Accomplished fan artist Softshack 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.
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.)
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 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 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.
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.)
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 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 Caldeum 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.