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BlizzCon 2013 – Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Preview Panel Transcript

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Martens: Alright, so its very hard to top that, so let’s switch gears completely. What we’d love to do at BlizzCon specifically that we don’t do anywhere else is talk a lot about velocity. Why we consistently do and in our process? How do we make things? So we want to show you a lot about Pandemonium and reveal the zone; but lets talk about how we make areas using Pandemonium as the example, for a second.

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So we have to ask ourselves a few questions, like, just like when we’re making a monster, for area, the most important one is what is the fantasy? Why is it awesome? Just to walk around in the zone.

When you see a screenshot or flip through a video, you feel like you want to play there. But Pandemonium is fairly obvious If you don’t know already what this is, Pandemonium is the eternal battlefield. This is where the angels and demons combat their eternal conflicts. At different times this chaotic ever changing area has been held by the demons, then held by the angels. It has elements of both and the place is sort of, its beyond human understanding, the races that inhabit it are not humans, and they don’t work like humans. That’s a very interesting thing in and on itself.

You can tell that we wanted to take you there for a long time because we keep showing it to you. Remember in the Diablo opening cinematic, the angels are pouring down onto the Forgotten Battlefield.

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The demons are coming up they are holding it right now.

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Like yeah, let’s go there and kill things like that, right? And we also had this teaser piece called “Wrath“. We did it about a month before Diablo III came out.

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Same thing again, angels and demons fighting in that battlefield, so its been years that we’ve wanted to go there, and finally we have got a chance to do that.

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Why we waited so long is because we have this idea that especially in expansions which are more self-contained than the bigger game — like Diablo III was, you want the villain and the area to fit really well together and the player to have a good reason to go there.

So Pandemonium is a great fit for a number of reasons. But the second question we have to wonder is… where does the zone fit into the game? So there are a few key different things, and one of them is literally where does it fit? Like what zones are before and after it. In this case the story and its placement meant that a couple of things are really important. We began in Westmarch. Westmarch was a big bang opening.

Death comes down to Sanctuary, and wipes out the most powerful city that is left on Sanctuary in nearly an instant, and you — the player — have to go and stop them. It’s really hard to trump that.

So we had to find some way that in this rising action of the expansion, that somehow Pandemonium felt grander and bigger than that. So it was the end-zone, of course, and it’s not just the end of it as a final zone; but it is the end of humanity if you don’t succeed.

Malthael is here, this is the place that he’s familiar with, it’s his territory and this matters for a few different reasons. This place is beyond humanity. It doesn’t matter how crazy we think it has gotten in Sanctuary. What happens on Pandemonium is even crazier, again, that eternal battle that happened there, and all that war stops that other races other than you have done –that is what makes this game interesting no matter how big and grand we make Westmarch. So the fact that Malthael is here, it matters a lot as well.

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When the battle ended, and we called it the battlefields now, the Eternal Conflict moved to Sanctuary, and it sorta became this guerrilla conflict where humanity was caught in the middle; and angels and demons were fighting on Sanctuary.

Now Malthael… He was the leader of the angels at the time, and he saw this happen. He saw humanity. Something that he thinks is an abomination that shouldn’t exist. Humans are a combination of angels and demons, and now he’s seen this enormous capacity for power that you (the player) are showing. You guys defeated the Prime Evil. Something that he’s never been able to do in the eons over the battlefield that he’s done.

He’s also seen characters like Zoltun Kulle, who are very powerful humans who chose to do evil. So ultimately his solution at the time he was the Angel of Wisdom, he became Death, and he’s going to wipe out humanity, so he can wipe out all remaining traces of demonic essence out of the world and supposedly live in a world where there’s only angels left. So he’s here and if you don’t stop him — he’s nearly already succeeded by the time the game’s begun so it’s a very intense zone and that’s how we’re able to trump westmarch, and also made him as intense as possible.

So keep this backstory in mind that makes it intense, having the zone and the game. We’ll be running through exactly how we made the game, so Tim?

(Clap)

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Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003 posting news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Next-Gen MMO, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.

Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers.

I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for Diablofans.com (formerly Diablo3.com)

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