The Black Soulstone Cinematic

Blizzard has posted the Black Soulstone cinematic which premiered during the Blizzcon 2011 opening ceremony. As Chris Metzen said, this version is slightly edited (to remove some story details) from that which we’ll see in the game. It’s got story info galore as it is, with Leah facing Azmodan in some sort of dream/vision/nightmare, where the Lesser Evil shares his plans for global domination.

That aside, the visuals are fantastic, so just enjoy.

I took a bunch of screens from the video on HQ, if you want closer/longer looks. Three thumbs below; see the new Black Soulstone Gallery for many more.

Related to this article
  • The Black Soulstone Cinematic Nominated for VES Award
  • Blizzcon 2011 Black Soulstone Cinematic Panel

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    78 thoughts on “The Black Soulstone Cinematic

      • The art is flawless, but it wasn’t epic for me at all. It’s like “hey leah, I know the black soulstone is the key so here’s a pre warning that I’m coming to get it. Because it’s cool to let humans know my plans”. *que demons running out from caves and stuff*, “leah, I fully planned to freak you out and make you cry the moment you started tripping out on black soulstone. That cinematic was actually a cut up one to avoid spoilers and stuff

    1. can u help me with a little transcript? what does he say about the black soulstone when he cracks the cave?

    2. Leah: None of this makes any sense to me. What am I missing? What am I supposed to see?
      Azmodan: You thought you were so clever, that you would outwit us all. One by one, our brethren fell into your trap. But not me, I defy you. I know the black soulstone is the key. And it shall be mine. Soon my army will pour forth from the shadowed mountain, ravaging this world and all hope of resistance. My minions will find the stone, wherever you choose to hide it. Then at long last, Azmodan shall reign as the prime evil.

    3. Rare Item
      Epic Cinematic of Outstanding Detail
      +1 to Horrify
      Weight of torso equipment increased by 2
      WANT level increased by 5
      Boner duration increased by 50%
      Usage cooldown decreased by 100%
      +2 Light Radius
      +1 to Blizzard

    4. like other cinematics blizzard has produced these last few years the trailer is beautiful and impressive to look at BUT the content and directing, voicing of the trailer is pretty sub-par.
      I really think this how d3 team brain storm session happens:
      “-so what should we do for the cinematic?
      I got it lets make a cinematic where another fat demon(you know cause D3 doesn’t have enough fat demons already) give this fat generic looking demon a monotone, deep throat voice and also have do the most cliche and dumb dialog lines we can think of so that he can be barely distinguishable from deathwing in WOW cataclysm cinematic!”
      compare this trailer’s dialog to any of D2’s and you can see a whole lot of difference!
      baal doesn’t talk much in this cinematic(which he shouldn’t have to) but what he does say is well spoken and clever, the cinematic portrays an interesting villain.
      but in this new D3 trailer azmodon is as flat as any villian who has been introduced in any game or movie.
      I can realy see where D3 is headed with this and it isn’t only D3, WOW’s new expansion is pathetic, and the new SC2 trailer basically confirms the (horrendous) leaked ending of heart of swarm.
      I m just about done with blizzard

      • 10 bucks says that the game uses the words “torn asunder.”
        They’ve used the same “demon dialogue” for the past 10 years now. 🙁

      • Dudes, this is Diablo. It’s a game where you fight the Devil in a Hell-on-Earth melee. As it turns out, it’s a game where you have the option of doing so in high heels and baby blue tights. I join you in hoping for compelling story – but I don’t think we can reasonably expect it.

      • “baal doesn’t talk much in this cinematic(which he shouldn’t have to) but what he does say is well spoken and clever, the cinematic portrays an interesting villain.”

        What are you talking about? His dialogue is just as cheesy as any other Blizzard character…

    5. I sorgta dont like azmodans looks, he looks ore like a WoW monstrosity then a demon, still nice vid, do like, want more:
      PS: whjat hte hell is the black soulstone anyway

    6. This trailer was absolutely beautiful, I loved it and my excitement has officially been re-installed.  You can’t watch a Blizzard trailer only once, there is just no way.
      Ok, gotta go watch the trailer again…

    7. Really digging Azmodan’s design. Not a fan of the speech but hey whatever. Really curious as to what those other demons were sitting in the chairs (?)

      • Probably those lesser lords of sin that are his lieutenants that they talked about at the lore panel… greed, wrath, pride, etc…

    8. I pity the fool who thinks this is like WoW, subpar or uninspired.

      Yes, there are cliches, it is Blizzard after all (no, D2 wasn’t any different), but it is the execution that counts which sets it apart from all other game developers.

      • if you are fine with cliches good for you, me I m not so easy satisfied. CD project for instance is doing things on a level I am fine with, and because of that I will save my money for their future products not blizzard’s.

      • I pity you Mcstrife if you think that old Blizzard or Blizzard North used cliches in their stories, maybe you should check again because your memory fails you hard.
        Story was one of main reason that sets Blizzard from other game developers but its no more. Today what left is only long support for their games nothing else.

        • I pity you Smash if you delude yourself into thinking that Blizzard has changed much since the old days considering how a lot of the original people are still there (except from Blizzard North) and that their writing style has somehow degraded… it hasn’t… you might want to take off those rose-colored nostalgia glasses and wise up to reality… Blizzard has always had simplistic plot elements and nothing is really original anymore anyway so get over it…

    9. It is just a pretty cinematic, nothing more. Blizzard has always shown us good cinematics. Nothing new here.

      • Probably not… the whole thing about luring his brethren into traps and such sounds like he is adressing her as humans in general… or perhaps the Horardrim…

    10. Notice how there are 7 pillars that light up. 3 prime evils and 4 lesser im assuming. Anyone think the three with the glowing eyes are somehow in appearance order Mephisto, Baal, Diablo? maybe eventho they were destroyed somehow the worldstone being destroyed as well allowed for azmodan to slowly help them regain strength and he wants the black soulstone to merge the 7 prime evils into the evil dragon Tathamet from the book of cain

      • think youd be asking for too much there.. m guess would be to assume they are 7 baddies represeting each sin wiht big azmodan as the lord of sin taking centre stage, ull probs have to fihgt through those minions before u fight the boss

      • Leonard Boyarsky just afirmed on the Lore Interview after the Lore Panel that Azmodan has 7 advisors that represent the 7 sins.  What you see in the cinematic are those 7 advisors and not diablo or belial or whoever. Also, before this interview, my main theory is that these 7 dudes were the 7 big mages back from the Mage clans. If you were watching it live, you probably seen the video of chris metzen talking about Lore alone, he talked about these 7 mages.

    11. correct me if i am mistaken but i think there are 7 statues – we only see 5 but the fourth is bigger then the others and i think we can safely assume that if there is one big statue with 3 smaller statues to the left that there are 3 small statues to the right aswell…
      sooo my guess: those statues represent the 7 evils (u know diablo, baal etc) this would also make sense because fatty fat fat azmodan seems to apear from offscreen (presumably he spawned as one of the 2 unseen statues). if we stay with this logic, then the other unseen one would be belial and the 5 statues we saw would be the ones we killed off in diablo 2 (probably the reason why they didn’t pop into real demons aswell)
      ps: how did leah get her noob hands on the black soulstone
      pps: after seeing the 2 cinematics released so far i begin suspecting that blizzard wants to sell us candles

      • “pps: after seeing the 2 cinematics released so far i begin suspecting that blizzard wants to sell us candles”

        Blizzard is launching their own yankee candle store.

    12. Well, if you guys didn’t notice, the giant red statue (which obviously belongs to Diablo) shows that Diablo isn’t sitting there, as well as the other three to the right. So I’m guessing the missing Evils are Diablo, Baal, Mephisto, and Andariel. There are only 3 Evils left: Azmodan, Belial, and another one of the Evils.

      • It doesn’t obviously belong to Diablo because Diablo was not a singular leader… the three prime evils led together and he was the youngest of the brothers… the red throne pillar thing is probably just representing Azmodan as a singular prime evil…

    13. Okay, my theory (not that it really matters): Azmodan will find this black soulstone (like regular soulstones weren´t confusing enough) thingy and he (or “it” I guess) will use it to become all powerfull, then femablo will be screwed and we the humans (or nephalem, if humans re-evolve into them during the plot) will also be screwed. Taking into account that prime evils do have some history of working together with High Heavens for commong cause (OK, one case but still) and the devs have said something along the lines of possibility of working with demons, as a last resort thingy, Leah and Diablo will fuse and form the red power ranger, I mean, Diablo with hips (that doesn´t hop… …que crickets).

      Also, photo realism of this cinematic is absolutly amazing ( the plot (so far) not so much), but the quality is mind blowing, and I´m watching it away from home, on a crappy comp.

    14. I was just waiting for him to shout “I’ll kidnap a thousand children before I let this company die!”. 

      Cool trailer though, haha.

      • Maybe the Mistress of Pain or Andarial? could have been mistress to take over Duriels position after he was defeated?

    15. I didn´t notice it the first time I watched the video, but Azmodan talks to Leah like she is Diablo (or any other of the prime evils). From the introduction to the question of why would Azmodan even care about Leah when there are so many things going on in Sanctuary, High Heavens and Burning Hells (like possible return of the nephalem that would be a big threat to both angels and demons). Also, the way he says “I defy you”, definatly sounds more like he´s talking to one of the Prime Evils rather then frightened human. I don´t think he´d normally use “defy”, because defy implies he is talking to somebody of his own stature/power or higher, surely there are more suitable words. And this whole video smells of coup, Azmodan taking Prime Evil´s throne. I could be wrong tough, but there are just lot of inconsictencies here. Maybe the answer lies in the part of the video that was edited out.

      • Could be… maybe he recognizes that she is going to become Diablo’s new manifestation or perhaps this is even a memory of Diablo’s?

      • but it still doesn´t make sense, why would he “defy” the Horadrim/Humans/Nephalem/Angels. He was never captured by them and even if he had been captured, defy is still strange way of expression. “I broke free”, “I will destroy you”, “I hate your guts”, “I don´t fear you” would all be appropriate for addressing his former captives, or even those who defeated him. In order to defy someone, you need to have been first under that persons influence/control or you needed in a subserviant relationship, which would fit with Diablo being a Prime Evil and Azmodan Lesser Evil, Azmodan was under Diablo´s direct command.

    16. ok so here is my interpretation: the black soulstone could be a corrupted soulstone, this soulstone could be use to corrupt tyrael and by wathever events this should lead to Amondza (the fat guy) assection to the trone of prime evil. to explain when he said \I defy you\ I think he was adressing the human race, not just Lea. It’s like if he was saying: shure you the 3 prime evil but you can’t do shit against me, looser.

    17. Well, I liked it. Visual fantastic of course, thought the voices were better than some recent voice work at Blizzard and the atmosphere somehow interestingly was Diabloish despite being quite different than the atmosphere in D2 cinematics. However it’s clear this cinematic wasn’t complete since it didn’t make much narrative sense so I’ll have to reserve further judgement whether the story of Diablo 3 shows promise or will it be equally disastrous crap fest like SC 2 story. So far so good.

    18. Azmodan is a Deceptacon. WTF is he even talking to her? .. makes no sense!

      Also Azmodan doesnt even look sinister or evil .. he looks more alien than evil.

      I am dissapoint.

    19. Azmodan is going to be a weak act boss who probably gets put in his place by one of the real prime evils at some point in the story.

      The villains that tell their opponents their plans always die like scrubs.

    20. everyone keeps commenting that it makes no sense for azmodan to be addressing leah, or why leah is in the scene.  whats very obvious to me is that her vision was triggered by the presence of the object in her study, perhaps a black soul stone itself.   why would leah have a black soul stone?   perhaps it is the comet, or part of the comet event, that hits the church.

    21. I’m guessing the uncut version will make more sense, be more epic… you can tell theres a cut when those weird skeletal things are waking up and then it jumps to the smoke with azmodan appearing… I’m sure there are others…

      After seeing Azmodan in his full cinematic glory and how much more detailed his features are, I wish they would redo the dead lesser evils with new models just to have more realistic/interesting versions… Andariel and Duriel in D2 look plain compared to this guy…

    22. I love what we have of the cinematic so far!
      Am I the only one who’s strongly reminded of Guillermo del Toro’s visual style? And those spire thrones remind me of these but just a lot more evil.

    23. most worringly , Asomdan/Asmodius/Asmodai as his many names and translations. He is a greater demon of the nine hells a ruler of a huge demon army , and the Demon personification of LUST one of the seven sins.

      • The way he is addressing her sounds like he could be talking directly to Diablo.  He has no reason to be saying those things to ‘just’ Leah.

        I feel that as the game progresses she will begin to realize why Azmodan has taken an interest in her, and the dormant Diablo within her will awaken.

    24. It is funny to read the negative comments about how old Blizzard was so great and Blizzard sucks nowadays. Nothing changed, you just grew up, and can actually see the negatives in the videos, and not just go “whoaaa, this video was über cool, Blizzard rocks”.

      Story if Diablo. Diablo corrupts Leoric’s son, hero destroys Diablo, soulstone in head, but Diablo planned this all along, new body is stronger, go free my brother’s, dang, we got killed by the heroes, Baal tries to corrupt the WORLDSTONE, fails, worldstone destroyed. About the videos, and presentation of the villains. It’s true that Baal was great, but if you compare it to the video where they were united, Diablo was just plain stupid, and could only shake the ground with his footsteps… Not much from the demon, that gives the name of the game. The whole point of the video was we are going to destry everone RAWR RAWR. Azmodan is the same now as well… Nothing less, nothing more.

      And about cliches. Look at Warcraft 3. Great evil comes from another universe, Archimonde tries to destroy the WORLDTREE, fails, worldtree is destroyed in the process of defending. Of course, there were other events as well, like Arthas the all good main hero getting corrupted by evil, like we haven’t seen this before. Ever heard of Star Wars? Guess not.

      New WOW expansion. I don’t play wow, but all the expansions covered part of the lore, even the new one about pandas, at least as far as i know. It’s not that easy to keep several million people satisfied for more than 6 years, some people like the new expansion’s idea, some people don’t. Blizzard know this too, it’s not surprising, that their new MMO by the codename Titan is on the way.

      Blizzard hasn’t changed, maybe you have. But we always liked Blizzard because of the way they could present their stories, with their groundbreaking cinematics, and thought through gameplay.

      Ohh, and no one cares on what you spend your money. 😀 I like CD project as well, and like the Witcher series, and looking forward to that as well. But I played with Diablo games in most of my childhood, so I am looking forward to it, and I will buy it, because I love the world, and I want to smash Azmodan’s fat head into the mud. Enough said, I think. 🙂

      • It’s not about cliches. Even Oscar winning films have cliches. But there’s just such bad writing. Honestly, this is even below Transformers level. The Diablo II cinematics had much more atmosphere and weren’t just there for exposition. There’s a essential rule in film: show, don’t tell. At that, this cinematic horribly fails.

        • I won’t argue with you about the fact, that Diablo 2 cinematics are among the best. Till this day, the end of the intro movie gives me chills, by the line “always… into the east” and the D2 logo comes forth. But as Blizzard stated, this cinematic is a cut version, and not the whole, so maybe the missing parts add to the atmosphere. And this is just one of the cinematics, that D3 will present. This Black Soulstone video didn’t deliver me the hype that I was expecting after the two screenshots were released a few days earlier, but even D2 had its better and worse cinematics (for me at least). I put my faith in Blizzard and hope that the whole picture will be one to remember. I wouldn’t judge immediately after watching this, that’s all I’m saying.

    25. Never understood the point – you don’t like something, cool – but why tell everyone else?
      I think Basketball is one of the dumbest sports ever made – it’s dull, dull and more dull – yet, I couldn’t be bothered wasting my valueable life posting on every sports forum how much I dislike it.

      People can have their opinion – but this is a ‘fan-site’, so if you’re not a fan, what on earth are you doing here?

      • because people have opinions and likes/dislikes, and speaking your mind seperates you from mindless fanboi drones and Hammer legion members. Plus it’s the negative feedback that helps the gaming companies more, tells them what needs improvement and only makes their games better. Or would you rather have a legion of yes-men kissing their asses at every turn and leaving games as they are without a single patch?

        Personally I enjoyed the cinematic, it was just focused on a single event, like an Act-specific cinematic, not like the main cinematic that shows a bit of everything. I think that’s what people expected, another one of those, that’s why they’re disappointed. On a more personal level, I happen to think Azmodan is a dumbass. there goes his element of surprise so I take it it’s HIS army that we have to fight off at Bastion’s Keep, Act 3.

        • It’s true that feedback can help them for future things but all the negative feedback in the world is not going to make them change a cinematic they spent years on and it all just makes people look like nerdraging children that never grew up and think that the stuff (old games, old cinematics, etc.) that they were too young at the time to recognize how cheesy or bad it was is actually the best there has ever been or ever will be…

    26. If you pay attention you can see that when Leah first has that dream, vision or whatever that she is in some sort of a throne room with 7 seats and the main (central, red) seat is empty, and all other seats are taken. The three demons on the felt side of the seat (demons with the glowing eyes) look like mephisto, ball and diablo. And when Azmodan speaks he says that their brethren fell into her trap (applying that those demons that fell into her trap were her brethren), so it looks like that Leah could be either Lilith or in some way connected to her. Btw that Leah is a bit suspicious to me from the start, especially when that random townsman in D3 beta says that Leah was all night helping the blacksmith’s wife tending the wounded, and then the woman said that Leah was defending the gates this morning and also said “what drives that woman”. And after Leah spent all night with blacksmith’s wife, the wife got infected and turned into a wretched mother. I sense foul magic behind all of it 😉

      • lol you just described a day in the life of Xena and Gabrielle, defending the gates by morning, tending to the wounded by night……no foul magic, unless you count Ares pulling the strings in the background

      • While I do agree that there is more to Leah then meets the eye, ecpecially in this cinematic, and Lilith possesing Leah is a possibility, I´m more then certain that her “helping to defend the gates” and “tending to the wounded” is most definatly not any kind of proof that Leah is Lilith. Because, Lilith, one of the major demons, why the heck would she help the wounded or defend the gates. Even if she was just pretending, impersanators usually only bother to act good to keep up the appearance and not much beyond. Again, I am not saying that Lilith hasn´t possesed Leah, but that, as of now, we have no evidance of it.

        Also that theory pushes forward same question as this cinematic, why Leah? There are so many things going on, and so many people that are both more powerfull and more knowledgable then Leah, so why is it that she is at the center of attention of so many quite powerfull demons, and not, for example, Cain, or Lord Rathma, or any of the Archangels or thousands of people stronger then her. Why would Azmodan uncover his plans (that we can assume he was scheming for at least 20 years) and “defy” a cowering human girl with no exceptional knowledge or strength.

        • Why is Leah so special? Well, in beta, Adria’s journal says that Aiden was troubled and he came to her (it appears that he came to her after he killed diablo and put diablo’s soul stone in his head) and Adria “consoled” him as best as she could (we all know what that means, wink, wink). So it appears that Leah could be a child of diablo and a powerful witch. So, who knows how much of nephelem and demon power Leah possesses. Therefore she would be an ideal target for the demons and angels alike to try and wield her as some sort of a weapon.

    27. This cinematic was awesome and you’re all just a bunch of debbie downers.

      Save your rage for female diablo and RMAH. Leave the cinematic department alone.

    28. As so often with Blizzard’s games, it’s top notch cinematics for advertisement and presentation paired with … uhm … “dated” in-game graphics for a wide variety of end-user hardware. Download their press kit, watch the cinematic sequence in it’s full 1280x720px glory and then better don’t make the mistake of clicking that non-anti-aliased in-game footage directly after.

      Regarding the cinematic, I’m guessing that’s the Heart of Sin where Leah’s confrontation with Azmodan takes place during her vision, a location we know from the data-mined beta info to be Az’ boss fight arena. Look closely and you will see that there is one of those mysterious figures sitting on every seat, except for the big red throne in the center, which is empty. They are crouched at first and then lift their heads. When the creature on the seventh throne opens its eyes, just before the cut, you can see it has three pairs of them – Az “only” has four eyes. So that’s not him sitting to the far left and it’s not the Prime Evils on the thrones, rather it’s the demons of who we know three from the Blizz museum painting. Even though his lieutenants Ghom (Gluttony) and Cydaea (Lust) have no resemblance to these creatures – at least not the ones we can actually see – it’s probably safe to say we’re seeing the seat of the seven sins here. Azmodan as the Lord of Sin would take the center throne and represent the seventh sin at the same time. Pride would become him, seeing he seems to be after the (one) Prime Evil title.

      As we know from data-mined info as well, Diablo will have the “The Prime Evil” title displayed below his health bar in the end. Az and Big D rival over the same thing here and the Lesser Evil thinks he’s seeing through the Greater one’s plan. So I definitely wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Az is actually addressing the Lord of Terror when speaking to Leah about “defying”, a “trap” and “OUR brethren” – she’s of course unaware of her fate and just thinks WTF is that big blob in front of her talking about. The bigger picture might be a not-as-defeated-as-believed Diablo scheming all along (D/D2/D3) to lure all the Prime Evils into Sanctuary in order to get rid of them or weaken them and take hell for himself.

      • Some good observations and ideas there. I gather that the Leah/Diablo connection comes from her allegedly being the child of Adria and the becoming Wanderer. And from the lore we know that offspring between Angels and Demons became the powerful but weakening Nephalem – or humans. We haven’t heard of a demon being born out of a Nephalem (assuming Adria was indeed a Nephalem) previously in the lore. So Leah really being a demon raised and acting as a Nephalem, would be a bit ground-breaking. It would also mean that Diablo was able to manifest himself in the Wanderer and in Leah at the same time, and prior to the Worldstone getting destroyed.
        That all seems a bit messy to me. If Leah turns into Diablo, surely it’s because our favourite baddie was resurrected through the use of the Black Soulstone, and she unfortunately becomes his/her/its new vessel.

    29. I´ve got a theory (
      Leah is going the way of Kerrigan. Diablo, for whatever reason, is going to posses or maybe even fuse with Leah, and, she will become all evil. The game will probably end with Leah fusing with Diablo, and running off to Hell (after either she, or we, the players, have killed Azmodan), and then the expansions will explore that further.

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