Thanks to the heroic video editing efforts of a guy calling himself Sozou, we may have reached the end of the D3 “too colorful” art controversy. The end, one way or the other. Sozou has taken the WWI gameplay movie, and reprocessed the entire dungeon section (the first 12 minutes) so it looks like those gritty, grainy screenshots players were turning out shortly after D3’s announcement. Darker, desaturated, no greens and blues, etc. The file is high quality, it plays at the full frame rate, and it switches between the original version and the desaturated, modified version regularly, so it’s ideal to compare the different visual styles..

    Since the initial outcry, Blizzard’s designers have explained that the colorful, green/blue tinted D3 we see today is the third or fourth version of the art direction. They say they initially tried it in a darker, desaturated style, and found it unplayable. Monsters and other characters were hard to distinguish, the game became visually monotonous, and when they went back to more closely examine D2, they realized it was much more colorful in actuality than in their memories.

    You may agree or not, but this is probably as close as we’re going get to seeing what D3 looked like in the earlier versions.

    Click through for more from on how the video was made and a short interview we conducted with the creator.

    Official Description

    Also on Sozou’s site, you can also check out a big page of desaturated stills from the movie, and a short, super high quality video comparison. It’s a 64meg .mov file with 10 seconds of action. The same 5 second clip is shown twice; once in the original color, and once in the desaturated style. He’s also posted the full movie on rapidshare.

    Sozou’s official explanation, from his page:

    I believe the Diablo team will make the best game of the year when it is released despite the color discussions at this early stage of the first released gameplay footage. I like others want to tone down the colors. Basically;

    • Desaturated Environment
    • Colorful Interactions, spells & skills.
    • Dirty, grunge look. Not digital perfect. It?s HD gaming, but too crisp.

    Creator Interview

    Diii.net: How did you do it? (graphical tools, applied filters, etc)
    Sozou: I used After Effects. Getting into what effects and such is going to take a while, but basically I desaturated different channels and added grain and vignette effect which gets more heavily darker and grainier to the edges than in the middle.

    Diii.net: Have you followed the arguments Jay Wilson and other D3 teamsters have made, about why they rejected that dark, gritty look on early versions of the game? Agree/disagree?[/B]
    Sozou: Well as of for the discussions that is going on; To get something clear, despite the outcome, the gameplay will be most important. that said, my thoughts of the early released footage from d3 team has been mixed feelings. I’m in no position to say whats right and wrong, i have big respect to the D3 team. But as fanboy to the Diablo world, I felt, like many others, that the colors were presented didn’t apply to that universe. specifically it’s the environment in the dungeon, Tone down the colors environment colors, I’m not saying make it gray or black. But keep the colors in character interactions, spells & skills. different dungeon environment should have a majority color applied. Cold = blue, warm = red etc, sewers=green.

    Diii.net: One of the D3 team’s main arguments was that it was hard to tell the monsters from the characters from the background. I get that feeling on your version, especially at the beginning where the gray ghouls are hard to pick out against the dark gray stone. Your thoughts?[/B]
    Sozou: Your char is the light. I believe the characters that are further away from the screen should be a bit harder to spot out. It adds a mystery feel to it, until you have the classic mouseover highlight effect. The ghouls at the beginning are almost the same color scheme as the environment. It enhances the dramatics of their appearance at that specific stage. I don’t feel it’s necessary to make the monsters more colorful contrast to the environment.

    Another thought is that now we are in HD gaming, i often see games to digital perfect when they shouldn’t be. Grain it out make it more dirty, more rougher edges.

    All this is pointing out how Diablo has been for two titles and I’m absolutely positive that the D3 team knows all of this , talked about it, and thought that it’s time to move to a more colorful Diablo dungeons, who knows. nevertheless, im excited as many others.

    Diii.net: Did you try this technique on the second half of the movie, when they go outside? Or you don’t mind the colors and such when it’s outdoors? [/B]
    Sozou: I haven’t color priority the second half, I feel that it works as it is. All my thoughts have been in the underground, dungeons, whatever you want to call it.

    Thanks to Sozou for creating such an interesting conversation piece, and taking the time to answer our questions.


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