Retcons and Continuity

Chris Metzen: Guys, a little earlier we were talking about relooking at different parts of the continuity of Sanctuary, and I think one of the specific kind of changes we are running with — did it get out a while ago?

Leonard Boyarski: It’s kinda hinted out in the beta.

Chris Metzen: Totally (Whispers: Brain is not working this morning). In the beta you could tell we have given the Dark Wanderer from Diablo II an identity. I want to talk a little bit about: “Why?”

I know retcons and things like that can really piss people off, and we are very, very sensitive to that. We don’t put anybody off. We want you guys to enjoy these ideas. As it turns out, it would be wonderful if everybody (woop-hoo) — but from time to time things fall out, and I really wanted to address the Wanderer issue.

The reason we gave this guy an identity — well, I’ll give you a weird one right out of the top of my head. I’m not announcing anything by the way as I get into this, but let’s say theoretically — I swear to you I’m not announcing anything — theoretically try to tell the story of Diablo in a media type, novelize Diablo, do a movie of Diablo, a mini-series of Diablo. We are not announcing a damn thing. If we were announcing anything, “I want it all” … if there’s any Holywood people in the audience, come and talk to Leonard.

If you are attempting to tell the story outside of the boundaries of the game series, as it stands, this guy is the guy. He’s the hero from Diablo 1, who selflessly took Diablo’s power onto himself and now this torture crossing the wastelands is now trying to travel to the east to get rid of this evil demon. Of course, the demon inside him wants to have a party with his brothers.

It’s potentially, I don’t know, an interesting story. Want to do a mini-series or a movie or something …

Even at that level, I was very (?), we have to answer this questions guys. It’s going to be awkward — like wait a minute. I killed Diablo with my rogue. Well, the Dark Wanderer clearly is male, so we are already forcing a solution on this thing. Again, I just wanted to address the issue. In particular the identity we gave him.

It’s Leoric’s oldest son: Aidan. The idea is that Leoric had two boys: Albrecht (the young one), he doesn’t end well. Well, hell … none of them end well. The idea kinda is — if memory serves — is that Aidan, as Leoric is falling to darkness, he’s kinda going nuts possessed by Diablo shortly before the events of Diablo 1, and he sends Lachdanan into the armies of Khanduras north to Westmarch, which is kind of an ally kingdom really. This war is madness. Diablo, through him, is trying to get rid of everyone that would be able to stand against him as he corrupts his town.

Essentially the hook is that Aidan is trying to please his dad, he goes north with the armies and he’s obviously absent for the events leading to Diablo 1, and ultimately if you are telling this thing as a film or whatever — you pick up your stories — he comes home, where’s dad? He’s become the Skeleton King. Well, where’s my brother? Well, we think the Archbishop took him down under the old church there, draw your own conclusions.

(crowd laughs)

It’s a nice way to — ermph, Lazarus — It’s actually a really nice storyline. That was our thinking. It’s a character with an immediate total emotional investment in these events and it makes really a nice story.

So again I just wanted to get in front of it and address it, and it’s a little jarring, but we felt really strong. It makes it really work. It makes the universe better … most of the times.

Sometimes mistakes happen in terms of lore, right? A very couple, out of something roughly like ten thousand ideas sometimes you get like five of them wrong. I’m kidding. Couldn’t possibly be that many. Ten thousand, not the five.

Just saying. Sometimes things fall out of place, but for the most part when you see retcons and changes like this, it’s for a very good reason. It’s typically a very thought out so just wanted to explain that to you guys and get that right out there in front of you all. Certainly, if guys have any questions during the Q&A we will do our best to answer those.