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.