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Original Diablo Dev Lukewarm on Diablo 3 Look

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 37 comments

Blizzard Entertainment’s games have very loyal fan followings thanks to many of its games being so close to many gamers’ hearts. But when Diablo III was announced, the fan base was divided on the visual palette.

Rather than continue with the first two Diablo games’ dark, gritty, almost reduced-color palette look, Diablo III appeared to have more in common with Warcraft’s style and its predecessors. The more colorful look sent some fans into a frenzy, with some even starting online petitions in hopes to sway the new art direction.

Now one of the series’ original creators, Bill Roper, chimes in on his own personal feelings on Diablo III’s look, despite having no connection to the development of the title. (Roper left Blizzard to form Flagship Studios, which produced the ill-fated Hellgate: London MMO. He is now design director and executive producer of Cryptic Studios, and in charge of Champions Online.)

"You know, I liked the darker grittier. I liked the differences in art style, to be honest. So, I think I would personally from a player standpoint prefer that,” Roper said to VideoGamer regarding Diablo III’s visual style.

“I think that one of the things that we always tried to get across was that Diablo was Gothic fantasy and I think there was just a need that was put in there from the visuals that I didn't necessarily get. I got it from the architecture and to a degree from the character design but not the feeling of the world,” he added. “I can't say that I dislike it. I didn't look at it and go, oh my God that's horrible. But I looked at it and went, it's not really... to me as a player it just didn't really ring with Diablo.”

Roper went on to theorize why the change in art direction, attributing it mainly to a different creative team at the helm. Diablo was developed by the now defunct Blizzard North team, whereas the new game is being made by Blizzard Irvine.

“One of the things I always enjoyed about that separation between Blizzard and Blizzard North was that the Diablo games had a very distinct art style. ... Diablo was I think grittier and darker and a little more leaning towards the photo realistic. Whereas the Craft games that were being built down in Irvine were bigger and broader in scope, brighter colors, just different pallets and different presentation,” explained Roper. “It wasn't that I looked at it and went, oh my God that looks terrible. I was like, that looks like Blizzard. The guys in Irvine. That's what it looks like to me. Their interpretation of it.”

So there you go, one of Diablo’s fathers isn’t completely in love with the new look, but accepts it for what it is. Diablo III, like any other Blizzard game, has no promised release date, but we’ll keep you posted if we hear anything.

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  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , March 18, 2009 12:12 AM
    bill roper lost all credibility after releasing that piece of garbage named hellgate
  • 0 Hide
    Marcus Yam , March 18, 2009 12:38 AM
    brian fitzgeraldbill roper lost all credibility after releasing that piece of garbage named hellgate

    I was one of the victims of Hellgate :(  Collector's Edition too.
  • 1 Hide
    nukemaster , March 18, 2009 1:07 AM
    I got my hellgate for $19. Thank you EB promo(scratch card for so much off a game:) ).

    Too bad it was sooooooo repetitive and glitched out.
  • 0 Hide
    lopopo , March 18, 2009 3:03 AM
    Hellgate sucks it's very existence insults me
  • 2 Hide
    rmse17 , March 18, 2009 5:10 AM
    The guy has a point, and to me this is a deal breaker. I thought D2 was not as dark, and more cartoon-ish than D1.. but D3 is a little ridiculous. Oh well, some D3 clone will come out with better view.
  • 2 Hide
    pharge , March 18, 2009 5:37 AM
    Though I prefer D3 to be as dark as D2 and D1, to be honest the color of the games, was never the main reason why I love my D1 and D2 so much. It was the fun of the game play and those um... limited but nice storyline. If it will look like the D1 and D2.. great.... if not.. fine.. but no matter it'd better at least as fun to play as the D1 and D2. Remember, you are Blizzard which is one of a few companies I know who put quality way over quantity!
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , March 18, 2009 6:33 AM
    Titan Quest is awesome, which more people played it.
    Also, I think there will come mods of the community to make D3 like it sshould be colour wise.
  • 2 Hide
    aznguy0028 , March 18, 2009 7:15 AM
    not defending D3, but blizzard did say that there are parts of the game that are "dark" and "gritty" like it's predecessors. they felt that if the game was dark everywhere, it would be visually very boring. and once you're throw in the dungeon, palette doesn't change much, and they felt that would not bring excitement into the game

    i agree though. i prefer outside to be brighter and happier, especially in the beginning zone. if you're thrown into hell at lvl 1 and the palette stays the same throughout the game; to me that would very very boring.
  • 0 Hide
    powerbaselx , March 18, 2009 9:30 AM
    I think it's early to judge D3 only by screenshots and small presentations on specific scenes.
    I also feel it's wrong for Bill Roper to come comment D3 while he's not there anymore and it looks like a competition comercial maneuver other then an independent evaluation as a player.

    I really don't mind if D3 will bring more colors or a less dark gameplay environment if the gothic look is still present, gameplay is as interesting as D1 and D2 and the game comes finally out to be sold which is IMO the major problem for us gamers...
  • 1 Hide
    humand , March 18, 2009 10:38 AM
    i liked the original diablo. i finished it many times. i tried diablo 2 but couldn't finish it because i lost interest. the atmosphere was not there and the colors were bad. looks like diablo 3 will be the same. its a pitty to come out many years after diablo 2 and to look similar. but then again, maybe most of the folks out there liked diablo 2 better. i would of gone for a major change like both first person/3rd person view with freaky lightened temples and etc
  • 0 Hide
    Pei-chen , March 18, 2009 11:14 AM
    This guy just wants Blizzard to take him back. Kinda like the ex bad mouthing the current BF hoping the girl would take him back after he dumped her and went for the village slut.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , March 18, 2009 12:15 PM
    It's amazing when you see these nostalgic fanboy nerds get into an absolute frenzy over the visual style of the game.

    Blizzard has released just tiny fragments of the game through gameplay footage and screenshots, but by the crying you see, you'd think they already released the game.

    Stop pretending like you won't play or enjoy the game. Who are you kidding?

    The reason you like dungeon crawlers is the same reason that half the population, including myself, likes dungeon crawlers.

    You play a character, you get a big hard-on when an item drops with a fun new color and unknown stats, and you try and make your character bigger, stronger and tougher than everyone else's character, so you can kill things faster and get more fun colored items.

    Before you know it, you'll be following this pattern, while at the same time bombarding the forums with reports that all the other classes are stronger while yours sucks.

    Rinse and repeat.
  • -2 Hide
    anonymous_anonymous , March 18, 2009 1:02 PM
    HaHa; MustWarnOthers must play WOW. Everyone wants the purpz to make their characters the best and same thing goes for D3. End Game is all about grinding out the best items and then an expansion comes out; and you still will continue to grind out more of the best items in the game.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 18, 2009 1:39 PM
    Used to play. It was a fun time killer, but I realized after about 2 years of it, I wasn't just killing time, I was murdering it with a snow shovel.

    Cold turkey and good riddance.
  • 0 Hide
    Wanker79 , March 18, 2009 1:44 PM
    I've never really understood why people thought D2 was so dark and gritty in the first place? I guess they never played Act I (except for the dungeons) or any of Act II?
  • 0 Hide
    RADIO_ACTIVE , March 18, 2009 2:19 PM
    Well lets just say the demo I was able to play at BLIZZCON ROCKED!
  • 0 Hide
    n3ard3ath , March 18, 2009 3:28 PM
    powerbaselxI think it's early to judge D3 only by screenshots and small presentations on specific scenes.I also feel it's wrong for Bill Roper to come comment D3 while he's not there anymore and it looks like a competition comercial maneuver other then an independent evaluation as a player.I really don't mind if D3 will bring more colors or a less dark gameplay environment if the gothic look is still present, gameplay is as interesting as D1 and D2 and the game comes finally out to be sold which is IMO the major problem for us gamers...


    I totaly disagree with what you say about it not being right for Bill Roper to comment on his opinion about the game's look. The established popularity of the franchise belongs to him and his team. He did'nt lost credibility by releasing a kindda bad game. The game is still 'OK' to me, just not great. His studio was newborn, and that was their first 3D game. IMO the fact they pushed the technology a bit too far really helped to undermine this game's developement. Piss me off to see Blizzard take all credits for Diablo when it don't belongs to them. The game only belongs to them financially speaking. Meaning the only credits for it they deserve is the fact they backed it well finacially to ensure the shipped game was as good as it could get.
  • 1 Hide
    hellwig , March 18, 2009 3:58 PM
    The bright colors of WCIII and WoW are too much. I suppose its fine for a game with elves and dwarves and whatnot to be bright and fanciful, but Diablo is supposed to be a battle against the minions of hell. Its kinda like the difference between Tim Burton's Batman movies, and the abortions that followed (I'm talking B&R and Forever). A story loses its dark and brooding appeal when villians run around in miles of neon tubing. Some things just need to be dark and gritty, and Diablo is one of those.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 18, 2009 4:01 PM
    anyone who says the art style is a deal breaker or that they wont get diablo3 because of its art is full of it 100%. stop kidding yourselves, you know its going to be amazing and I am so freaking happy Roper has no say on diablo3, talk about fail, I wish he would just leave the game industry. From all the interviews and crap he spews I wouldnt be surprised if everything good in diablo1/2 were things that he didnt really agree with. I dont know how someone can be part of such good games and turn around to head something like hellgate.

    And seriously, since when was diablo 1/2 DARK AND GRITTY. Looks pretty damn colorful to me, the gritty is maybe because of 10 year old graphics?? I wish roper would just disappear, just seeing his name invokes rage.
  • -2 Hide
    formin , March 18, 2009 4:07 PM
    i cant deal with a wow lookin d3.
    i even find the new starcraft has to much "color"
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