Just a couple days away from the launch of Diablo III (May 15th), The Wall Street Journal has published an interview with game director Jay Wilson and art director Christian Lichtner. Read the full interview.

Destructoid also interviewed audio director Russell Browder and the Sound Team.

Why didn’t you keep the paladin? The warrior and paladin always seemed like obvious images of a knight in shining armor fighting evil.

Jay: I don’t think there’s any class right now that would preclude a paladin from being in existence. That being said, for the first line-up of characters we wanted the monk, a very holy-light type character that’s a little too close to the paladin. He’s our good guy. We didn’t make him look as puritanical as the paladin, but that’s more of an art choice.

Christian: For the monk, we wanted to make sure he comes across as a fairly light character—not light as in insubstantial, but being on the light side of things, being pure. We used light shades with him—a lot of light browns, oranges, yellows. His armor sets and weapons give the idea on a subconscious level that this is a good guy. But we wanted even the good guys to have an edge, this idea that it’s not all good. One twist was the martial arts aspect of him. As far as pure shape language, we were taking inspirations from kung-fu movies and a lot of eastern philosophies, Asian influences. But when we were designing his face, at one point someone had drawn an eastern-orthodox monk. We really gravitated towards that—that heavy beard with a bald head. It was an interesting juxtaposition, it gave him a darker vibe.

Jay: One thing that a lot of people don’t know about Diablo classes—and this is actually not my philosophy, this is from the original games, at least according to the people still on the team that worked on them—was that regardless of their appearance, the hero was unquestionably good. That’s something we try to relay with these characters. While we may have a more sophisticated appearance with them, it’s no mistake that the witch doctor’s voice is one of the kindest and gentlest in the game. Because his appearance is one of the most horrible. That’s to indicate the fact that he’s not actually evil


On the tools being used to creating Diablo III’s unique sound:

Russell: It was important to give Diablo III its own “sound”— not only via the compositions, but even in the way it was recorded. To complement the “bronze-age” sound of Warcraft, and the “space-opera” sound of StarCraft, we decided to record this score in concert hall that relies on the oldest acoustical traditions known to humankind. The Pacific Symphony performed the score in the Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa. All of the orchestral music was recorded live, with nearly 100 musicians in the space, playing together. This technique provides a subtlety to intonation, ensemble and timbre which is not achievable via modern studio multi-track recording.

We also record two choirs: one for The Heavens, and one for The Hells. Working somewhat against conventional expectations, Hell is a beautiful and seductive sound, provided by Dublin’s uniquely astounding choral group ANÚNA, while Heaven is represented by the powerful and mostly-male subset of the London Voices, which we recorded in the legendary Studio 2 at Abbey Road.

The Composers also performed a great deal of the music in the studio; I even took a turn on the great Segerstrom pipe organ!