BlizzCon 2019 Diablo IV: World and Lore Panel Transcript

WORLD

Harrison: Alright. So, hi everybody. My name is Harrison Pink. I’m a quest designer on Diablo IV, which means I get to tell stories that’s super, super exciting; and it’s an absolute privilege to get to sit up here, and tell you guys a story about the regions you’re gonna get to explore in Diablo IV.

For the first time, Sanctuary truly gets to be its own character. Throughout the Diablo games, we’ve interacted with these incredible characters; but for the first time, the world itself gets to be its own character; and I think that’s super, super rad; and we’re gonna get to travel across Sanctuary for real. We’re not gonna have to go through loading screens, we’re not gonna have to sort of imagine these spaces, you’re gonna just get to walk Sanctuary; and it’s super, super exciting.

So, as I’m a storyteller, I’m going to tell you a quick flashback. If we flashback to 2001 — really quickly with me, I’m in boarding school in the cold frosty Northlands of Ontario, Canada; and I’m playing Diablo II, and I finish Act 1 for the first time. I beat Andariel in the monastery, you go through a loading screen, and now suddenly you’re in Act 2; and it’s a totally different area.

You’re in Lut Gholein, the art is different, the sun is beating down on you, there are different characters around you, and it was like so different. It was a huge jarring change. So, I opened up the map from the book that Jesse mentioned earlier. The manual; and you can kind of see the rogue encampment over here, and Lut Gholein over here, and you see this dotted line that kind of connects the two; and, it just got my imagination going about all these crazy adventures that my character maybe saw off screen that I never really got to experience; but for the first time, we really get to see all of that space together; and that’s super, super rad. So, I’m really excited to start talking about this stuff. So let’s dive right in.

 

SCOSGLEN

Harrison: Let’s start at the very top of the map with Scosglen. Who’s played the demo so far this weekend? Awesome. So if you’ve played the demo you got a very small glimpse of what Scosglen has to offer. This is the ancestral home of the Druids, if you played the Druid class — which is available in the demo, this is where their secrets are hidden all throughout this region.

This is sort of an untamable, rugged, beautiful land with these deep forests, these rocky highlands; but it’s also savage and sort of untamed and wild.

There is this constant gloomy rain, this constant fog, there are these creatures hiding in the forest, we need to drag you back in the forests are these monsters like the Drowned waiting to pull you back into the ocean with them. The people who live in Scosglen are constantly pushing back against this encroaching wilderness.

Goatmen are slaughtering farmers mere feet from the torchlight of their towns. It feels weird to smile while I say that, the people who live in these towns are huddled together in their little huts hoping their numbers will keep them safe, but the moment they leave the safety of civilization they find themselves lost and surrounded by these feral nightmares.

 

DRY STEPPES

To the south of Scosglen, we have the region known as the Dry Steppes. This is a war-ravaged region. Say that three times fast. It has these amber grasslands, these deep canyons, these wide salt flats dotted with geysers of boiling hot water. This is an incredibly difficult place to live. If you try and live here, only the very ruthless or the very desperate call the Dry Steppes their home.

If you live in this place, you were either a predator or you’re prey. Alright. There are violent wars between these groups like the power vacuums that Sean mentioned earlier that have opened up.

There’s different groups that are trying to take their spotlight now in this vacuum. They’re trying to win the hearts of the minds of the people who live in these regions; and with Lilith’s return, that darkness that’s sort of within all of us — all of humanity’s — since we’re both angel and demon; it started to sort of rise, and many people sort of give in to it, give in to these dark powers; and turn to things like cannibalism for more power.

 

FRACTURED PEAKS

Harrison: So, to the east of The Dry Steppes, what we once thought was The Dry Steppes continuing all the way across to the eastern part of the continent, we now know is this sort of snowy mountainous region known as the Fractured Peaks.

We took a lot of inspiration from those classic Victorian gothic horror themes, so if you have a secret inner goth kid like I do, I think you’re really gonna like this region a lot.

The people who live in the Fractured Peaks, they have this horrible anxiety all the time. They feel the hair on the back of their neck standing up, they feel like something is watching them from these dark ruins, these ancient old cathedrals. Something is waiting to prey on them when any moment of weakness strikes.

When the sun goes down inside the Fractured Peaks, those towns, those doors get barred, they get locked. If you’re outside in the night time, and in the fracture Peaks, you’re as good as dead. If those monsters that are waiting in the shadows don’t drain you of your blood, the cold will just freeze it in your veins.

This is also the home to a group of religious zealots who sort of fervent belief in their higher powers keep them feeling warm and safe on those dark scary nights, but leave them completely ignorant of the dangers that are slowly, slowly encroaching upon them.

 

SWAMPLANDS OF HAWEZAR

Harrison: To the south, we have the Swamplands of Hawezar. Poison, disease, despair. They coat this whole region like a mold.

Hawezar is so deadly, the fauna is ravenous for your flesh, the floor is poisonous. This is a place of madness, of black magic. Who can tell how much of what you see is real, or just some kind of fever dream? Those that come to Hawezar, they do so to be forgotten, to be lost. They are cutthroats, thieves, assassins, murderers that want to do their dark trades far out of the reach of the forces of like law and order, or groups like the Zakarum who might be able to put a stop to this.

This is also the location where we have groups of swamp witches who worship massive snakes, if you saw the gameplay trailer you might have caught a glimpse of one of them. They have dark knowledge, they may be willing to part with, but for a heavy price.

 

KEHJISTAN

Harrison: Finally, we have the zone of Kehjistan. So, Kehjistan was once a much larger Empire that encompassed the sort of forests and jungles surrounding this area; but over time, those borders have kinda shrunk back down to this region that we once called the Borderlands.

This is the last bastion of the Zakarum faith. Years of decadence and corruption have just caused them to sort of fall apart and lose the hearts and minds of the people who live in this region. They’ve been desperately trying to gain that faith back, but it’s just not going well.

In Diablo III, we’ve actually visited some places in Kehjistan. We went to Cal Diem — the jewel of the east, we visited Alcarnus — things were pretty bad in Diablo III for them. Guess what they’ve gotten worse since then. this is also the location of a lot of really important events from Diablo’s past.

So, the Sin War — a lot of that took place in Kehjistan. The Mage Clan Wars — all of that kind of thing took place in Kehjistan. There’s a lot of history buried in the sands under Kehjistan; and speaking of buried, we have these ancient Triune Cult ruins that radiate this dark power — sort of thrumming with dark energy; the triune who is responsible for helping Lilith return to Sanctuary, as you saw in our cinematic, they also worship the Prime Evils; and they are hastening their master’s return to Sanctuary.

The people who live in Kehjistan have just lost any hope of any kind of rescue. Demons are looking in the sands around them, Lilith’s agents wear the smiling faces of their friends and trusted family members. There’s this horrible paranoia and suspicion that beats down on the people who live in Kehjistan like the hot sun above them.

So, those are our five incredible regions that we’re gonna ship with Diablo IV, but the world isn’t just a place… it’s filled with lots of dangerous things besides you; and to talk a little bit more about the monsters that are gonna inhabit the world of Sanctuary, I’d like to pass it off to my friend: Candace.

NEXT: MONSTERS

BLIZZCON 2019 DIABLO IV: WORLD AND LORE PANEL TRANSCRIPT
1. Intro2. The Tone of Sanctuary3. Lore4. World Building
5. The World6. Monsters7. Q&A
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BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts

Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.

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