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Diablo 4 quarterly dev blog discusses art and environments

Even in the wake of delays and acquisitions, the Diablo 4 quarterly updates are still coming through.

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A lot has happened in the last few months in regards to Blizzard and its potential future, but the major shakeups in the publisher's world is not stopping the Diablo 4 quarterly blogs from going up. For this first quarter of 2022, the development team is diving into the topic of art and environments. The game's artists discuss this topic directly with the user base in the latest blog post.

"We approach creating the environments of Diablo 4 through a darker and more grounded interpretation than earlier installments," Art Director for Environments Chris Ryder explained in the latest Diablo 4 quarterly blog post. "The aim is for believability, not realism. Believability comes through our use of materials and deliberate construction of architecture and artifacts you will come across as you play through dungeons and the open world. In addition, regional weather conditions, varied local biomes, and a sense of history set the foundation of how an object or place should look visually in a medieval world like Sanctuary. After all, Sanctuary is full of history, struggle, and conflict, giving us many opportunities to depict a diverse world full of compelling locations in a dark gothic-medieval setting. Even the wealthiest areas in Sanctuary are challenging to exist in. Leaning into these characteristics adds to the richness of the world. It gives us a springboard to elaborate on the space visually, giving it a sense of identity we can lock onto and build around. The atmosphere is almost tangible in places, with weather and lighting play a more prominent visual role in Diablo IV. When it rains, surfaces get wet, puddles form in ruts and hoof prints, the ground feels muddy, the atmosphere is heavy and damp. Contrast that by making your way into a hazy fire-lit tavern that instantly contrasts with the atmosphere outside, a rare place of refuge and warmth. We want to take you on a journey, hinting at a location's past or recent events. The satisfying part of our work is developing and jamming on a location's unique visual story, pushing and pulling the art until it becomes an iconic backdrop for combat, exploration finally screams Diablo."

In addition to discussing the game's various locations across Sanctuary, the latest blog post also dives into the open world and the assets that go into putting it together. The open world is comprised of five distinct zones, including the Scosgien Coast, Orbei Monastery, and Kyovoshad. Beyond the open world, there's additional discussion of the game's dungeon design, which will boast new features, like seamless floor transitions, and will vary in design across several different biomes.

It's been a long development cycle for Diablo 4, which has experienced some ups and a lot of downs. Over the course of its development, the game has seen significant leadership changes and some major delays that leave its release window in question. On top of that, there's that little matter of Microsoft purchasing the whole enterprise. In the wake of all that, it's refreshing to see that the quarterly updates are still coming.

As for when Diablo 4 will hit, that looks to be a long way off. We'll continue to monitor the latest on the game's development and its long-awaited release here at Shacknews, so stay tuned to the Diablo 4 topic for more.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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