More Mysterious Diablo III Concept Artwork


Accomplished fan artist DiabloWikiSoftshack points us to the home page of computer artist Christian Lorenz Scheurer, who worked up a bunch of concept art for Diablo III back in 2006, just after the project was moved to Blizzard Irvine and rebooted under new management. His Diablo 3 post contains twelve never before seen artworks, with a short explanatory message:

In summer 2006 I was hired as a Conceptual Artist to work on the third installment of DIABLO. It was very early in the production and I do not know if any of the designs actually made it into the final game.

Looking over his pieces, it seems that none of them did make it in, but that’s mostly since he was drawing areas that we’ve never seen in Diablo III… at least not yet.

Heaven

You see a couple of his takes on the High Heaven below. Not totally different than the final game, but much darker in some ways. Clearly the floating islands of buildings and structures was a design idea going way back to the Blizzard North version of Diablo III, as many artworks as it shows up in.

Click through for 9 more pieces, showing a bunch of never-before-seen views of places like the Wizard homeland of Xiansai, Westmarch, plus some mystery areas; the Well of Souls (meant as a dungeon in Heaven?) and someplace called Sandencal, which looks a bit like Caldeum and a bit like Heaven. (It even gets an elusive Google-whack when searched for.)

All these images and hundreds of others are available in the Diablo Gallery in the Diablo 3 Environmental Artwork folder.


The Well of Souls

The Well of Souls is mysterious. The glowing white wall glyphs are a bit reminiscent of the glowing blue trees in Heaven, but not really. And there’s nothing else in the game that even begins to approximate this space or those statues. Act One Tristram Cathedral dungeon artwork?

As we’ve seen with past concept art reveals, a lot of the early idea work provided useful conceptual design input, but doesn’t at all represent finished game visuals.


Skovos

DiabloWikiSkovos is the Greece-style island homeland of the Amazons from Diablo II. We’ve seen it several times in awesome artwork by Peter Lee, and it’s a strong bet to show up in the game in one of the Diablo III expansion. Or perhaps not, as all of the artwork of Skovos seems to be quite old, so perhaps it was seriously considered for a D3C location, but voted down, never to return?


Westmarch

DiabloWikiWestmarch is a major city located not far from Tristram, but to the west and near the coast. The region is referred to in Diablo I, Diablo II, and Diablo III, but we’ve never actually seen the city. It looks fairly generic middle ages Europe in this illustration, though the river flowing right through town gives it some variety, as well as a constant risk of flooding.


Xiansai

Scheurer’s vision of Xiansia, the snowy, Asian-styled home of the Wizards, is another view of an area we do not see in Diablo III. Looks very Shao Lin temple in this view, but closely-integrated into a major city. (This more-recent female wizard artwork is sort of reminiscent, but not really. She does look Asian-styled enough to come from Xiansai, at least.)


Caldeum

Scheurer’s Caldeum pieces do resemble the final game version fairly well, which might just be proof that everyone’s idea of a vaguely-Persian desert city looks fairly similar.

Upon review of all the Caldeum concept arts, I noticed that one of these images was released previously, way back in 2006. Note how much brighter that version is though, as well as the lack of the Blizzard copyright text across the lower right corner.


Saldencal

Saldencal is a structure in this artist’s vision of Caldeum, which was probably going to be some sort of sky palace or other key area of the city, given its prominence in these artworks. The structure can be seen off to the left of the larger Caldeum work above.

It is clear from other concept works of DiabloWikiCaldeum that the city was planned to be far larger and a site of much more exploration than we got in the final game. (All that’s seen of the city is one open air market and then the long pathway into the palace throne room, plus some views of other areas off to the sides.) There are numerous concept arts of different areas of the city, slums and alleyways as well as palaces, and lots of high bridges and walkways (which can be seen from the high overlook from Act 2 town, in-game), as well as towers with blimps floating above them. Even a Bandit Camp.

Tagged As: | Categories: Artwork, Diablo 3 Expansions, Ex-Blizzard

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  1. big fan of these concepts. i hope we see some more locations, what would be bad ass is if blizzard deviates from the old pattern of one location an act and throws in 2. a big expansion. why not? then continue the store to act 6 or 7 (which is stretching, give another 30 levels, the old uniques can scale with level and roll top end while they add more items.

    but… when it comes to money there probably only be one, but if they follow suite with LOD then i am sure it will be enjoyable.

    • While I agree that additional areas would be welcomed, I feel strongly that the game needs to move away from these ethereal looking locales. Diablo needs more dungeons, castles, tombs, and crypts. Its called a dungeon crawler not cheesy Las Vegas hotel lobby crawler.

      • Blame Diablo 2 for that 🙂 which enticed players to run through jungles, deserts, cities, mountain battlefields.

        Heck Torchlight 2 is 2 parts world, 1 part dungeon.

        but you do touch on a thing which intrigued me….

        Why not have an endless dungeon in the expansion as a “side” Quest or something, and put one of the lords of hell or heck make it belials decent, tricking you to go further and further and further, giving it a completely random feel where each level increases the monster str by 5 and hp by 5% and have a .5% chance the next floor will be a boss fight.

        • Mike, I think you hit an excellent point. The endless dungeon would be a great addition once PvP hits. Might tide us over until a legit expansion. Perhaps a game within the game chock full of different events or challenges or even achievements (longest play, etc). Any programmers out there? Would this be impossible to implement for Blizz?

          Count me in on the endless dungeon.

          • Yeah I agree. Chucking in random dungeons that have a random number of levels in it at random locations would add a lot to the game.

            One thing that has always disappointed me with the transition from D1 to D2 to D3 is that it gets less dungeon and more running around less randomly generated areas. I’d prefer a x level randomly generated dungeon anyday.

            I’m getting sick to death of running around Desolate Sands and knowing the dimensions of the area and the exact same graphics… it got old long ago.

  2. The images are labeled “Saldencal”, but you refer to it multiple times as Sandencal.

  3. “It was very early in the production and I do not know if any of the designs actually made it into the final game.”

    Yep. That’s the spirit. Sounds like he’s really passionate about the world he helped to create.

    Well, if Bizzard did indeed decide to hire more external staff to define the look of their franchises for them, that as well would explain why Diablo 3 doesn’t look and feel very Diablo-like anymore. In the past, Blizzard often assured that a majority of veteran core-designers from the earlier Diablo games were still working with them on D3, when asked about more prominent faces leaving the company.

    It’s kind of sad to imagine Blizzard’s creative director just nodding to the work of some hired external concept artists (who neither sound too familiar with nor fuzzed about the game in this case) these days, instead of just continuing his own craft.

  4. Really disappointed by the actual game Caldeum, never got to see the “Jewel of East”. i really devote to making a truly enormous city like kings port or Scovos, or Westmarch

    • Good point. I posted this one quickly late night, and today with more time I fixed the typo on the name, and put in a bunch of links to other pics of Caldeum. Those really make clear how much bigger and more impressive the initial city concepts were, and how much more the devs must have planned to do with the city.

      Pity we only get that one little outdoor market and then the long walkway to the throne room, in the game. You see much more; from the vista of the Act 2 town, and from the pathway down to where you first meet Eirena, but those are basically must matte paintings in the background, rather than areas you can really enter.

      • Could it have been a time issue? Personally, on the fence about this, Would I want a huge city to get lost in? or just focused areas where relate to my time in the city. Walk 10 miles to where i need to go, or just skip out of the city because it only plays a minor role in my own personal eyes.

        would it have been better? or would people complain walking from one side to another was tedius,

        although if they gave more substance in the city then I could foresee it being a good idea. For Example, expanding on the infiltration of the city by demons of belial.

        hmmmm

  5. How in the world did the author fail to notice that, not only it is spelled Saldencal, it also appears in the drawing of Caldeum, eliminating any need for speculation regarding its location? -.-

  6. +10. These are gorgeous.

  7. I love the dark colors and art direction of the Saldencal Towers, IMO that was what Act 4 should have looked like.

  8. To whoever’s designing the xpac: we do not need more walkways/platforms over bottomless chasms or anymore giant statues, thanks.

    I think actually fighting within one of these big cities could be fun. The “cities” so far have all been smaller than a Super Wal-mart.

  9. “The trade consortium council has always been the ruling body of Caldeum, but it gained additional strength after the fall of the Vizjerei. The councilmen saw opportunity in the rapidly growing Zakarum faith, and they allowed the fanatics to build their enormous cathedral, Saldencal, within the center of the city.”

    From “An Abridged History Of caldeum” (the books you find in the Searing Sands Inn)

  10. Heaven: Looks more like a set piece out of a steampunk movie instead of a fantasy game.
    Well of Souls: Gives me Tower of the Damned vibes, maybe it’s just the giant faces.
    Westmarch: Totally Gilneas.
    Xiansai: Makes me thing of Kun-lai Summit in the new MoP expansion for WoW.

  11. Where is the darkness of Tristram…the poor and ugly, the dirty ? Where is the epicness of Arreat? The medieval…the gothic????
    I see only etheral, phantasy, lavish, rich..and now ancient Creece ?!?!?….me don’t like 🙁

    • the whole world is not emo, sanctuary is more than just a dungeon and a blight. the barbarians mount arreat was not gothic, it was majestic and grand. It was commanding and defiant.

      Life does thrive in darkness as well, and light overtakes darkness as well.

      2 sides, Heaven is the light, Hell is the darkness.

      I like the direction hell went, It would be weird to see heaven a dismal wreck. These are angels of wisdom, honor, valor, justice etc etc etc. Plus look at tyreal, he is not someone who would fit or live in a setting like that.

      the land around tristian and westmarch is medival, but lut golien is not. It is a different world, in a different climate.

  12. Saldencal rhymes with Travincal.

  13. heck, if i knew the proper place to make suggestions in the blizzard diablo forums i would, just slap me with a link and i will do it!

    I gave up looking the last idea i had.

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