In addition to the slew of quickie video interviews, the recent days have seen some more substantive interviews with the Diablo 3 developers.

    Julian Love & Leonard Boyarsky interview with Rock Paper Shotgun. A lengthy conversation recorded on launch day, this transcript covers numerous issues including the pleasures of co-op, better story integration, character balance, and much more.

    RPS: And what difficulties does it raise, in design terms, that the randomness is controlled to a great extent?

    Love: The greatest difficulty is in testing it. You create all this content and then randomise it with all these permutations and it’s a testing nightmare. If you’re not too careful and you create too many dimensions of randomness – and it seems impossible that it would be this way – but you can literally create more permutations than the human mind can cope with.

    So you have to make sure that you’re only doing the stuff that’s going to be meaningful, right? The stuff that’s going to lead to making the gameplay experience better but not detract from the development process.

    Boyarsky: And keep it controlled that’s it’s humanly possible to test it.

    Entertainment Weekly has an interview with story guy Chris Metzen in which he goes into some interesting detail about the Diablo III story and progression.

    You say this is the end of the Diablo “trilogy”? Does that mean we can’t expect more games set this in this universe from you guys?
    Not at all. I see this as the ending of a specific storyline. It’s not at all the end of Diablo, the end of a particular age or era, but it is the end of a series of machinations that have been playing out on Sanctuary for the last couple centuries. If Diablo ever really had a plan to mess people up, to bring about doom and destruction, this game really illustrates how grand that design has always been. Before, we didn’t have all the information. This game shows just how smart and cunning he’s been over the arc of time and why he’s the series’ unique villain. In the first couple games there wasn’t a whole lot more detail to that character other than that he was a big red dude who kicked the s— out of people. So why is the series named after him and not Baal or Mephisto? Is Diablo stronger? I would argue that he’s just really clever, he thinks laterally in a way that his brothers do not. He’s not just one of the seven big Evils. He’s Doctor Doom. And Diablo III is the culmination of his machinations, even if it’s not the end to potential stories we could tell in that universe.

    GamaSutra grabbed Jay Wilson for a long chat about his past game development, crunching to the deadline in Diablo III, Blizzard’s standard of game quality, and some very interesting stuff about his initial Diablo III design presentations (not documents).

    Design is a real, real gray area. So I think it’s better to make a strong, bold choice for a more interesting game. I think if you look at any of the games that people really, really love, there’s some very, very strong choices there. I really love Skyrim, but there’s a whole different design paradigm at work in a game like that than in a Blizzard game.

    You never see a game like [Bethesda’s] Skyrim come out of Blizzard — just because. And it doesn’t mean [Bethesda is] wrong. Their design philosophy has been extremely successful for them, but it’s a very different one, and it has its own pros and cons. And it’s the fact that they focused on it is what made them successful, and we’re the same way.

    For us, good design has a lot of depth and is very approachable. That’s always our first priority. And the problem that you run into is we attract a very hardcore audience, and hardcore audiences don’t like things to be approachable. They like their hardcore game. They like their elitism. And that’s just not what Blizzard’s ever been about.

    It’s not that we’re not about our hardcore audience. If anything, we think we’re more about our hardcore audience, because our goal is to make more people become them. But we don’t do that by making our games obtuse and hard to get into.

    Great interviews all. I’m not sure why Blizzard PR thought it was a great idea to ship all these, and dozens more, out on release or in the days right after, when all the fans are busy playing the game and not reading interviews. I guess it’s just their goal of media saturation, to get features everywhere and draw all eyes to Diablo III… but didn’t news about the launch do that anyway? (In largely negative terms.)

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