Among all the news shown in the BlizzConline 2021, no doubt Diablo 4 it was one of the most loved games by gamers, who eagerly await the time to return to the sanctuary in its versions for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
But while the game doesn’t reach our homes, we found that our hype could get even bigger! At Blizzard’s invitation, we had the opportunity to spend half an hour talking exclusively with the game’s director, Luis Barriga, and with art director John Mueller. Check out how our conversation went!
Say that Diablo IV is one of the most awaited games of the moment would be an understatement, and now we have this super presentation with new class, mechanics and concepts. What most excited you about this BlizzConline?
Luis Barriga: “For me it is definitely the open world that we set up, in addition to the Renegade class that we highlighted here at BlizzConline. The whole aspect of dungeon crawling has always been a giant part of Diablo, and fans can of course expect it to be very familiar. So the open world really is my addition of great prominence, specifically because it is a shared open world!
Luis Barriga is the director of Diablo IV and is very excited about his open worldSource: Blizzard
We strive to maintain the feeling that the Sanctuary is a dangerous place, you will not see many allies on the adventure all the time, but you have a great world to explore! It’s okay that if you’re the type of player who prefers a more linear approach to zeroing out all at once on your own, you can do that, but you can also change the pace a little bit in the middle of the campaign if you want to rather than having to wait post-game.
You can always adapt the leveling experience to your own taste! But today it’s cool because we can also highlight other aspects of the open world, like the Camps, the PvP that makes us very excited, and it will be a pleasure to talk about all of this! “
How was the process of growing both the scope of the adventure in Diablo IV and, at the same time, ensure that your gameplay remains familiar to longtime fans?
John Mueller: “In my opinion we only added even more to the game! We never had much verticality in the games of Diablo, and now we can go through hills and hills and yet the combat flows as you would expect. But then we have the Camps, PvP, the complete campaign, Events, hubs, all connected in a fluid way without having to put up with a loading screen!
Art director John Mueller said the team took inspiration from the Hudson River School’s artistic movementSource: Blizzard
You can start at the top of the Scosglen forests, go through the frozen mountains to the deserts of Kehijistan without any interruptions while riding your mount. It is a beautiful experience to take your horse and go exploring on this adventure! “
Luis Barriga: “The technical challenge was actually a lot of fun and, if we did our job right, players should immediately think ‘man, this really gives the real feeling of a Diablo‘. But behind the scenes there is a concern to ensure that the powers work perfectly, for example, a spell that causes damage to the ground now needs to deal with different reliefs in the middle of the action.
If you drop a fireball on snowy terrain, the snow needs to reflect your actions correctly. So one of our greatest passions is to be able to integrate the traditional mechanics of Diablo with this new open world full of possibilities! We hope this looks like something very natural and organic to the players. “
John Mueller: “It ends up impacting the animations of the characters as well. We need new animations for them to deal with the new terrain and challenges, climbing and crawling through the obstacles. It all helps to feel like a real sandbox, that’s all you can do. expect a truly open world! “
And how are the new play areas integrated into this open world that you are creating?
Luis Barriga: “Part of the appeal is to make each area of the game feel different and unique. It is not just a matter of having a different name, music and cities, but of each area communicating something different. In the desert of Kahijistan , the dropped items are consistent with what you would expect from a place like this. The equipment revolves more around cloths that can protect you from the heat and the sand, the swords are more like our scimitars.
The area of the Fractured Summits, on the other hand, looks more like something from Eastern Europe, a great contrast to the other areas even because it is full of snow. Scosglen is the homeland of the Druids, and I particularly love it because it reminds me of the first games of Diablo in the sense that it has a lot of green and nature, but still, everything is dark and half cursed. You can find beautiful areas, of course, and there is a bit of that Gaelic vibe, like Scotland and Ireland.
We also have the Dry Steppes, a little more inspired by Mongolia. It is a high altitude and very arid area, but my favorite are the Hawezar swamps but … damn, my favorite thing is a spoiler! Damn, I can’t even comment on that yet! (laughs)”
John Mueller: “As Luis said, all the items you find in the regions really look like something you would find in those places, and the music changes dynamically to adapt to where you are. It is a breathtaking experience of exploring the world of the Sanctuary in a way it was never done. It took a lot of work to connect all of these systems in what is certainly the most ambitious aspect of the game! “
About the look of the game, my impression is that Diablo IVdespite having its own identity, it seems to drink a lot from the source of its predecessors. How was the process of choosing the right tone for this game?
John Mueller: “Diablo III it had a beautiful artistic style painted by hand and, at that time, when the game came out, it was something really different. But Diablo II it had a more down to earth style, dark and realistic, which many people liked because it seemed more medieval. So we intentionally endeavored to embrace what we liked most about Diablo II, but also take advantage of this great aspect of manual painting Diablo III!
It helps our world to look very artistic. Because when we set up a world, we don’t study photographs, we use paintings as a basis, especially material from the artistic movement known as the Hudson River School. If you have someone with a knack for art reading this and want to take a look at the works of Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Cole, they painted 100 years ago an aesthetic that is still beautiful! For our open world, it was a great inspiration! “
Renegada was the big star of the show on this BlizzConline, right? How excited are you to bring this beloved class back?
Luis Barriga: “I’m very happy to talk about it, I think it’s the thing that excites us the most today! If you are a fan who liked Renegada do Diablo original, it will be possible to create a character very faithful to that. But if you are more of a style of playing table RPGs, she likes to use poisons and stab in the back, then it will be possible to create a very familiar build!
So the way we envision its launch is that we already had archetypes for our other needs, from a character focused on brute force or intelligence and perspicacity to the druids well connected with nature. But a character with a focus on precision, elegance and dexterity was missing. We had a lot of ideas for mechanics in that sense, so it occurred to us that Diablo it had a class like that, although more focused on bow and arrow.
Even outside Diablo, rogues in general have this strong tradition of being associated with blades and improving them using poison, which gave us a great starting point. It was really the right class at the right time, when the focus of our series increases so that everyone can see themselves represented in this global adventure. And as you travel through the Sanctuary, you can meet other Renegades and learn more techniques from them. “
And from what you said, this time we will have a lot more freedom when assembling our characters, right? The focus for growth goes well beyond the loot collected this time.
Luis Barriga: “You touched on a very important point: we want your character to be a very significant part of the equation of his power. Naturally, equipment is essential in this account, but your hero also matters. And part of that revolves around the skill tree.
We showed in one of our blog posts the exciting directions in which we’re taking this and the attributes you’ll improve as you level up. We wanted to ensure that each class had multiple paths to evolve, and we are having fun balancing the game to ensure that this is really true.
Nobody would complain about seeing a Renegade with too much dexterity, but it may be that in your build it is more interesting to use many intelligence points for her. We are still going to see how much of this will remain in the final game, but we are really enjoying the results so far as we see that critical damage is associated with intelligence.
Even thinking like a fantasy I think it makes sense, since if you are an intelligent Renegade, you would find smarter ways to bluff, detect weaknesses and prepare accurate blows targeting vital organs. This gives many ways to evolve from a perspective of power! “
And what will the multiplayer aspects of the new game be like?
John Mueller: “I am not the best PvP player, but I love the fact that we have PvE events within the PvP areas in the open world! You enter these areas that were half asleep, the Fields of Hatred (” fields of hate “), as we call them, which are areas cursed by Mephisto.
And now it is clear that with the return of Lilith, the daughter of hate, these areas are alive again and filled with evil energy. Maybe even that makes him kind of greedy, because when Luis and I played together, sometimes I thought he was getting too many items. (laughs) Maybe that motivates a little hostility? Because I want to take back the loot he took from me!
Luis Barriga: “If you are a PvE player only, we will try to tease you a little bit, like, ‘don’t you want this cool cosmetic that is exclusive to PvP?’, But other than that, there is nothing forcing you to play it if you don’t want to. You can complete the entire campaign without playing multiplayer. I would encourage you to at least try this out but, if it’s not really your taste, there’s a lot more to do in the open world besides, with tons of side missions to explore. “
John Mueller: “My PvP build is going to be different from my campaign build, as there are things, especially with Renegade, that you can and should do to defend yourself against sorcerers. I think that’s another fun element of our world open, to be able to pause the campaign a little and go play some PvP whenever I want, or go exploring dungeons, complete events. I think it’s amazing how well the game is fitting in now. “
Since the launch of the first Diablo, there are plenty of clones and similar projects on the market, especially nowadays, with several free to play available. What do you think is the great attraction of the franchise to remain relevant?
Luis Barriga: “It’s our world, man! If you play an imitation, of course you may like one or two things, but soon you end up going back to Diablo. Because we are the Sanctuary, we are the real deal! “
John Mueller: “Our open world cannot be underestimated. There are so many different systems working well and in harmony … It is one of those things that, as you are developing the game, puts a lot of faith that it will work, and suddenly you’re already at a point where you can test and see that it’s really working amazingly, it’s fantastic! We’re so proud! ”
Are you looking forward to Diablo IV? What did you think of our chat with the game directors? Comment below!