The story of Diablo 3's turnaround is a great tale, but there's a lesser known story in the direction that Diablo 3 could have originally taken.
The shots were posted only by artist Oscar Cuesta, who worked on early versions of Diablo 3 for Diablo North back in the day. The images were rendered between 2005, and follow on from some in-progress versions of Tristam Dungeon that were compiled in 2006.
The new shots have been online for a while, but were spotted recently thanks to Diablo fansite PureDiablo. There's no shots of what Hell or some of the later stage Diablo 3 zones would have looked like, but you can tell even with the colour grading and overall tone what the original direction was.
It's unfinished, to be clear, and there's a lot of unfinished or rough textures. But the obvious tone was to follow on from Diablo 2's grim horror fantasy, which Diablo fans so deeply loved.
All images: Oscar Cuesta / ArtStation
As for Diablo 4, the game's art director promoted the direction as returning to "dark, Gothic, medieval roots" in the game's official art book. Lillith's resurrection in the official cinematic certainly trends towards that direction, although there's been no new footage of the game since Blizzcon last year.
Diablo IV’s announcement at Blizzcon yesterday was packed with gruesome death. The long-awaited sequel’s tone is dark, and that carries over into the gameplay. My hands-on time with a demo build was exciting. Diablo IV eagerly ramps up the gore and dark magic for an experience that feels old-school but adds a few modern twists.