Back in October last year a fan questioned the sense behind the removal of religious imagery from Diablo III, arguing that it needs it for its dramatic impact. Bashiok explained that Blizzard are trying not to pigeon hole Sanctuary into a specific real-world religious bent and rather wish to create their own culture.
At the time there were mixed reactions. On one side there is the development of a unique faith/religion that’s free to evolve into whatever the lore writers wish it to, unrestricted by real world realities. On the other, there’s the connotations that religious imagery such as the pentagram lend to the Diablo 3 experience.
Whilst perhaps not as ostentatious as some of the floor art we saw in Diablo 2, so far two pentagrams have shown up as reported in the beta forum. ZERonl spotted that the slot in the skill UI for slotting runes has a pentagram for a background (below)and Kastigar posted in the forum that you can select a pentagram as the Sigil in your Banner as seen above (click for large view).
We interviewed Diablo series creator Max Schaefer about the removal of pentagrams and other real world religious symbols from Diablo III, here’s what he had to say. Click through for the quote…
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FLUX: Yeah, definitely. So, one of the things we talked about last time a little bit – and I just sent you a link about it – you had a lot of Christian references… a lot of crosses and pentagrams and sort of parallels to Christian religion. You know, real existing faiths in your mythology of your Diablo games.
MAX SCHAEFER: Yes.
FLUX: Obviously, you guys planned that. It wasn’t just like, “We can’t think of something better or something different so we’re just going to slap in some crosses.”
MAX SCHAEFER: No. And it wasn’t necessarily because it’s Christianity as such. It’s just that it evokes images and ideas that people are familiar with. It’s not just a cross, it was a cathedral. It was a town that had the architecture style of what you would find in medieval Europe. There was lots of things beyond that imagery that was drawing upon real world parallels. It was just because that’s what evoked the ideas that we wanted to evoke.
FLUX: As we’ve seen recently – as I sent you the link supporting it – where Blizzard has sort of removed all of the crosses and pentagrams from Diablo and also from World of Warcraft apparently. Some of the stuff upon release has since been sort of… I would say sanitized. Their explanation is that they’re creating their own original individual world and their own mythology. Obviously, you can comment on this to whatever variety you like, but what do you think about that? I believe you said last time that you wouldn’t have done that if you were still on the project.
MAX SCHAEFER: We definitely would have not done that, because it doesn’t… the idea that it’s just because you want to have a new world that you’re creating something in just doesn’t wash. They picked out those two things because they’re controversial. We wouldn’t have done it. I don’t begrudge them their decisions. Again, they gotta pursue what they think is right with the game. But, we would not have done that.