Diablo 3 Could Have Been So Much Darker

Diablo 3 Could Have Been So Much Darker
Image: Oscar Cuesta / ArtStation

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.

Hands-On With Diablo IV: Dungeon Delving With An Open-World Twist

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.

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  • At least playing on the Switch there were plenty of areas that were rather dark to run through.

  • I can’t even remember playing Diablo III all that clearly. I can remember the first one vividly, definitely the second, and I know I’ve played III, but for the life of me, all I have is a vague recollection of being very annoyed at having lag in single-player, which is what killed the experience for me. I was too busy being irritated by a lack of control over events to really just let myself enjoy it as I did with the first two. It had all the problems of an online game, even while offline. Perhaps that was fixed in the end, but once I’d fought my way through it (I know I finished it; couldn’t tell you anything about the plot though), the frustration of the online DRM nightmare made me stop and never return. I played Diablo II over and over again, but III just left me cold, not because it was a terrible game, but because of the way it was implemented.

  • these screenshots have been out in the wild for a long long time, the were leaked out between the announcement of d3 and its release

    • First time here? =P

      If you check the comments you will notice this is one of the many article necro/reposts of older articles Kotaku has been doing to pad out its daily content.

      Some are actually really well written and a reminder of times we had more positive writers without a chip on their shoulder xD

  • Does everyone remember the time when we all first saw Diablo 3 and there was a rainbow. People shouted out it should be darker it should be darker and naturally the gaming media attacked those very people and then blizzard mocked them with that rainbow stage. Goes to show if you actually listen to the customers hahaha Now look at diablo 4 and it looks amazingly dark. Can’t wait.

  • Also another point of fact. If you watch the older blizzcons videos of diablo 3…. The bosses could pick you up and rip you in half if they killed you. It was amazing and looked amazing and they removed it.

  • I, and considering the success of the game many others, were very happy with what we got and had a great time. That doesn’t mean I’m not excited for something darker with 4 though! I’ll also be playing the remake of 2.

    • I eventually got D3 and I find it a fun game… but it just didn’t give the same itch as Diablo 1 and 2.

      I think the whole complete reliance on specific gears for “builds” meaning there was very little real experimentation dampened it a bit for me.

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