Original Diablo Dev Lukewarm on Diablo 3 Look

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.

Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • bill roper lost all credibility after releasing that piece of garbage named hellgate
  • Marcus Yam
    brian fitzgeraldbill roper lost all credibility after releasing that piece of garbage named hellgateI was one of the victims of Hellgate :( Collector's Edition too.
  • nukemaster
    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.
  • lopopo
    Hellgate sucks it's very existence insults me
  • rmse17
    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.
  • pharge
    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!
  • 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.
  • aznguy0028
    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.
  • powerbaselx
    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...
  • humand
    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