Tiffani: Alright, guys. We are going to go into a journey together; but before that, let’s take a look at what Diablo IV is. So Diablo IV is a Classic Isometric ARPG.

John: Surprise! That classic camera.

Tiffani: It is going to feature a dark, non-linear campaign.

Luis: — and we aren’t going to spoil any of the details about the campaign today, but you will get to meet some of the folks in charge of it, including our new creative director Sebastian Stepien (Cyberpunk 2077).

Tiffani: It will be a shared open world with 5 distinct, contiguous regions.

John: You will be able to go from the tip of Scosglen, all the way down to Kehjistan.

Luis: With Weather, and day/night cycles.

Tiffani: There are hundreds of dungeons to explore, and hundreds of Legendaries to find and equip.

John: Did you see the Legendaries in the dark gallery?

Tiffani: You should check them out. Alright, there are 5 powerful classes. Three that we announced today, and are playable in the demo: the Sorceress, the Barbarian, and the Druid; and it is being developed simultaneously for PC, Xbox One, and PS4.

John: So like Tiffani said, we are starting a journey together. You may recall in the opening ceremonies, Luis said Diablo IV is about world, legacy, and darkness. Who wants to talk about darkness?

(The audience cheers: Yeah!)

John: At the highest level, what this means is that when you play Diablo IV, everything you will see and experience will feel immersive and faithful to the legacy of what we love about Diablo. How does that sound? Alright, I want to give you an idea of what we mean when we say that you might wonder… you know: Is it Mature themes: is it blood? Is it gore? There is a bit of gore in that trailer. Right? Just a little bit? — and, you know, is it the music? It is all of these things; and what we’d like to say is that the totality of that tone that creates that experience that we all know and love; and I think — like, you know, the Butcher’s Pit in Diablo 1, you open that door and everything seems fine; and then it goes horribly wrong. Right?

Bodies eviscerated. This crazy guy coming at you with a butcher’s knife; and then in our trailer you saw that as well. It’s like everything was fine until they opened that door. No!!! Doors are bad. So this is what we are really excited about. It is that contrast. We want to create that sense of space that we are all really excited to explore.

So here is how this idea affects our heroes. We are taking a more grounded approach presenting the World of Sanctuary. You can really see in this piece that it is everything from the pallete, the design of the armor, to the design of the weapons, to how we treat magic; and the classes: you see the druid, the barbarian, the sorceress engaged in combat with monsters from different realms around Sanctuary; and this piece kinda evokes that tone, and that feeling that we are after; and it really affects all things in the world.

So how does this tone affects the world of Sanctuary? We have this vast open world, and we want to immerse you into that medieval apocalyptic demonic version of Sanctuary like never before. The moments of contrast that you will be experiencing in today’s demo are areas like Domhainnes Tunnels, the Drowned Caverns, and the Hangman trees at the south, which is one of my personal favorites; and then Killer farm, which kinda evokes this Diablo 1 vibes like the art used to build that… it was so exciting to put that in the demo.

Luis: Straight inspiration.

John: Yea. These are all areas that remind us that we are on the world of Diablo, and what we mean when we talk about return to darkness.

Luis: But it is not just present in the art, this darkness. It’s in the world, our gameplay, and the stories we tell.

So what we mean by that is our world is medieval ARPG, but rather than being inspired by high fantasy, we are inspired by the occult: the demonic and biblical themes. What we mean by gameplay is that even making a very dark moody world, if we create the sort of overpowered characters with really over the top effects, we know that we are going to undermine the sense of darkness. We want to make sure that we keep that in check; and then with stories, you heard me talk about how victories aren’t clean, or guaranteed.

This means that sometimes, evil wins. After all, this is the IP where you are sent to save the child Albrecht in the first Diablo. And guess what? There is no saving him. This is the franchise where even when you kill the Lord of Terror himself, it is not enough that you have got to risk your own mortal soul to try to contain him, and just fence evil off for one more day.

The entirety of Diablo II was predicated upon being a day late and a dollar short; and we basically want to encapsulate that feeling, and put it in a bottle, and just create a whole world with that sense. So, yea. It is in the art, it is in the gameplay, it is in the world and in the stories that we tell.

Tiffani: But it is not just the darkness of the previous Diablo games that have influenced us. Every Diablo game has added great new gameplay features to the series; and we are using all of these as inspiration for Diablo IV. We are taking some of our and your favorite features in past Diablo games, and bringing them into Diablo IV. We have updated their design, their look, their feel using our brand-new engine; and all the lessons that Blizzard has learned over the years.

So nowhere has it has [inaudible /too fast] as with our classes, so it starts with this campfire, right here. This pays homage to the classic campfire from Diablo II; and this is one of my favorite parts of the demo and the game. So, John. What was your team’s inspiration when tackling the character select screen.

John: Yea. You know, I think when we started the characters select screen it was actually a short conversation about what we wanted to do with that. It was like: “we have a few ideas,” but the campfire… it spoke to us, it really showed off the new engine in a really cool way. It was really awesome to see the classes with the high-fidelity that we had added into our characters with Diablo IV. Yea, it was so much fun.

Tiffani: Go ahead, Luis.

Luis: I was just going to say I like that we left a little room in there; and I also love how we don’t put any text there telling you: “Oh, this Barbarian is this and that” and (you know) the Barbarian is the one that broods in the corner with a bunch of swords; the druid is the guy that has some good boy standing by him (the companion); and the Sorceress conjures the campfire. It’s so great.

John: Yea, we wanted these classes to just speak clear without any text, and I think we all know who these classes are at this point. So, yea.


1. Intro2. What is Diablo IV?3. Classes4. Character Customization
5. The World6. Dungeons7. Monsters8. Legendary Items

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BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts