"For Diablo 2, Blizzard North wanted to break out of the first game's vertical mode and create a larger world with lots of varied locations to explore," Craddock said. "Over time, the team hit on some drawbacks. They added the ability to run in order to explore new regions more quickly, but running meant if the going got tough, the tough could just get going. Second, many on the team missed the original game's grittier environments, which had largely been put aside in favor of grasslands, jungles, and deserts that, while beautiful, certainly couldn't be described as "gothic horror," Diablo 1's trademark theme.
"Most of the team's reservations came from an attachment to the mechanics that had made Diablo 1 so much fun, such as the slower, more strategic march through claustrophobic dungeons. Eventually, Blizzard North came to embrace Diablo 2 as its own game, one that needed to step away from the original in some ways," he said. "Creating lots of new environments gave them the opportunity to expand Diablo's world and mythology, and presented players with a change of scenery just around the time they might start to feel bored of their current region. Running left Diablo 1's emphasis on picking through dungeons carefully and methodically in the dust, but it also broadened the sequel's mainstream appeal and punched the pace up considerably."
Tease for next week: Starblo, anyone?
New environments were created for Diablo 2.