Fmulder spotted a new Leonard Boyarsky interview on NAG Online. It was recorded last month at BlizzCon, and covers lots of interesting story and plot stuff. How LeBo transitioned from being an artist into doing story and content, how they worked story into Diablo III, how they wanted to update the lore and world state from previous games, etc.

    It’s a nicely-conversational interview as well; rather than the usual series of unrelated questions, so it’s got a good flow to it.

    Are you surprised at how much writing has gone into Diablo III?
    Leonard Boyarsky: I used to work on like, single-player RPGs with full-on dialogue trees, and stuff like that. So I came on to Diablo thinking “okay, we’ll just throw some story in there and it’ll be y’know, we’ll get some more in-depth story going and it’ll be great”. And uh, it’s been, it’s really challenging. It’s deceptively difficult to add like a, good in-depth story to a Diablo game because the pace is so quick. The action comes as you so quickly, that you don’t want to stop the player and make them stop and get story. You want to have the story integrated into the gameplay as much as possible. And uh, it’s easier said than done, I can tell you that.

    You don’t want to wrench the camera away from the player and go “Look! Look at our beautiful narrative!”
    Leonard Boyarsky: *laughs* Exactly. We want to not do that as much as possible, and choosing every word carefully.

    Blizzard’s audience surveys have apparently convinced them that the vast majority of fans desire D3’s, “tell the story as quickly as possible without ever interrupting the click-fest,” but wouldn’t it be interesting if you could select for or against that? Imagine there were a check box in the options that would enable longer, more detailed, more thorough dialogues, additional NPC gossips, etc. Obviously you’d still be able to skip them if you were in a hurry, but as many fans as ask about the story and say they enjoy the dialogues and such, I’m sure at least some people would appreciate it?

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