or just expects 4 people to routinely be standing in a line for it?  It manages to look neither dark nor twisted nor immensely powerful from a physical standpoint nor incredibly lethal from any other standpoint.  Too many frills, not enough killy bits.
        For what it’s worth, NONE of that implies it’s impossible to make a feminine form scary, just as the OP did not imply that.  If you’re going to accentuate humanoid with low muscle mass (regardless of gender), you’d BETTER emphasize the only area in which low muscle mass makes you more killy… speed.  And for that, you need things that cut, and tear, and rend.  And not ones sitting uselessly on the shoulders where they can’t hit anyone.  It needs massive Krueger style hands, with lots of blades and spikes and such all along them and trailing along the forearms, with full out bull horns built for impaling people, not for accessorizing your awesome shoulder “blades”.  It needs to be posed like it’s ready to move and kill you in a second flat, not standing there showing off.  And most of all, 80% of its body needs to be spiky/ spiny/ ridge-ey/ killy, so that it could kill you with literally any surface of its body, and so it looks armored and tough to kill despite lack of massive bulk, and so that the mere act of being around it seems like a terrible idea.  Not like a porcupine, but like this:
        albeit demonic and feminine.  THAT would keep me up at night.  Not this.

  4. well it is unlikely for diablo to be transformed from an NPC that is introduced half way thru the game, the character had to be pretty important to make the story dramatic. i cant see suddenly an housewife in town A being transformed……….. So ill say Leah is pretty much it.
    It is also kind of late to claim demons dont hav a gender now tho…… i do remember in D2 the prime evils were called brothers. If there is no gender, shud be siblings?

    • Yeah that didn’t really sit right with me… what about Lilith and Andariel who are clearly female and the fact that Lucion and Lilith are said to be the son and daughter of Mephisto? And how bout the maiden of lust or the succubi? Are they all just female in appearance without actually being the gender? Seems like a stretch to me…

      They should just say that the seven Evils are without gender or something like that…

  5. Yes flux it actually says on the post for the artwork that the eyes are the pandaren. At least on the official wow site it does.

  6. C’mon Blizzard, giving away the ending half way through WoL wasn’t enough, now you have to give away D3’s story in a poster/wallpaper?

    • agreed… i saw the blizzcon poster last week, and 1st thing i thought was “woah! diablo has hips!”. so the 3 things i could think of was:

      1.- diablo is involved in some sort of trans-gender possession
      2.- that’s not actually diablo
      3.- the artist screwed up and said “i thought diablo was a woman all along!!!!”

  7. Hero: Rest, Leah, the beast within you is no more.
    Leah: Uhhn…*passes out*
    *Hero carries Leah off into the sunset*
    This is going to happen at some point, isn’t it?

    • How about,

      Hero: ahhh (moaning in pain)
      Sheable: it will all be alright, the world is no more.
      Hero: *passes out*
      *Sheablo carries of Hero into the newly reclaimed Burning Hells (to mate with him)*

  8. Looking at this I can´t help but think how smart was Blizzard, when during the teaser cinematic, they only showed Diablo´s head, which fans noted was slightly different then previous, but thought nothing of it. Know we know why they didn´t show the entire body.

    As far as the debate goes, unless they introduce some new female character midway through the game, Leah seems like the only choice for Diablo to possess. How will that play out and what implications will it have, remains to be seen.

  9. In regards to the green eyes, this quote comes directly from the Diablo 3 website:
    “We’ve updated our BlizzCon Media section with the BlizzCon 2011 Wallpaper! This key art, created by Glenn Rane for BlizzCon 2011, features a trio of Blizzard notables: Thrall, Diablo, and Sarah Kerrigan, in addition to the peering eyes of the pandaren. ”

    So yeh, that particular mystery is solved at least. Should probably do this to that segment of the article.

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