The lights are on
If you’ve had to chance to check out Issue #199 of Game Informer (that’s the one with the hot Epic Mickey cover that’s on newsstands now), you may have chanced upon my preview for Diablo III, wherein I laid out details on the game’s recently revealed Monk class. While there’s a lot to be excited about from the game’s fourth announced class, there’s plenty of other interesting changes that Diablo III is bringing to the franchise.
I had the chance to speak with Diablo III game director Jay Wilson about some of the biggest changes and how Blizzard’s fans have reacted. How did a Halo-style health regeneration system almost end up in Diablo III? How is this new hack-and-slash RPG inspired by Zelda and fighting games? And who is (or is not) the fifth playable class? Read on to find out!
Game Informer: The big news for Diablo III at BlizzCon was the new Monk class. Has there been any other big news or interesting updates on the game since BlizzCon?
Jay Wilson: No, I don’t know that we’ve announced anything big since then. We usually save up for BlizzCon. That was our last big new information push.
GI: Of course there’s one more class left to be revealed at some point in the future. Will eager Diablo III fans will have to wait until BlizzCon next year before we see that class?
JW: We haven’t decided on the release schedule and when we’re going to announce that class. It will depend heavily on when the class is ready to be shown. If it’s ready to show at the next BlizzCon, then yeah, maybe then. Or if it’s ready sooner, then we might do it at some other event.
GI: Let’s focus on the Monk for a little bit then. The idea of a Monk in Diablo III is interesting because you aren’t just doing a melee fighter, like a lot of people may think of because of monks from other RPGs. Diablo III’s Monk has strong magical abilities as well. I’m curious where that idea came from.
JW: When you’re dealing with a melee character in a game like this, they’re actually some of the more challenging characters to make. When we were thinking up the idea of what character we would want to do, we knew we wanted to make a faster, more fragile, high DPS (damage per second) melee character who was a nice contrast from the Barbarian. We pegged that as one of the things we really wanted to do. We wanted a magical character, again, because it was a great contrast from the Barbarian. It also opens doors for us to do different kinds of abilities that you wouldn’t normally get to do on a melee character.
That was one of the reasons we liked the Monk. It wasn’t the only reason, but it was definitely one of them. It felt to us that the more priest-oriented holy abilities hadn’t been explored on that type of a character in depth, and we thought that would be really fun to add in and would be a nice twist on the class.
GI: Speaking of the Monk’s abilities, I think it’s really interesting that each Monk ability has three separate moves that can be mixed and matched with the other abilities. That makes for a much more engaging melee character. I would have to imagine it also means that from the animation standpoint it’s pretty complicated to work on the character. Did you have any films or other sources that you were using as inspiration to help flesh out some of those moves?
JW: The biggest inspiration was fighting games. Especially on our animation team, but across the whole game, we have a big fighting game culture, bigger than any team I’ve ever been on. We like us some fighting games. (Laughs)
When we decided to make a character like this, we really wanted to make a fighting game character. We looked at Street Fighter and God of War and games like that, more melee brawler-type games. We knew walking in that it was a more expensive character animation-wise. This character’s going to have more animations than any of our other characters, maybe more than two or three characters put together. But every class has a different cost associated with it. The Barbarian takes longer to iterate his skills and get it right, so we tend to have to do more versions of his skills before they really shine. The Wizard is really effects-heavy. The Witch Doctor has whole creatures that we have to build for him. Every class has their cost, so we thought it was acceptable for the Monk to have more animation, and at least it was a very different cost than any of the other characters.
GI: Are there any specific fighting games that are particularly popular around the office?
JW: Right now, Street Fighter IV.
GI: Are you guys psyched about the Super Street Fighter IV announcement?
JW: There’s debate. [Laughs] There’s back and forth. Everyone’s pretty excited about it. Of course, we’re all debating about who they chose to put back in. But yeah, we’re pretty excited about it. A lot of the guys are playing UFC right now, but I haven’t had a chance to try it yet. I hear it’s pretty good. We’ve got a big arcade machine in here that has like 200 games on it, so we’ve got all kinds of games. My classic favorite is Samurai Shodown. I particularly like the fourth one.
i don't know why people bother to complain about this game when it's not even done. Blizzard hasn't let gamers down since.......um, never. not that i can think of. i have full faith Diablo 3 will destroy the previous iterations and then some.
One of the best things, if not the best for me, is the randomly generated content. It's what keeps me playing Diablo II still when everything else becomes too familiar. I am looking forward to this game with much enthusiasm.
Is there a release date yet?!? grrr... Blizzard, quit toying with us regarding Diablo III and Starcraft 2 just because you make serius bank on WoW. It's not fair.
@Brian: I don't think it's because they make serious bank on WOW that they're waiting on announcing a date for these games. I think it's because they want to keep working on them until they're as good as they can possibly be. That's always been Blizzard's way, and as frustrating as waiting is, it usually pays off in the end.
Maybe it shows the weakness of print but seeing the Diablo III story in the November GI issue leading with the the Monk felt so late.
But I'm still amped for D3 and I'll need to buy a better mouse.
Reading the Q&A I could just see JW giving you a dirty look after the first question, I hope this wasn't the case.
How about you stop telling us about the game and release it. I am to the point where if the news doesn't include a date than I don't want to hear it.
Good thing to see you're an enthusiast.
The current industry news cycle is built upon the community and readership so they're just catering to what the majority demands.
@dussssstin: Haha, nah. I was relatively certain there hadn't been any other news since the Monk, but I wanted to make sure something hadn't slipped through the cracks. I'm sure Jay understood that. :)
Great, in-depth interview. Thank you, sir.
Nice interview. This has scratched my D3 itch, for now, anyway.
I really hope PVP isn't put completely on the back-burner--that's one of my favorite elements in Diablo II. I like that there is a great cooperative campaign and a surprisingly intimidating PVP counterpart. I'd like to see the same in D3, but other than that, I couldn't be more excited. I think they're really trying to be conservative when they can be, but I think we'll benefit from their innovations because of that. Clearly this will be a labor of love.
i think the fifth class would be a ranged oriented character since they already have a nuker, caster/summoner hybrid, a tank, a melee/caster hybrid .. it would suck if its someone who couldnt use a bow orcrossbow to its full power... 5th class should be someone like the rogue or the amazon... i hope its a ranger... that'll be nice...
One thing about Blizzard...while playing their games I have seen more people complain about their games than any other game, yet 99% of those people actively complaining about their games continue to play the game they whine about, for a long, long time. Interesting.
"If it’s ready to show at the next BlizzCon, then yeah, maybe then."
*** it doesn't look like we will be seeing D3 for long time if they might not even show the 5th class till next Blizzcon. Oh well, Bliz shoots for perfection and I think they just might hit it this time.
I'm so excited.
I've been waiting anxiously for far too long now for the release of this game.
I want it in store shelves now!!!
Diablo III in no way shape or form could ever ruin the Diablo series. This game is going to take the previous iterations, improve them, and take them one step further. The Diablo Series is one of the greatest PC franchises out there, I can not wait for this game, even though knowing Blizzard... we won't see it till the end of 2010 or later
I loved that aticle, that really cleared up some false rumors that I heard on the blogs and forums. So far I don't think I could say anything wrong with this game, health orbs, extremely different classes, and randomly placed monsters! Who doesn't want that? I'm really hyped up on this game and hope it really turns out how they say it is.
P.S. For all you people wanting a release date, it's really to early to tell. "Your patience will be rewarded young grasshopper."
oh well it's "when it's done" again
I really can't wait for D3! Well, actually, I can since I need to invest in a better PC :/
this game will be an epic win i know. i played the old ones and plus has blizarrd ever let you down