In its quarterly report, Blizzard shared news, videos, and images of its long-awaited new RPG, Diablo IV.
2021 ended with the sad delay of Diablo IV, a consequence of Activision Blizzard’s unprecedented institutional crisis, but 2022 began with the announcement of Microsoft’s acquisition of the company, and Blizzard promised to bring us news of its most anticipated games soon.
The news finally came with the quarterly report, in which the team shared some videos, screenshots and a lot of exciting information about Diablo IV.
The new instalment in the legendary RPG franchise will feature environments across five different regions, with the artists going for “a darker and more grounded” look than previous games, with the aim being “believability, not realism.”
The presence of “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,” explained Chris Ryder, the game’s environmental art director. “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.”
The visual tone of Diablo IV has been designed with techniques used by classical artists such as Rembrandt, and the ‘return to darkness’ is a pillar that runs through the game, from dungeons to lighting, turning Sanctuary into a ‘dark and dangerous medieval Gothic world’
Sanctuary: the world of Diablo IV
Matt McDaid, the lead environment artist on Blizzard’s project, talked about the five areas that will be explored in the open world of Diablo IV, regions that can be explored “coast to coast, or high up into the glacial ridges”:
- Scosglen Coast: barren shores littered with seaweed and rotting corpses, surrounded by steep cliffs. On the biosphere’s cliffs are coastal settlements dotted with ancient structures. The villages are represented by fishing as a critical craft, full of cultural elements of the area.
- Orbe Monastery: an isolated and hermetic site on the plains of the Adust steppe. A pilgrimage site for Zakarum devotees, with long caravans along the roads.
- Kyovashad: a depressing, ‘frigid and hostile’ medieval settlement, though still a refuge for its inhabitants. Here you can see the architecture of the Broken Peaks. The more modest shelters resemble slum camps, where crowds of people live in overcrowded conditions. So Kyovashad has many neighbourhoods, each with its own cultural elements.
Dungeons in Diablo IV
Brian Fletcher, co-director of environment and art, described the dungeons as “still that randomized content that you know and love from previous Diablo titles”, but also shared some features that promise to make them more attractive. Most notable of these, Fletcher confirmed that Diablo IV would feature more than 150 dungeons.
“We want you to have the impression that the dungeon goes on forever,” Fletcher said. Chaz Head noted that both the sets and the objects are designed to maintain mystery and horror: “[We want] to make you feel uneasy whilst being rewarded for venturing forward.”
As Fletcher described, these dungeons will “incorporate scenery, lighting and interaction objects to create varied and unique, yet procedurally generated dungeons.” This system has been described as a “tessellation kit,” a mosaic that reuses various elements to create the environment for these dungeons, adding enough variety to the more than 150 dungeons.
Diablo IV will contain more than 150 dungeons
In addition to seamless transitions between floors within dungeons, Fletcher also highlighted the transition scenes between tile sets. These scenes will allow you to link two different tessellation sets in the same dungeon: “Imagine exploring a crypt and finding a hole in the wall that naturally leads to a vast underground network of caves while keeping random planes that change every time you enter the dungeon.” For more on Blizzard’s upcoming project, click the link below!