New Diablo III Art Director

Shortly after the announcement of Diablo III at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals, former Art Director Brian Morrisroe departed Blizzard to pursue a personal non-gaming business. We recently reported Brian and some friends launched Booyah.

Job openings for the Art Director position were posted at the Blizzard Jobs section for months. The long wait is over. The Art Director and other positions were removed from the jobs section. We contacted Blizzard Public Relations to find out the name of the new director, but at the moment it is kept under wraps. We will get back on this once the name is revealed. What matters is that Diablo III has a new Art Director to move forward.

Thanks, Lyquid.

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BlizzCon 2008 – Diablo III Hands-On Gameplay Impressions

I am fortunate to be one of the lucky people who played the Diablo III demo showcased at Blizzcon 2008 in Anaheim. Not only was it a pleasure to play it, but left me craving for more. I decided to create a female Wizard. She spawns in the outskirts of the Tristram Woods where Captain Rumford and an armored warrior are piling up a bonfire of corpses. The warrior can be seen transporting the corpses off a wagon and into the bonfire.

Captain Rumford says they are burning the corpses to prevent them from rising as undead. NPCs that have something to say have a black oval with dots hovering above them when you place the cursor over them.  A popup window displays the “introduction” option, feature that remains a constant from Diablo II. However, not only does each NPC talk to you.  Your very own character talks back, interacting with the NPCs.  By saying talk, I mean both: the NPC and your character have voice over actors adding emotion and life to the Action / RPG.

Read below a lengthy preview on various features observed in the Diablo III hands-on demo

I started pressing keys to see what options were available.  Pressing (C) opens the Character window, Inventory (I), Quest (Q), Skill trees (S), and mini-map toogle (N), Game Menu (ESCAPE button)

CHARACTER STATS

At level 5, these were the stats I found on my Wizard character. Hope these stats offer you a better scope of how the Wizard stats and abilities work:

Melee damage: 2-8 |  Spell damage: 12-23 |  Armor: 34

  • 16 Strength – Physical damage bonus: 16%  |  Armor Bonus 26%
  • 28 Dexterity – Crit chance 7.0%  |  Dodge chance: 7.0
  • 18 Vitality – Life: 56 |  Mana Regen: 0.9 sec.
  • 94 Willpower – Spell damage bonus: 52.8%  |  Health globe bonus: 0.0%

In Diablo II, you get points after leveling to spend on these four stats. In Diablo III, thus far, these stats increase automatically. You no longer have control over where these points are spent into. At the bottom of the Character (C) window, you can find a table with two columns displaying the following data:

Physical Offense Defense
1.20 Attacks per second
70% Physical crit chance
150.0% Physical crit damage
0.0% Block amount
6.0% Block chance
34.0 Armor
2.5% Physical damage reduction

At the bottom left of the Character (C) window you will find your character resistances. These can be determined by icons:

Blue snowflake = Frost
Red Flame = Fire
Purple Thunder = Lightning
Green Skull = Poison
Yellow icon = Arcane

INVENTORY

The Inventory window shows a lot of visual information. It has a simple and intuitive UI frame with colorful gradients of orange and dark brown, and stylized symbols that highlight a gothic-like feeling. You can see your character model viewer which allows you to rotate your character. Around the viewer, you have 12 gear slots: helm, medallion, chest, sash, 2 rings, weapon, shield, boots, pants, gloves, and shoulder. Between the weapon and the shield is a strange circle. When clicking it, a new window pops forward. Based on the demo observation and loot, this window with 9 circles resembles the Glyphs window from World of Warcraft. In the case of Diablo 3, these 9 circles are reserved for Runes.  Thus far in the Blizzcon demo, only the Wizard can equip runes. (i.e. certain monsters may randomly drop a minor power rune).

Beneath the character viewer and gear slots can be seen the bag inventory—all in the same window.  There are 30 slots, but only a few are enabled. You can expand to the full 30 slots by adding bags into the bag slots.  On the bottom-right you can see four slots. There is where you drag the bags into. By dropping the bag item into that slot, you increase the amount of slots enabled.  Eventually your goal is to enable all 30 slots.  Each slot is thin and tall, and certain items can stack in the same slot. Doesn’t look like there is a special slot bar for potions, but mini-health potions have been seen, as well as elixir of dexterity and elixir of vitality which may have durations of up to 300 seconds (5 minutes).

RUNES

Not much was revealed about [WIKI]Runes[/WIKI]. [WIKI]Barbarian[/WIKI] and [WIKI]Witchdoctor[/WIKI] classes don’t have runes enabled in the Blizzcon demo, so it looks like it is something still in the works. In a press panel, [WIKI]Jay Wilson[/WIKI] revealed these runes will change the visual effects of your character and its spells/abilities. Imagine your lightning spell increasing its glow making it look more powerful and actually increasing your damage output.

MINI-MAP

You may toggle the mini-map by pressing (N).  It is more effective than the old Diablo II map overlay (tab). The mini-map is located on the upper-right corner.  It has no frame like the World of Warcraft circle framed mini-map.  It has an unframed tall rectangular area. By pressing the arrow keys you can move the mini-map in any direction. To reset simply press (N) twice, or escape.

How is this new mini-map more effective?  Diablo II’s overlay map would take the whole screen, and would interfere your line of sight affecting what you could see on-screen.  By placing the overlay map to the upper-right corner, your whole screen is visible for gameplay purposes.  Each [WIKI]NPC[/WIKI] is displayed as a tiny yellow dot. Place your mouse cursor over the yellow dots, and automatically a window pops up above the dot displaying the name of the NPC.  You can see and identify NPCs ahead of you, not yet within visual range. Update: Monsters are not displayed by the mini-map. You will still have the element of surprise. The mini-map helps you locate NPCs that might have a quest for you, or some interaction options to learn some lore.

RARE MONSTERS /  BOSS

In Diablo II, it was hard sometimes to notice a rare [WIKI]monster[/WIKI] among a bunch of mobs. Sometimes you would even get killed before noticing a rare was behind that bunch of mobs. In Diablo III, before the rare monster or boss enters into view, a name tag pops at the top-center with a health bar.  The health bar is divided into a few rectangles.  The health bar / name tag window displays the special attributes of the monster (i.e. a rare named Head of Grief had three attributes beneath its name tag: Vampiric, Froze, Fast.

QUESTS

While exploring the world, you will find NPCs with a yellow exclamation sign floating above their head.  When you accept the [WIKI]quest[/WIKI], the title and objectives are displayed onscreen at the right-center for few seconds, then fades out.  You can access the quest window by pressing (Q). It’s very similar to World of Warcraft.  After walking away from the bonefire of corpses at the Tristram Woods, you enter the Ruins of Tristram. There are a few destroyed buildings. You can see the Physix engine in action when randomly some debris of the ruins crumble down. Placing your mouse cursor over some of the door signs you will find Griswold’s Blacksmith Shop. While exploring, you find a well. It can be highlighted if you place your cursor on.  A quest starts and it is automatically displayed onscreen to the right: Little Girl Lost. Objective: Find a way to free the little girl’s spirit from the old well in Tristram.

When you stand near the well you can hear the girl’s voice over and weeping. She is trapped inside the well. Something funny … some of her quotes resemble that of the girl in the Poltergeist film.  Exploring further into the Tristram ruins you find a female ghost and listen to her voice over which is repeated over and over randomly: Where has gone my girl?  She must be so lonely.  She never goes away without her doll.  She’s lost without it!

Not far from the ghost you will find a chest on the ground. Within lies the doll. Loot it and return to the well. The quest is completed as you return the doll.  The spirit of the girl ascends from within the deep well and thank you. A reward is automatically placed in your inventory.  You will read a message onscreen saying how much XP (experience) you gained, and the name of the looted item. In my case, a Socketed Boots of Brawn (+9 armor, 1 socket, + 2 strength).

Before reaching the Cathedral of Tristram entrance, you will find [WIKI]zombies[/WIKI] kneeled on the ground as if eating from a body. Once you kill them, the body on the ground – tagged Dying Adventurer – automatically highlights a yellow exclamation sign enabling a new quest: The Return of the Skeleton King.

The voice over says something along these lines: “Please … listen to me!  The fire, somehow … it awoke him. The Skeleton King’s evil haunts the cathedral once more.”

Your character’s voice over says: “Skeleton King, huh?  Sounds interesting. Rest easy. I will show him the err of his ways.”

Enter the cathedral. Eventually you will find an NPC with a yellow sign on his head. Take the quest. Guess who the NPC is? If you have played Diablo 1 or have visited DiabloWiki.net the name Lachdanan will ring a bell. He was the loyal friend of King Leoric in Diablo 1.  Lachdanan killed King Leoric, who cursed him on his last dying breath.

SCROLLS & BOOKS

This is probably the most lovely lore source feature for players who decide to immerse themselves into the world of Sanctuary.  Let’s say you enter a dungeon, and find a pedestal. When you highlight the pedestal, by moving your mouse cursor over it and clicking it, you loot the book.  Open your Inventory (I) and click the book or scroll.  A sound clip pops up at the bottom-right of the screen. Underneath the clip are three buttons: play, stop, close. It is a voice over recording telling the story within the book.

For example, in the Cathedral of Tristram, the Journal of King Leoric tells his story during the time Diablo possessed his son Albrecht (Diablo I).

BUTTONS

The three buttons to the right of the main UI correspond to the Left Mouse button, Right Mouse button and an alternate Right button that switches those last two by pressing TAB button.

  • Click the left mouse button to move and attack enemies.
  • Click right mouse button to use the assigned skill
  • Press the alt key to show all dropped items
  • Use the 1-4 keys to activate assigned hot bar skills
  • Right-click on a hot bar, or mouse button slot to assign a new skill.
  • Press TAB or scroll the mouse wheel to swap between right mouse and alternate right mouse skills.

SKELETON KING

The Skeleton King appears at the third level of the Tristram Cathedral. Former King Leoric has a large axe. As told by Jay Wilson in the past, boss events can feel epic without the town portal escape trick or the heal potion spam mechanic. Once the Skeleton King engages in combat, dozens of zombies enter the room to attack you. The boss has an animation that alerts you when he is about to slam his long axe toward you. The idea here is to attack him a few times, and run away before he slams the axe in front of him. It can be avoided. Kill a few mobs for health orbs, and attack the Skeleton King again. Rinse and repeat. I was able to kill King Leoric without dying by doing these steps. Sadly, the Diablo III demo finished after killing this first boss, with a message from Blizzard congratulating me for killing the Skeleton King in this BlizzCon 2008 demo.

THOUGHTS

After playing the demo at Blizzcon, I can only say—hopefully not sounding heretic – that I loved Diablo III, and look forward for the announcement of the remaining two classes. No release date for Diablo III unfortunately, but personally I wish this game was on stores around October 2009. Gameplay mechanics are very similar to Diablo II,  except much better. The graphics are vibrant and colorful, without taking away the epic and dark feel of the previous games. The Physix engine honors the [WIKI]Barbarian[/WIKI] class pretty well, smashing stuff and debris in all directions.

You can click emblems on the walls, that activate a mechanism that drops a candelabrum. If timed correctly, it could smash onto a group of mobs. If you move your character quickly into the area the candelabrum drops on, your character gains daze effect for a few seconds (funny). It would be cool to interact more with objects and traps using the Physix engine to benefit you on bosses and monster encounters. For those who asked me recently if [WIKI]Stashes[/WIKI] and [WIKI]Waypoints[/WIKI] are returning in Diablo III, I asked [WIKI]Jay Wilson[/WIKI] and the answer is yes.  Waypoints however will play a different function this time around.  Upon death you respawn at the [WIKI]check point[/WIKI].  Check points I observed in the BlizzCon demo happen by the door toward the next catacomb (for example).  Some objects spawn near you at the check point. You need to equip them again.  This means no more running back to your corpse which is surrounded by 15 monsters. Diablo III is enhancing everything that was broken in Diablo II.

Diablo Archive – Diablo: Demonsbane Review

After receiving the Diablo Archive, boasting 752 pages, just recently, I decided to read through it backwards starting with Diablo: Demonsbane by Robert B. Marks (of Garwulf’s Corner fame).

I am sure the Diablo Archive will be a jewel among my Blizzard novels collection. Better to have four Diablo novels on a single tome, than have invididual books all around the place unable to find them at times. There is one thing I disapprove from the Diablo Archive however.  For such a big tome, and quiet heavy in weight, the cover designer Richard Yoo or whoever chose the cover material should have gone for thick cardboard material. This huge archive is no pocket book. It is about two inches thick. The cover material is made of the same material as any other pocket book with the same thin thickness. The result is a jellyfish-effect when you handle the heavy book around. I usually read on my bed. At times when I am uncomfortable, I usually lie on my back and rise the book above me in the air. The weight is almost unbearable after 20 minutes, but the material doesn’t help. Enough with the material rant.

What can be found inside is worth the nuisance. For years, I have heard of Diablo: Demonsbane. A lecture painted in myth. Something I knew existed, but couldn’t reach. It was a few years ago, when I first heard of its existence. It was released on 2000 in ebook format. I have a lot of Warcraft RPG books in ebook format, and even purchased Warcraft: Of Blood and Honor as an ebook.  But for some odd reason I never got around reading Diablo: Demonsbane, even when I craved it more than any other book. Curiosity compels one’s craving. I have never read a review of Demonsbane, or heard what it was about. I just knew it was the first of the Diablo stories ever released.

I reported about the first printing of Diablo: Demonsbane on paper two years ago on July 2, 2006. It was titled Blizzard Legends Vol. 1.  It contained a printed version of three ebooks from each game franchise: Warcraft: Of Blood and Honor (by Chris Metzen), Starcraft: Uprising (by Micky Neilson), and Diablo: Demonsbane (by Robert B. Marks).

However, it is now with the release of Diablo Archive that fans have the opportunity to get this craved story more broadly as it comes bundled along with Diablo: Kingdom of Shadow, Diablo: The Black Road, and Diablo: Legacy of Blood.

Personally, I was expecting something different in Diablo: Demonsbane. More of a dark fantasy meets Lord of the Rings with some fancy Shakesperian old-english language accent. Part of the myth I envisioned for lack of any knowledge of a Demonsbane’s summary.

I started reading on Sunday evening and couldn’t stop reading. It caught my attention. It is a short novella spanning through page 685-738. According to the epilogue, these events take place on year 302 and seem to happen during the Sin War.  Right at the end when I read the epilogue, it made me wonder.  Did Diablo: The Sin War somehow retconned Demonsbane? I have no idea. What I do know is that none of the events of the Sin War trilogy seem to be mentioned in it. Nor did the main character in Demonsbane show up in the Sin War trilogy.

Which book comes first in the timeline is also a mystery to me. One thing does gets mentioned that might help those who have better knowledge of the timeline than me.  Sarnakyle the Kejistan mage of the Spirit Mage Clan mentioned he was among the party of mages that killed Bartuc the Warlord of Blood at Viz-jun two years earlier.

The story is centered around Siggard, a warrior who fought at Blackmarch with the Entsteig’s army. They had fought demons there led by the favored archdemon of the Lord of Terror: Lord Assur. This archdemon has a peculiar glyph of invincibility that makes him feared by the Vizjerei Mage clans. There is however one thing that may kill him, and that would be spoiling it. I did see it coming when I read what could kill him, but was unsure as the requirements for it to happen were not clear at sight, specially with the interaction of Siggard with the other characters.

Ever since the Night of Souls through the events in Brennor, it kept bouncing around my mind why Siggard can’t remember anything about Blackmarch until certain point as if he had magically forgotten. As I was reaching the last pages of the story, it was more evident my suspicions were right, but the idea resulted contradictory. Making me doubt.  Robert B. Marks wrote here a very nice story, and wrapped up with a surprise few could have seen coming. It keeps a fast pace, while adding elements of suspense. I enjoyed the read and don’t regret it. One well-known character appears a couple of times, but heavily weights on the outcome of the story: Tyrael.

I will be reading through the Diablo Archive in upcoming days. One thing I am glad of doing, however, is to have started backwards, reading Diablo: Demonsbane first. It is a pity this story was brought as an ebook and as a short novella. As an ebook, it didn’t get the attention it deserved in 2000. And as a novella, it was too short. The story was worth an entire book of 378 pages. I hope the author writes a continuation of Siggard’s adventures.  Otherwise, I would like to read a new story from him again. Take note Blizzard. Cheers, Robert B. Marks.

Go grab your copy of the Diablo Archive.

Blizzard’s Fourth Game – Next-Gen MMO Still Unannounced

So Diablo III was announced last week at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals.  That leaves one unannounced game unaccounted for … the Next-Gen MMO.  Diablo III is not it according to Rob Pardo during an OnlineWelten video interview.

What would this new Next-Gen MMO game be?

  • Starcraft Online?
  • Starcraft: Ghost?
  • New IP?
  • Diablo MMO?

During the Teaser Splash pages days before the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals, fans started to lose morale and hopes on a Diablo announcement. I quickly posted my personal views supporting that this new game announcement would be a Diablo game.

At this point it is too early to make a prediction on what the Next-Gen MMO is all about, but I have a theory.

If we took Warcraft III and its expansion Frozen Throne as an example, both RTS games and the MMO were in development basically simultaneously, with Warcraft III introducing a lot of new lore.  Kalimdor, Northrend and the Night Elves did not exist in previous Warcraft games. So this game served to expand the lore, and set things in motion for the MMO—whose quests match up and start a year after the death of Admiral Proudmoore.

So how does that translates with Diablo III?  This is speculation, but Diablo III is naturally adding a lot of new areas that players have never explored.  NPCs were hinted to be more talkative of their history. We have the Diablo: The Sin War trilogy adding a lot of new lore into the mix, as well as previous books.  The lost city of Ureh from Kingdom of Shadow by Richard A. Knaak appears on the map of Sanctuary—a clue that elements from the novels’ lore are swiftly making its way into the game.

Those who read Diablo: The Sin War Trilogy may have read at page 168 of book three: The Veiled Prophet that Trag’Oul the dragon was stopped by other sentinels such as himself from entering the world of Sanctuary, revealing there were other worlds out there whose fate depends on Sanctuary’s fate.

“The gateway was nearly complete, and then the voices struck him from all directions. You cannot! You cannot! You cannot! At the same time, the gateway disintegrated despite his best efforts to keep it from doing so. Filled with an unaccustomed anger, he confronted the voices. This is my burden! This is my duty! You have no say in this, none of you! There was a moment of silence, and then, together, they responded, But we do … this goes beyond Sanctuary now. Beyond all of us who stand sentinel.

The dragon grew wary. How so? How can that be?.

Their words struck him as nothing else could. Because the war is coming to Sanctuary, and if you interfere with what the Balance demands, it and all existence may be forfeit.”

They left him, then, all the others who stood guard as he did over their separate worlds, left him with the knowledge that it was his Sanctuary whose imminent fate might decide theirs.—The Veiled Prophet, page 168.

With such a setting in the novel, it is now official that there is more than just the High Heavens, Sanctuary and the Burning Hells … but more worlds out there as playground for both forces.  This quietly sounds like the other worlds Blizzard plans to make accessible in World of Warcraft through the portals found in Outland.

Of course, the same Warcraft III + World of Warcraft formulae applies to the Starcraft franchise, with Starcraft II being in development. Only time may tell what’s brewing at one of Blizzard’s departments heavily guarded by men in black suits.

It is still early to figure out what the new Next-Gen MMO is. However, I can’t help thinking of previous Blizzard history with developing Warcraft III and World of Warcraft simultaneously.

PC Gamer Hints Diablo 3 on August 2008 Edition?

UPDATE (5-22 5pm EST): Voodoo Extreme had word from PCGamer the August 2008 Edition’s mysterious exclusive is not about any Blizzard Game. I also got a email from PCGamer denying and clarifying it is not about a Blizzard game.—via Shacknews

Blizzplanet contacted PC Gamer the same day the rumor started circulating our sister forum, and got reply today afternoon: “Sorry to get your hopes up, but we can officially deny that Diablo is on our cover next month. We’re announcing something big and exciting and exclusive (actually, there are two big exciting exclusive announcements in this issue!), and we had to go a long way to get it, but it’s not from Blizzard.” said Dan Stapleton (PC Gamer Magazine, Senior Associate Editor).

Regardless, hope still remains that the favorite and craved RPG game of all-times gets announced on 2008. It is amazing how fans continue awaiting year after year the announcement of a new sequel seven years later. This rumor in particular caught momentum, because there were signs there pointing toward a Diablo exclusive. Signs you will read below in the original story. That doesn’t mean still a Diablo game won’t be announced at WWI, nor whether PCGamer has the exclusive on the July edition.  We will have to wait 36 days until the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals in Paris starts to find out.

Original Story (5-20): Another fan-fueled Diablo Rumor Mill has propelled out in full swing after PC Gamer’s July edition wrapped up with the following text:

NEXT MONTH
Have you ever had a secret that you’re just dying to blurt out, but you can’t for another month, and the stress of holding it in makes you want to do the pee-pee dance? That’s what the PC Gamer staff is doing right now, because the August issue will be chock-full of exclusives, including a top-secret cover story so huge we had to go to [CENSORED] to get it. Just 30 days more …”

Here are a few thoughts to ponder on this brainstorming puzzle PC Gamer unleashed:

– PC Gamer was probably among the Gaming press Magazines who visited Blizzard Entertainment early on May, a few weeks ago.

– If you remember, PC Gamer knew about the Starcraft II announcement last May 2007. Blizzard Entertainment made the announcement at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals (WWI) at Seoul, South Korea.

– PC Gamer can’t talk about it for the next 30 days … the 2008 Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals at Paris, France takes place on June 28-29.

– June 29 is the date Diablo II shipped on USA (2000) and the same date the expansion Lord of Destruction shipped on Europe a year later (2001).

– Notice how PC Gamer replaces a swearing with [CENSORED]?  Could this be a clue as to what the game they refer to is?  Because CENSORED really sounds like HELL … as in … Diablo?

UPDATE (5-21): Shacknews got response from Blizzard Entertainment.

UPDATE (5-22 6am EST): I just approached one of my friendly journalist collegue contacts: Leord, from WorldofWar.net,  to ask if PCGamer journalists were seen at the Blizzard headquarters early May 2008.  The answer was: Twice. Cheers.

UPDATE (5-22 10am): Jeff Green is a well-recognized PC gaming editor-in-chief and journalist at 1UP.com—Jeff Green’s reaction to the PCGamer Mysterious Exclusive:

As a former magazine editor, I’d say Diablo 3 makes sense. That’s my guess. Blizzard has the big Paris event coming up with a big game announcement. We’ve already been assuming over here that PCG would have the cover for this—-because, well, who else would at this point? So I was waiting to see a Coming Next Month from them written exactly like this. Gotta be D3.”—Source: Neogaf Forums

Share your thoughts at the Diablofans.com Forums. (former Diablo3.com)

Thanks, dunhac82 and Super.Fresh

Diablo Film Debunked?

Legendary Pictures issue a new press release announcing over $1 Billion in new film financing for its upcoming titles including World of Warcraft the movie,  Clash of the Titans, Kung Fu, The Losers (DC-Vertigo), Waterproof, The Spook’s Apprentice and Superman 2.

Blizzplanet reported a couple of weeks ago the Legendary Pictures website had updated the “In Development” section with a DIABLO film title.  Every major gaming news network echoed our headline including Slashdot, CVG Online, Kotaku, WIRED, GameTrailers, InsideMacGames, and GamePro … among others.

Twenty-four hours after Blizzplanet spotted and reported the Diablo film update, the Legendary Pictures website quickly unlisted “DIABLO”, mysteriously removing it from the “In Development” section.

Eurogamer recently contacted Blizzard to get any response about the Diablo flick rumor.  Blizzard gave “No Comment”.  It is unknown whether it was a technical mistake by the webmaster of the Legendary Pictures website or an accidental slip made earlier than planned.  Something Blizzard fans know for sure is to handle anything said by Blizzard to be taken with a grain of salt. Remember the many interviews where the answer was “There is no Starcraft II in development”?  Yeah, right!  Now we know Starcraft II has been in development since 2003.

For now there is total quiet concerning the DIABLO listing and unlisting incident.  Let’s hope BlizzCon 2007 (August 3-4) reveals anything. Another good opportunity for a press release could be Halloween.

Diablo The Movie by Legendary Pictures Confirmed

Mon, June 18

Hocus Pocus. Diablo was unlisted magically from the “In Development” section.  I tell you. It is the lesser evils playing tricks with our minds. Where is Deckard Cain when you need him to reaveal the undecipherable.

Sun, June 17

Few weeks ago, a rumor circulated the net that Gary Whitta would be working with Legendary Pictures to develop a Diablo film.  The participation of Gary Whitta hasn’t been confirmed, but surprise-surprise.  Legendary Pictures website is listing DIABLO under the “In Development” section.

No press release has been made available.  The news section has been replaced by a “Legendary 2.0 is coming soon” notice.  A week ago, the news section over at Legendary Pictures website had not been updated since Q3 2006.  Stay tuned for any updates.  A press release could be posted by them in a few days.  Diablo is coming to the big screen!

It comes to attention, this media-slip comes within a month and a half of BlizzCon 2007.  The rumor and hype is a Diablo game might be announced at the Anaheim Convention Center in August 3-4.

I have seen some feedback of fans thinking a Diablo film would suck, without giving it a try, because some previous films based on games have failed in the past few years.  However, there are two big differences setting a Diablo film apart from the rest.

1. Blizzard games are rich in lore:  In-game and via game manuals.
2. Diablo has eight pocket books (novels) to date.

You can take a look at the Game Manual lore of Diablo 1 (Action/RPG) here and Here, if you are interested. And Diablo II history from its game manual.

Among the authors of these novels are Richard A. Knaak (NYTimes Bestselling Fantasy Author) known by many fans of Dragonlance, Dragonrealms, Dungeons & Dragons; and author Mel Odon.  Diablo books written by Knaak are: Diablo: “Legacy of Blood”, “The Kingdom of Shadow”, “Moon of the Spider”, and “The Sin War”. Mel Odon was author of The Black Road.  Most of the books take place between Diablo 1 and Diablo 2 storylines.

The recent novel trilogy by Richard A. Knaak, Diablo: The Sin War reveals the origin of the world known as Sanctuary.  The events are set 3,000 years in the past.  A recent interview with Richard A. Knaak hinted the novel trilogy had ties with events of the upcoming Diablo game’s storyline. Book three of the trilogy is due on Q4 2007.  I have already read part one and two.  Very exciting read.

With all the lore backing the Diablo franchise, a Diablo film would just rock.  The Diablo film will be produced by a film studios that has proven great achievements in barely two years.  Legendary Pictures is co-produced and co-financed Frank Miller’s 300 (an epic film based of King Leonidas and the three hundred spartans),  Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins”, Bryan Singer’s “Superman Returns”, M. Night Shyamalan’s “Lady in the Water”, and “The Ant Bully” animated film.

Upcoming releases by Legendary Pictures are “World of Warcraft the Movie”, Paradise Lost”, “Clash of the Titans”, and “Superman 2” to name a few.

I could compare a Diablo film adaptation with elements of “300” and “The Prophecy” (starred by Christopher Walken).  A Diablo film adaptation has potential to be one of the best fantasy/horror films.

Share with other fans your ideal Diablo Casting crew at our Diablo forums

If you aren’t sensitive to spoilers you can read a brief summary of Diablo: The Sin War book one and two over at wikipedia.

Thanks, Harrogathhero and tRaDiNgYo.@Lordaeron

Diablo on the Big Screen? Film by Gary Whitta

There is a rumor circulating the net that Gary Whitta is writing a sample fiction or screenplay for a Diablo and Starcraft Film.  It is not official, as no press releases have been issued out to the media by Blizzard Entertainment. The rumor is Gary Whitta and Legendary Pictures might develop a Diablo Film. Again, not official nor confirmed.

I found this at worthplaying and at the HollywoodReporter, at the bottom of the page.

Few years ago, Blizzard Entertainment halted a Vin Diesel film with a lawsuit for using the title “El Diablo”.  The film titled was changed to “A Man Apart”.  Blizzard holds trademark over “Diablo” for films and games.

On Gary Whitta’s homepage there is a piece of sample fiction written for Blizzard Entertainment titled STARCRAFT: THREE BATTLES, which basically was written as a test of how a Starcraft novels can be brought into the big screen. There is the precedent that he has submited works for Blizzard. As usual time will tell if this is just rumor or true.

Blizzard announces new Unannounced Games

Blizzard Vice-President of Business Operations – Paul Sams – told Gamespot that Blizzard is currently working on various unannounced games hinting that Diablo and Starcraft franchises are among them, and a possible new franchise as well.  Read More

Gamespot: ” When asked by GameSpot if the Warcraft universe was all that’s left for the company to mine, chief operating officer Paul Sams said, “No. Absolutely not. We have multiple games in development, currently, they are just not announced? To the outside world—and the reality of it is—we are laser focused on what is the thing right then, but there’s a ton of additional focus being put toward these other [games] that are in development.”

Reflecting on the existing franchises, Sams emphasized, “World of Warcraft and the Warcraft franchise is not the last and the only franchise we are going to operate within. We have two other very, very key franchises to our company’s history and to our company’s future success. The Diablo and Starcraft franchises are of the utmost importance to us as well. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new franchise from us at some time in the future; there’s certainly a desire to do so.”