We were at BlizzCon 2016 and since there were major Diablo announcements we sat down with Diablo III's Lead Developer Kevin Martens and Art Director John Mueller as the Diablo series celebrates its 20th anniversary. We talked about the new things they are adding to the game and how they feel about the Diablo series following these announcements.
After so many years there's still a lot more and a lot of new stuff coming to Diablo, so what is new with Diablo?
KM: So we have a huge list of things for 2017 that are coming. Of course we announced the Necromancer. A brand new playable class that focuses on patch, blood and bone magic. We also have the anniversary event, the 'Darkening of Tristram' which will happen every January to commemorate Diablo's anniversary and in this event, we recreated the original Diablo I labyrinth with all the original bosses, all in Diablo III there's special rewards; there's Easter eggs, there is monsters, we've redone monsters to be more like the original Diablo monsters, a big deal there.
We have two new zones that we are announcing, The Shrouded Moors and The Temple of the Firstborn. We have a new feature called the armoury, which gives you five full loadouts for all of your characters; that changes all your skills, your gems, your gear, everything out with a single button click so you can switch out what your character is going to do that day super easily you can save up to five on every character.
In Greater Rifts there's a whole laundry list of improvements. We've changed monster A.I, we have a brand new algorithm for spawning them. If you don't die during a rift you get a bonus roll on upgrading your legendary gems. We have a new die interface so you don't have to have dies in your inventory, you can work on them at the mystic in her wardrobe feature, sorry the mystics Transmog feature you can dial up your gear right there so you don't have to do that anymore. All the crafting materials have been taken out of your bag and out of your stash and put into a dedicated UI to free up bag space, to make it easier to manage all of those things as well. We also have a brand new game mode called Challenge Rifts. Challenge Rifts are where everyone plays a preset character with all the skill and gear completely set and a pre-set rift where they can try and play it, learn all the corridors and all the nooks and crannies and get the best time they can and compete with their friends or, even complete on global leader boards to see who can finish that the best and everyone gets the same character.
We have new legendary powers for all of the character classes as well and we'll be unveiling those tomorrow at the second panel. I think that mostly completes it, I'm sure I forgot some stuff because there's a lot of things there. So yeah busy year for 2017 and we're proud to celebrate Diablo's 20th Anniversary.
So like you were saying, you're creating the original Diablo in Diablo III. How are you going to make sure that this is a proper old school experience?
JM: Well I can talk about our, what we call 'glorious retro vision' which Frank mentioned in the opening ceremony. We've really gone back to and looked at especially Diablo II, some of the graphics and we've sort of created a pixelated look. We've removed animations; we've removed run animations, we've done a lot of things to make it look and feel like it's a retro sort of filter that we put over the entire game and it's really beautiful and it feels nostalgic and we have a lot of the old music. Additionally of course we have all the original bosses and the interface. This was really a love letter a labour of love on behalf of the team, really trying to keep the legacy of Diablo I alive because as you said, not a lot of people have you know. I'm old enough to have remembered playing it for the first time but not everybody has played Diablo I. We wanted to fix that.