SONY recently posted on twitter: “Diablo III on PlayStation – Blizzard prepares to unleash Hell in our new Conversations with Creators.”
Diablo III Production Director John Hight discussed the partnership with SONY to deliver a great Diablo III gameplay to the console masses.
Diablo III developers in this video: John Height (Production director), Josh Mosqueira (lead designer) and Jason Bender (senior designer).
Warning: The video might need age verification due to its adult-only rating. Diablo III (PS3) pre-orders are available here.
Deep within Blizzard Entertainment’s secret underground game development compound, a team of modern day blacksmiths and alchemists has been hard at work reforging a legendary game experience for an all-new legion of heroes. Once finished, this finely-tuned version of the bestselling Diablo III will transport PlayStation gamers to a dark and dangerous world of fast-paced action, thrilling adventure, and piles upon piles of epic loot. Pour yourself a flagon of your favorite brew, kick up your boots, and feast your eyes on this Diablo III developer diary, part of PlayStation’s “Conversations With Creators,” an ongoing series featuring numerous industry-leading game studios.
In this video, you’ll hear from three of the developers behind Blizzard Entertainment’s action role-playing epic: Production Director John Hight, Lead Designer Joshua Mosqueira, and Senior Designer Jason Bender. Together, they’ll explain how bringing the game to PS3 and PS4 has empowered them to viscerally transport players into the foreboding, demon-besieged world of Sanctuary by putting the action in the palms of their hands.
According to the team, the most critical component of the Diablo III experience on the PlayStation platform is the controller. That’s where the player develops a relationship with the character on the screen. Blizzard developers believe that “control is king,” so with Diablo III, that has translated to “the controller is king.” From a player’s perspective, there’s a fundamental difference between indirect control, with a mouse cursor, and direct control, which can be achieved with a PlayStation controller. In this video, they highlight key reasons why this method of interaction truly drives home the excitement offered by this genre-defining action role-playing game.
It’s desperate times, and innocents have been caught between the forces of the High Heavens and the Burning Hells. If you’d like to learn more about how you can do your part to save humanity, visit the official Diablo III community site and interact with other heroes of Sanctuary on Facebook and Twitter. To receive the Infernal Helm, an exclusive in-game item that grants an experience point boost to any character who wears it, preorder Diablo III for PlayStation 3 today.
Video Transcript by Medievaldragon
John Hight: SONY has been an extremely great partner for us in moving to consoles, and Blizzard — our heritage was actually console games. Obviously we have been away for a while, so we had a little bit to learn and we look across all the franchises to see which one would really be the most appropriate to bring across, and we felt that Diablo was by far the easiest win.
Josh Mosqueira: It’s the grand idea of action RPGs. When the first one came out in the late 90s, you know, RPGs don’t need to be this slow surpondering epic, they can be this awesome rock concert and just smash things and kill a bunch of monsters and get a whole bunch of epic loot.
It just connects you to that experience and I think it’s super important for us that the player feels that they are in the screen with their character and partly because our players on consoles are sitting ten to fifteen feet away from the action, so the more we can make them feel that they are the action, that they are the Barbarian, the more epic and visceral the experience is.
John Hight: So for us the thing that is exciting about the new console is actually the controller. That’s where it all begins. That’s where you develop that relationship with your character and the screen.
Josh Mosqueira: At Blizzard, we have this phillosophy that control is king, and working on a console version for Diablo III for us that means that the controller is king.
Jason Bender: You know this is not a mouse. This is something different for us, and it’s something exciting that we hadn’t had the chance to work with on Diablo. What was surprising was that the second I got a controller on my hand and started playing around, and there’s a difference here between an indirect control where I am playing around with the mouse’s cursor and a direct control — an intentional control where I say: “I am playing this way. I am attacking that way. And I’m rolling this way.” And that just sinks. It was really surprising even to me.
Josh Mosqueira: It’s an intimate connection between the player and their character. That’s something that we really want to leverage. And build the Diablo III version for the console specificly around the notion that we call “pick up and slay”. So on console when you flick the right stick your character actually performs a surdodge move that is unique to the console, and we added that thing first because PlayStation players are going to have this expectation that as a console game I should be able to do that. I should be able to have this cool surdodge mechanic, and we wanted to give them that. We also wanted to make sure that players have the ability to quickly reposition in combat to give the game not just a cool action feel to it, but add a tactical element to it, and it’s worked out really well.
John Hight: One of the things we are excited about with the controller is the touchpad. Diablo III is a pretty deep game, and we don’t like a lot of overload on the buttons. We wanted to keep it really simple so you can get to the things that you need to get to fast because you need to do it, because the monsters are pounding at you no matter what. We think the touchpad will give us a lot more opportunity to make that interface a lot easier.
Josh Mosqueira: We now have a different way that the player can interact with the game, for a game like Diablo III that has a lot of cool inventory things you are doing, you are equiping items, just the possibility of a trackpad is really exciting and really can’t wait to dive into making it as awesome as we can. What we didnt’ want to do is simplify the experience, because at the end of the day Diablo is awesome because of the all the items you can get, and all the different powers some items have, so we didn’t want to sacrifice that, but what we wanted to do is streamline the experience so that players can decide when and how they wanted that level of information, so we really built the inventory and all the UI screens from the ground up. These screens are specifically designed to feel great when you have a DualShock in your hands, the way you navigate, so moved it into a radio styled menu that allows, first of all, your character be nice and big onscreen, but the magic of working on a game like Diablo at Blizzard is very iterative. Like we constantly keep asking ourselves how can we make this better, how can we make this more awesome, and in our team Jason Bender had this great idea for something we call “The Quick Equip” where without me having any need to open the inventory, you can just press the up and the D-pad and quickly cycle through the items you recently picked up, and make a decision right then and there whether to equip it or not. So again, that’s a great example of the way we wanted to streamline, but not simplify the experience.
John Hight: What’s great about SONY’s decision to make the PlayStation 4 an easier architecture for us to work with as developers is that means we can actually get our games into the hands of our players a lot faster, and we are super excited about that. You have a lot of scalability in the PC version of the game, and with the processing power of the GPU on PlayStation 4 we are pretty confident that we’ll be able to get very high-res graphics and super rock-solid framerates.
Jason Bender: Something that you get on PC not quite for free but something that people are used to is the ability to do things like stream your experience. So you say, “hey guys, they just changed the way Barbarians work.” or “I just got a new axe for my Barbarian. I wonder if I can do this whirlwind tactic that I’ve been doing on a higher difficulty. Let’s find out.” And then someone online will take video of themselves doing it and say: “Look, I can totally do it. It’s so easy. All I need to do is to go to this area and get this skill and I can make it happen.” And people learn. That’s exciting.
Josh Mosqueira: I think the “Share” button has its potential to really fundamentally change the way players interact with not just the game, but with one another, and there’s always been a barrier to bring that same type of experience to the console, but the fact that its now on your controller — a button-press away, you just found an awesome legendary and you just want to share not just with your friends in their couch, but with the whole world? The fact that it’s just a button-press away — it’s such a great thing to bring to players, and I think it’s one of those things that — especially when we started talking about it internally – we sorta get the potential but it isn’t until we actually see it in action and more importantly, players engage with it and see what they do with it, that’s when we are going to see the true promise of the share button come to life.
Jason Bender: … but also on multiplayer. It’s huge. I might be able to sit there on the same couch with my friends …
Josh Mosqueira: … and you are going up against the legions of the Burning Hells, and it really makes the experience — as I said before — immediate and so very social.
Jason Bender: … and of course, we can also play with people who are remote. So three of us might be sharing a view on the couch looking at the same screen, someone else might be playing from somewhere else in the country, and we can all play together. That is just great. Having that social experience in that flexibility is something that is really unique.
John Hight: That’s what console gaming is all about. It’s a more intimate experience, right there in the living room. A shared experience with your friends. With your family. And we think Diablo is the perfect game to allow you to do that.
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