Sebastian: Hello. You have probably heard already a lot about darkness; but I want to say a few more things about darkness, because this is something very very important for us; and the truth is we are not going to be just dark.

We want to bring back this very very specific vibe that makes Diablo unique; and it is not just about darkness. This is very very important for us, because it impacts almost every layer of the game. Every aspect. So let’s watch some movies and talk about darkness mood.

So the first thing is the story. We want to make much more grounded story than in Diablo III; and we think that the best way to deliver this story is to give you a possibility to discover stories of those simple folks; and that is why you are watching this movie right now.

So imagine this kind of village. This is just an example. It is not about this specific village. We have like over 100 villages or places like this; and who would like to focus on those simple stories. The Eternal Conflict that is going on inside here. So it is not about being heroes. It is not about politics, kings, or another high-fantasy themes. It is about those guys; and there is reference you can think about Wirt (from Diablo I), or Marius from Diablo II.

When you are done with talking and shopping in the village, it is time to go for a quest; and this is the essence of Diablo being somewhere alone outside and wandering around. You are a kind of wanderer in this game. So thinking what awaits in the darkness — this is the kind of mood that we want to create; and here, there is one more important thing: it is about visual storytelling.

It is not about creating spectacular big scenes here. It’s more about those small, even claustrophobic scenes. It is about many many small things that combine together. They will give you this mood; and of course, they would be inspired by medieval things, by religious themes, by occult things. Many many things, but it is still up to you to follow those small things that you will find in the open world, or somewhere in the dungeon; and get better imagination of what’s happening with the NPCs, even with the big things here; but It’s like the story about the Eternal Conflict in Diablo 1 — mostly through journals.

In the end of the road, there is always something evil; and even in Diablo, it is glorious. Unconquered. But actually, this is a good occasion to talk a little bit about the religious themes, and the agnostic athmosphere of Diablo.

We call this guy the Blood Bishop. He was probably a bishop before, and he committted a lot of evil things; and now he is Blood Bishop like this; but we don’t want to just spread crosses and monsters all around the Sanctuary. The way people imagined hell in middle ages, that is something that really inspires us here; and the agnostic way of thinking that Sanctuary is a place of misery, decay, and suffering — this is a very very important theme for us.

So if you put all those three movies in a row, you will get kind of the basic game look. It is a very simple classic setup. There are good guys. They have a problem. A hero goes for a quest. There is a journey, and there is something evil in the end that you need to fight.

But this simple setup gives us a chance to focus on those details, and to build this mood that we are looking for. This kind of dark, agnostic, a little bit mad with blood and gore, with dark sense of humor, sometimes even more than a bit; and of course, we will have also bigger themes; but they are just like a frame for us to deliver this grounded story; and now Sean is going to tell you more about those bigger things.


1. Intro2. The Tone of Sanctuary3. Lore4. World Building
5. The World6. Monsters7. Q&A
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BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts