Blizzard Shoots Down Diablo 3 Fan Renderings

By Aaron Linde, Aug 04, 2008 8:00pm PDT Unsettled by the brighter color palette of Blizzard's Diablo III (PC), fans took to the internet with online petitions and doctored screenshots, attempting to show the developer the error of its ways.

But Diablo III designer Jay Wilson believes that those fans may not grasp the capabilities and limitations of the hack-and-slash sequel's engine.

Left, an unaltered Diablo III screenshot. Right, a fan Photoshop recomposition.

"The key thing to remember here is that this has been Photoshopped. This isn't created by the engine," Wilson told MTV Multiplayer, when asked of the screenshots pictured above.

"Though it looks really cool, it's almost impossible to do in a 3D engine because you can't have lighting that smart and run on systems that are reasonable," he added. "If we could do that, we probably would in a few of the dungeons."

Wilson further explained that color desaturation prominently featured in several other fan-altered shots reduce the visibility of key on-screen elements, effectively reducing the ease of play.

"It becomes really hard to see all the profiles. Look at the tables and see how hard it is to see the profiles of those," he offered. "The biggest problem here is that the silhouettes don't stand out enough... If there are three other types of creatures in there—which is not uncommon—and give them all that same desaturated tone, you won't be able to play the game very well."

"You've got to think that there's potentially up to seven other people in addition to yourself, and several dozen monsters. All that noise just translates into unplayable, especially when this starts moving."

Speaking on the oft-maligned and heavily analyzed presence of rainbows in the first few Diablo III screenshots, Wilson dismissed suggestions that the colorful arcs indicated a brighter tone for the latest title.

"After the announcement, one of our environment artists went to the darkest area in Act One and put a giant rainbow across the whole area," Wilson revealed. "No, you're probably not going to see a ton of rainbows. But we don't think the one that's in there is that big a deal."

He concluded, "When you pull all the color out of the environment and you make it too homogeneous across the game, essentially what you're doing is you're pulling away the player's reward of feeling like they've progressed because the area they're in now looks like the area they were in 30 to 45 minutes ago."

Click here to comment...


62 Threads | 178 Comments

  • I'm some guy on a forum and I totally no more about game design than the Diablo 3 team because I have made many famous videogames that is why you should use the photoshopengine instead of the Diablo 3 engine. Blizzard does not know how to make a good game or please their fans. They've got like what, 11 million WoW players and millions more Diablo 2 players? And we all see how they ruined Starcraft with Starcraft 2. I can't believe they went 3D when the original game was CLEARLY 2D. (WTF LOL!!)

    Blizzard should just make my game instead.

  • I don't agree with this guy. He's not quite right about their new design style being easier to read. I find it easier to spot individual mutalisks in old SC than in SC2. SC2 could benefit from that contrast that the original game had, in terms of separating objects and making them more readable.

    I also don't agree that this washed out grungy look is hard to read - Diablo 2 was generally very easy to read (there were some enemies that were hard to make out, but that's a specific art problem for that specific enemy rather than with the style), and it's icons were also instantly recognizable, making inventory management so much better than in most other RPGs I can recall. Diablo 2 is loved in part just because its art was so good, and because its interface was so slick. Blizzard as a brand in general are known for that.

    That said I like the new art style.