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Monday, January 9, 2012

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Leonard Boyarsky Discusses Diablo III
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

In a recent interview with GameSpot Diablo III world designer Leonard Boyarsky revealed insights into the design of the upcoming action RPG. In the interview the developer discussed his own RPG design history, the core elements which define a Diablo game, and living up to fan expectations.

GS: Are those expectations challenges or opportunities? Were there any off-limit elements of the franchise when you started working on Diablo III, or was all previous work up for potential change?

LB: Everything was open. There were obviously things set in stone in terms of story and what the world was, but we wanted to open up the world into a lot of different areas and bring the story into some new areas. I think it was more of a mood and feel thing, where we ran into areas that we didn't want to touch, and it was more us searching around and trying to find that Diablo sweet spot for our story delivery and our tone. We knew what we wanted; we had a really good idea of what it was, but for us to put it down in a game and have other people feel that was the biggest challenge, I think. It took a lot of iteration. We were changing dynamics, the player now spoke a lot more, we delivered dialogue in a different manner; just all that stuff.

GS: Is that a constant challenge for you as developers--understanding the intentions of what you're trying to achieve, but not knowing how the audience will receive the content?

LB: I think early on it was a bigger issue, and through the iteration process we've really dialled it in. I think that's one of the things that we're fortunate of here at Blizzard; we have time to iterate and have great designers on other teams. Any game you're working on, just by the nature of the beast, you get too close to it to actually be able to see what you need to see. To have fresh eyes to look at it and give you feedback is invaluable. I think the challenge with Diablo that I've found, that's been a little bit more than some of the other games I've worked on, is the economy of delivery systems. We don't have a huge amount of dialogue with which to convey ideas, we don't have a lot of the RPG conventions that I fell back on in the past, like dialogue trees, to really convey a lot of the stuff, so for us to convey the mood and vibe in a really succinct manner was a really big challenge, but I think after a lot of iteration and a lot of great feedback from other designers I think we've pretty much hit it.

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GameSpot: Diablo III Interview
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Archives  News  Leonard Boyarsky Discusses Diablo III