There’s a nicely-conversational interview with Jay Wilson and Christian Lichtner on the Wall Street Journal’s entertainment blog. It covers a lot of ground including Jay Wilson’s old school FPS mastery, the length of Diablo III’s development, sticking to the isometric view point, changing Diablo 3 to fit modern gaming sensibilities, horror inspirations, the art controversy, character design, and more.
A quote from the piece, and thanks to fmulder for the tip.
Jay: Yeah, one of the lessons that we learned in development was people’s memories of Diablo II were way different than the reality of Diablo II. They remember all kinds of stuff that never actually happened in that game.
Jay: Well when you ask them about game challenge, they remember what it was like in hell difficulty. They don’t remember what it was like in normal difficulty. They remember something that visually darker than it ever was. They remember a variety and depth of monsters that was never there.
Christian: You are competing with people’s memories. And each person’s individual recollections, where they were ten years ago when they played it, that’s tough!
Jay: It’s one of those things where if you love a game, then the things that are bad about it become endearing. Everybody remembers Deckard Cain saying, “Stay a while, listen.” But the reason they remember it fondly now is because it was so damn annoying! He said it every time, and you had to talk to him so often!
Months ago on the Diablo Podcast we were chatting about how nice it would be to just have a conversation with Jay or one of the other devs once the game was out. How it would be much more enjoyable to just talk about things once they could be introspective and retrospective and look back on the development process as a whole, and get away from the “machine gun questions hunting new facts” style of interview. (I (fired that machine gun myself several times, but I much prefer interviews when I can just have a conversation, like the ones I’ve done with Max Schaefer.)
Now that Diablo III is done, at least until the patching begins, we’re getting some interviews of that type, and they’re great reads. Jay’s conversation with AusGamers last week saw a lot of comments that it was the best Jay Wilson interview ever. I wish there was an audio or video link for this WSJ one, but even from the transcript you can get the conversational vibe, and it makes for a nice read. Informative and full of details, but without the probing “tell us something newnewnew!” vibe that makes most interviews during production feel like hurried interrogations.