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 Mark Gibbons). What makes this collection of images interesting is that nothing in the pictures appears in the game. Nothing even close, in many cases.
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’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?
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.