Diablo III Monsters that Never Were

Included in the burst of Diablo III artwork released via Sons of the Storm a couple of weeks ago was a hefty selection of monster concept art by Red Knuckle (AKA DiabloWikiMark Gibbons). What makes this collection of images interesting is that nothing in the pictures appears in the game. Nothing even close, in many cases.

Undead Dust Devil?

True, that’s the whole point in concept art; to create visions and ideas and concepts that might not pan out, or that will spur fresh ideas and maybe evolve into something new and different and better. There are thousands of pieces of concept art that never get released publicly (check out the bottom slide on this DH display, for instance), but we seldom get to see those; just the art that lead directly to the final look of the monsters, characters, environments, etc. That’s what makes this collection of pics from Red Knuckle interesting; that they’re straight from the Island of Misfit Toys, and show us things that are very different than what’s in the final game.

The one above is actually the closest to anything in Diablo III, as it’s just a sort of undead/zombie version of the Dune Dervish, which can be seen here in concept art, if you want to compare. The rest though, are very creative and very odd.

This one, for instance. If someone just described this to you, and it hadn’t been released as official Diablo III concept art, would you believe it? It’s a walking jar of mage brains! I’m not sure if my character would fight it or take it home for science experiments.

Click through to see another half dozen of Red Knuckle’s monsters that never were, plus a few other awesome examples of interesting and weird monster concept arts from our archives.

All these images and more than 150 others can be seen in our Diablo 3 Monster Art Gallery, if you want moar.

This one was called Head Hunter in the official title, and that’s obviously meant to be taken literally. It’s got heads, and it hunts you. Basically a skull Mortar.

This one’s called the “Smoke Charmer” and it’s a creative thing. Imagine if this guy was somehow teamed with the Treasure Goblin? So you’re chasing the goblin and instead of just running and chuckling, he spawns a big snake demon thing you have to fight while he’s making his escape?

Click for the large version and read the text for the real interest of this one. It explains that this demon would have blended in with crowds of harmless beggars, and only attacked when it had your character alone or in some secluded location. Interesting to envision a Diablo III like that, where you had individual interactions with monsters and NPCs and stealth and surprise were elements of the gameplay. Sounds like much more of a living world type game, along the lines of Skyrim or other single player RPGs.

It’s a giant slave carrying around a canopic jar large enough to hold dragon organs, out of which pops an undead, falcon-headed mage. That’s like, layers of weirdness. Just the huge muscle slave carrying a guy would be pretty cool. And then the guy is in a jar. And then the guy in the jar is a mage. And not just a mage, but one wearing a falcon mask. Or is he actually falcon-headed? If so… why no wings? Why is he a mage? In a canopic jar?

It’s awesome, but man… so many questions!

Like several of the others, this monster design seems really clever, but too complicated and intricate for the fast paced Diablo style of play. Maybe Red Knuckle should make his own RPG, since he’s clearly got great monster ideas… just not ones that t quite fit into Diablo.

Finally, there’s this. I’m a fan of most of the other concepts, but this one… not so much. It’s just a rainbow vomit of colors, and no, Mr. WoW reject woodland monster — holding a skull in your tongue does not a Diablo monster make.

Bonus Weird Monsters

While we’re on the subject of weird monster concept art, here are a few others from our vaults. First up, it’s Lanzuul. It’s odd to see concept art that’s been given a proper name, so it seems like this guy was drawn to order, with a role to play, and yet… nothing like this is seen in Diablo III. Admittedly, it’s not that different than some of the odder demons you see in Act Four.

Better yet, there’s artwork for Lanzuul’s Minions. (See it in the gallery for larger size.) Which makes this monster group sound quite thought out. Wonder where they went?

This artwork was on the Diablo 3 Art Reel way back at the game’s reveal in 2008, and it made me curious all during development. The face always seems like a rodent-man, but the body is very humanoid, and it’s quite well dressed with a spiffy robe and a golden crown thing. Like the others, it’s utterly unlike anything in D3C.

And finally, this post would not be complete without the single weirdest (and coolest) piece of Diablo 3 concept art yet released. If you can’t read the text on the pic it says, “Ribs split out and tentacles throw shards of bone.” So it’s got that going for it…. Seriously, this needs to be in the game. Makes it an aquatic boss demon that lies sleeping below R’lyeh Skovos Skovos Skovos in D3X, if nothing else.

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13 thoughts on “Diablo III Monsters that Never Were

    • Not to mention all the cool ones in the art book as well!
      There’s even an image in the book which combines Belials body with that of Lanzuuls. It wasn’t until this post that I saw the specific concept work for Lanzuul. That’s a pretty creepy design. I’d love to see that in a future expansion.

    • Considering the amount of content and areas they cut out of the final product I am not surprised most of these monsters never made it.

  1. A lot of these are really neat… but, for most of them, it seem like it would be really hard to see what makes them neat from the distant, isometric view. For example, the smoke charmer’s water pipe and the woodland monster itself would be nearly impossible to understand from such a perspective. Others, like the cauldron knight and mummified mage don’t fit the genre because even though they are neat, they seem to cartoonish (not that Maghda, the butterfly whisperer, belongs).

  2. The Smoke Charmer and the Triune Pariah look like incredibly cool possibilities. They would definitely work better in a single player game, though. While I have to admit that I’ve easily put more hours into Diablo than any other game/franchise, I also obsessively love well made single player campaigns. The story can just be so much more absorbing.

    I would love to see characters like these two in a good single player, but with a bit of a twist. I’d like to see them as opportunistic stalkers that not only attack heroes, but also weaker monsters. That just seems natural to me. I mean, yes they are all evil and out to kill the crusading hero, but why do all the monsters always get along with each other? As a real world example: If I stumble into a room with a rabid rottweiler, he is likely to bite my face off. Same thing if I walk into a room with a hungry, agitated lion. But if you put them both in the same room, I can assure you that they are not both walking back out.

    Now, I realize that all of the monsters cannot be constantly killing each other, but it would be very cool to have a few that prey on at least some of the others. Like maybe you’re working your way through a dungeon and notice that there is a trail of imp carcasses. Imps that you did not kill. If your an observant, situationally aware player, that would be a tip-off that a Smoke Charmer may be lying in wait nearby, having just whetted his appetite. Or, for the Triune Pariah, maybe he has a particular disliking for the dark cultists and whatever those dog-demon things they raise are called… empty robes and bloody bones… I’m sure you get the idea by now. And maybe, if you got the timing just right, and were able to approach unnoticed, you could occasionally arrive just in time to see them lure in their prey. I would buy a game just for that.

    I know this is isn’t particularly suited to the pace of Diablo, especially not multi-player softcore, but could be hella-fun if there were ever to be a single player first- or third-person perspective spin-off. The chances of that are probably just a tad less likely than a Dr. Who/Firefly crossover, but at least I can dream…

    • Like you said, some of them are very cool ideas that just dont’ mesh with the fast paced ARPG Diablo style. When demons die in 2 or 3 seconds, you can’t really establish stealth and camouflage, or a guy with a pipe breathing a smoke dragon out, etc. They’re more D&D style enemies, where individual monsters can be detailed carefully and have personality and behaviors.

  3. I wonder what happen to the gorehound? I seen 3D models of it as well as the concept art. Seemed like they were going to put it in act 3 but I wonder why they didn’t. I hope they bring the gorehound back in the expansion as well as Lanzuul and his minions along with the mummified mage. On the other hand, the mage jar, the head hunter, and the smoke charmer were just too goofy to exist in the game!

  4. Some awesome concepts. The Mage Jar and Cauldron Knight need to show up in one of the expansions. Such cool designs.

    I did like a lot of the monsters in the main game also. The Hammer demons, corrupters and fallen angels were some of my favorites.

  5. the war on drugs takes a different approach. would i slaughter drug filled bongs for the glorious commonweath of americas fight? no, canadians love cannibus!

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