Stillman’s Slab #10: El Diablo

The tenth installment of Stillman’s Slab throws Big Red himself onto the autopsy table. Sure, we’ll get a return of Diablo in Diablo 3, but will he even be recognizable? We went from a frighteningly-mutated humanoid in D1 to a scurrying lizardman in D2, and that’s to say nothing of the other lost ambiance; that of corrupted religion and fallen souls. I delve deeply into these issues in this column, and come to some frightening conclusion. Here’s the intro; click through to read the rest.

Stillman’s Slab #10: El Diablo

Anyone who was brought up on Nintendo has learned terms like ?the big guy?. We all know the big guy is a boss at the end of a level or game who is much bigger than your guy (or gal depending on how modern the game is) and who takes a lot of hits to kill. Diablo is just that: a big guy at the end. He even looked a bit like Bowser from Super Mario Bros back when he didn’t want to be your friend and give you stuff. He did give you a mighty big spray of gore in the face though, and that was good enough.

But nowadays, since a whole franchise is named after him, Diablo has to dress appropriately and be a representative of the company. Blizzard itself is named after a snowstorm, and if Diablo’s image becomes too hotly debated a bit of money could melt away. The only problem with a politically correct Diablo is that he is supposed to be, you know, the freaking devil who spearheads all the torture and unchristian evil going on. When he is made to look unoffensive to real life religion what you get is a…Diablo fiasco?

As a big guy Diablo is much like a politician. He is the supposed mastermind and ruler of all the corruption until we fight through his body guards and assassinate him. Diablo 1 made you battle through security and open rooms with bone levers. Diablo 2 was the same deal with hitting seals to break through his army. Even Hellfire used the same idea with a big guy demon hiding in a secure room like many tyrants do in real life. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez even called President Bush ?el diablo? which means ?the devil?, and pretty much everyone wanted to break Bush’s soulstones.

But a big politician like Diablo must be a family man (or woman) and wear a suit as well. He can’t just snort coke and put down Jesus like in his past. We will now hold hands like the sissies we have become through playing modern unoffensive video games as we take a trip through Hell, Diablo’s past, and all his changes.

Diablo used to be a representation of the devil as envisioned by Christianity. The horns, claws, goat features, use of fire, red skin and so on are all found in very old drawings of devil interpretations. But with Blizzard being a big enough company now to ram political correctness down our throats there is no longer an ounce of Christian imagery in Sanctuary. What will Diablo look like once he has shed off all traces of his former self? How can we have a boss named after the most anti-Christian persona of all time without having a trace of Christ allowed in the game?

In the good old days of Diablo 1 we saw inverted burning crosses and such details as shrines with crucifixes that fall to the floor after you touch them. There was a church complete with stained glass windows and a steeple with that eerie bell which was source of unforgettable musical atmosphere (because it was a church bell form real life placed in an evil setting). It was a Christian church carved right out of our own world and splattered onto Tristram. For Diablo 2 Blizzard had become a much bigger, reputable company, and they pretty much said no more nipples, no more nudity, no more unchristian imagery. They flooded the skills lore with many gods and goddesses to abolish the concept of a one god. The crosses we saw roasting in Diablo 1 were reduced to abstract Paladin symbols for skill icons in Diablo 2. Being a gangster rap artist the Paladin’s lore and religion has nothing to do with Christianity, so of course the crosses on his shield and skill icons mean nothing.

Diablo himself led the trend of diminishing real life religion by becoming a more politically correct version of a monster in Diablo 2. He hopped around on all fours and looked less human-like because Satan from the Christian bible is usually depicted as resembling a man. We can’t show that in a mass marketed video game now, can we? People might get upset! The big guy in Diablo 2 can be seen below:


Well, that is what he would look like in the Diablo 3 world next to the Barbarian.

With Blizzard becoming yet an even bigger, more responsible company and wanting to remove all real life religion from Diablo 3, we can’t help but wonder how this will take its toll on Big D himself. What will he (or she) look like? Will Diablo become female just for the sake of political correctness? Well just for fun, let us see what Lazarus might look like if he were to make a comeback in Diablo 3:


…Ok…fair enough. His Tristram cathedral will go from a house of god to a house of bod if necessary.  But archbishops are what we have in real life religion which would be too offensive in a modern mass marketed video game, so Lazarus won’t be coming back anyway. Do note in the picture, however, that JESUS IS ACTUALLY IN DIABLO 1. Now I suppose you are wondering what I think of this feminized version of Diablo:


It’s Azmodan. Moving on.

There is of course, the same but more masculine looking three headed thing in Blizzards cinematic that may or may not be the next Diablo. It would certainly follow the pattern by not looking anything at all like an actual devil. He is not even red. He appears a little before the three fiery claw marks arise forming the Roman numerals for Diablo 3. Oh I get it; there are three heads because it is Diablo 3. But is it really Diablo in the flesh (or lack there of)? They would not ruin the surprise by showing us, would they? It kind of reminds me of something from the Alien movies, but it still needs some nerfing down to become politically correct and, shall we say, tailored.

Just like a metamorphosing alien or teenage girl, Diablo is going through changes. Don’t expect him to be a big red devil anymore because that would imply Heaven, Hell, bloody pentagrams, cultists and souls have something to do with your religion. Blizzard just cannot take such risks anymore or offend anyone.  A burning cross in Diablo 3? Are you kidding? An actual devil from the holy bible? Forget it! They even changed the art in the character screen from stained glass windows to whatever stonework it is now. Diablo really is like a politician; abundant religion runs his world, yet he hides it sometimes so more people will like him.

The towering Diablo of part 1 was actually the most likable because he was humanoid and scary with his near inescapable Apocalypse attack. In Diablo 2, he had combos like chilling you or using bone prison before roasting you alive with Lightning Hose. Will the new Diablo terrify us with equal rights speeches or freedom of religion propaganda to help sell the game? Here are a few terrifying attacks Blizzard is working on now:


I couldn’t show the boner prison combo, but it’s definitely a debuff.

If they are not allowed to show crosses or Christian church stuff then I take it slavery and priests are out? Will the whole world be run by business women vendors like in Diablo 2? The first game was scary and unnerving because you saw an archbishop secretly surrounded by dozens of naked ladies just like a bishop in real life! There was a dead boy in there too. With boy-killing sex fiend religious figures being too offensive for Diablo 2 (and probably 3) I can’t help but wonder what it will be like with no archbishop AND no naked ladies. Blizzard will come up with something new and fictional, but our sick hearts will not be as into it because we know right away it could never happen. Religious figures turning traitor are the real deal which was a thrill in Diablo 1. The name Lazarus is even right out of a real life bible.

In a game named after Lucifer where every letter O has a cross in it, how in the hell can Blizzard take Christianity completely out? Well, the archer mercenary in the Diablo 3 Gameplay video says it loud and clear: ?What in the hells is that?? See, there are many hells and many gods (over 1000 according to our Monk) to totally annihilate any concept of one god.  So Diablo is no longer the devil; he is just your run of the mill big guy now. The cross is the international symbol of Christ, people! It must burn before our eyes or else Hell is just a lovely place to get experience points. Blizzard will find a way to get devoted church goers to play this game and never encounter the devil, flaming crucifixes or anything that will burn their eyes or hurt their feelings. After all, they don’t want a game with NIGHTMARE mode to give anyone nightmares. That would decrease profit. Bubble wrapping that used to protect the product in the box is now built into the games themselves to protect us. As players of modernized games in a time where corporations merge to soak up the biggest number of consumers, where no one’s religion can ever be defiled again like in Diablo 1, consider yourselves a collection of delicate snowflakes in a very mild Hell. 

Opinions expressed in columns and guest articles are those of their authors, and not necessarily those of

Stillman’s Slab is where all Diablo characters are dissected and examined piece by piece. It is written by Nicholas Stillman to reintroduce Diablo series topics in a new light or put forth novel themes that have not been fully explored in the forums. Slurry collected from the centrifuge will always contain something new and unheard of at the time of publication. Post your comments below or directly.

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  1. Reading over the updates makes me want to roll a zon!

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