David Craddock has been busy working on his second Stay Awhile and Listen book which chronicles the early years of Blizzard North and Blizzard South. Today a Kickstarter page went live.
An excerpt from the new book is available to check out on Polygon and covers the development of the Hellfire expansion which was had real up and downs with the inclusion of easter egg content that should never have been there. Here’s a snip from that and watch the Kickstarter pitch below.
Some Easter eggs, like a level brimming with demonic cows, were baked in early during development. The idea was to include a cow quest that poked fun at a popular rumor. “I was the voice of the cow,” said Edwards. “Blizzard North was aware of that for a long time. Even if you know what they ended up doing with the cow quest in Diablo II, ours was not at all the same. Ours was designed 100 percent to be a tongue-in-cheek nod to the Internet rumor about the secret cow quest in Diablo. Making a nod to that could not have happened in Diablo II. An add-on to Diablo has a much bigger impact of, ‘No, really, there’s now a secret cow quest in Diablo!’ But if you say, ‘There’s a secret cow quest in Diablo II,’ it comes off even more like, ‘Yeah, we know about this gag.’ With our game, it became more like we unlocked it.”
Other hidden secrets were more controversial. By creating the secret-filled text file, players could unearth two hidden hero classes: The Bard, able to brandish two weapons at once; and the Barbarian, who was granted a damage bonus for holding two-handed weapons in one hand. Both characters were leftovers from early in Hellfire’s development, before Synergistic’s designers had decided on the Monk as their single, sanctioned hero. Both the Bard and Barbarian had been scrapped so early on that neither featured unique artwork. The Bard was a recycled Rogue model from Diablo, and the Barbarian, a carbon copy of the game’s Warrior. “I was at the time also looking at the wielding code and I figured out that it would be pretty easy to allow a single class to wield weapons in both hands,” said Tsang. “I had no idea whether it was balanced or not, but basically, since it was going to be a completely experimental, extra, no-balance-is-required character. It was just for fun.”