BlizzCon 2019 Diablo IV: World and Lore Panel Transcript

Elizabeth: Hello, everyone. I have been waiting a long time to say this, but: Hello, BlizzCon! Hey, guys! Thank you so much. I am Elizabeth Seminario. I'm a producer in the Diablo team, and this is Diablo IV: World and Lore. Are you guys excited? Awesome.

We are excited too. We are excited because we finally get to talk to you about some of the things that make this such an amazing game. So that could be the places that you travel, or the friends and foes that you meet along the way, and the stories that you collect during your adventures. So I ask you to play along a little bit longer with my extended metaphor. Grab your dusty Barbarian pelt, or maybe it is a Sorceress cloak, and stay awhile and listen.

Clearly, this is not a solo quest. So I would like to introduce my fellow adventurers. Or maybe I would call them party members. We have Sean Copeland. He is Historian Supervisor.

Sean: Hey, everybody!

Elizabeth: We have Jesse McCree, the game designer. We have Sebastian Stepien, our creative director. We have Harrison Pink, our senior quest designer; and Candace Thomas, senior encounter designer.

So I don't want to take anymore time. So with that, I'm going to pass things along to Jesse to get us rolling.

Jesse: Hello, BlizzCon. I am super excited. Very humbled to be here to be able to add to this world. Like Liz said, my name is Jesse McCree; and I just want to get this out of the way. My parents were big Overwatch fans, but I'm here to talk about Diablo IV. We have been working on this game for a little while, and we are super excited to tell you more about it.

So let's get started. As you know, the world of Sanctuary is a large world, and we didn't start off knowing that. So what we have done is that we looked at a lot of pop culture references. We get influenced by a lot of things, and I just wanted to give you some insight into our process. The way that we think about things.

So we started by looking at comic books, movies, TV shows, particularly for roleplaying games -- things like that; and we looked at it through the lens of Diablo; and when we look at those things in the other side, we see some pretty gross and horrible things, and then we add those into the game.

We especially like to look at roleplaying games, and we have been involved in that kind of thing for a while. Diablo IV is an Action Roleplaying Game, and as such it is going to have a lot of choice. We even decorated our stage with roleplaying stuff. We like to think of this as informing our relationship with you. Like we want to invite you to our table, sit down, have fun with us. We are going to offer you some challenges, let you customize things, and then we are going to play this game. It is going to be fun.

OMG, our artists are looking at pigs. This is what happens when our artists look at pigs. They see it through that Diablo lens, and that is the kind of thing I want you to think about. This is what is going on in our brains when we see cute stuff. It comes out horrible, and... that is pretty good for us. Maybe you will like that kind of thing.

So besides roleplaying games, and some of the other things that I mentioned earlier, one of the things that inspired us a lot is music. So when I get started on design, I like to put on my headphones. Early in Diablo IV development, I wouldn't put on my headphones. I'd just play the music outloud, because there weren't a lot of people around. But people wandering by could hear metal music, and I thought that was a good way to start. It got me inspired, and hopefully people walking around the Diablo IV area would like: "Oo-ooh, what's going on in there? I wanna work on that. Sounds like a good time."

And that worked, and it turned into a way that we talked about the game a little bit. Metal became a way that we described things in the game, and I don't mean metal like on a helmet or sword, metal as in "metal." This is going to be a little fun. You don't have to do it if you don't want to. I wanted to get an exercise. Get everyone in the room in the mood for the rest of this -- which is going to be a little floor-paced. Now shake out your hands, and I want you to be metal with me.

So do metal, and then go extra metal; and then if you can, link your pinkies, lock your fingers. It is goofy, but it is just for fun. Now... don't summon demons. Nobody is chanting, right? Ok. Good. No demons were summoned. None that we didn't want summoned.

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Alright. I will take the pace down, talk a little bit about the vibe, the feeling that we want you to have for your character. I'd like to introduce our creative director, Sebastian, to talk a little bit about the mood that we want your characters to feel while you are moving through the world of Diablo IV.

NEXT: THE TONE OF SANCTUARY

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DIABLO IV - THE TONE OF SANCTUARY

Sebastian: Hello. You have probably heard already a lot about darkness; but I want to say a few more things about darkness, because this is something very very important for us; and the truth is we are not going to be just dark.

We want to bring back this very very specific vibe that makes Diablo unique; and it is not just about darkness. This is very very important for us, because it impacts almost every layer of the game. Every aspect. So let's watch some movies and talk about darkness mood.

So the first thing is the story. We want to make much more grounded story than in Diablo III; and we think that the best way to deliver this story is to give you a possibility to discover stories of those simple folks; and that is why you are watching this movie right now.

So imagine this kind of village. This is just an example. It is not about this specific village. We have like over 100 villages or places like this; and who would like to focus on those simple stories. The Eternal Conflict that is going on inside here. So it is not about being heroes. It is not about politics, kings, or another high-fantasy themes. It is about those guys; and there is reference you can think about Wirt (from Diablo I), or Marius from Diablo II.

When you are done with talking and shopping in the village, it is time to go for a quest; and this is the essence of Diablo being somewhere alone outside and wandering around. You are a kind of wanderer in this game. So thinking what awaits in the darkness -- this is the kind of mood that we want to create; and here, there is one more important thing: it is about visual storytelling.

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It is not about creating spectacular big scenes here. It's more about those small, even claustrophobic scenes. It is about many many small things that combine together. They will give you this mood; and of course, they would be inspired by medieval things, by religious themes, by occult things. Many many things, but it is still up to you to follow those small things that you will find in the open world, or somewhere in the dungeon; and get better imagination of what's happening with the NPCs, even with the big things here; but It's like the story about the Eternal Conflict in Diablo 1 -- mostly through journals.

In the end of the road, there is always something evil; and even in Diablo, it is glorious. Unconquered. But actually, this is a good occasion to talk a little bit about the religious themes, and the agnostic athmosphere of Diablo.

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We call this guy the Blood Bishop. He was probably a bishop before, and he committted a lot of evil things; and now he is Blood Bishop like this; but we don't want to just spread crosses and monsters all around the Sanctuary. The way people imagined hell in middle ages, that is something that really inspires us here; and the agnostic way of thinking that Sanctuary is a place of misery, decay, and suffering -- this is a very very important theme for us.

So if you put all those three movies in a row, you will get kind of the basic game look. It is a very simple classic setup. There are good guys. They have a problem. A hero goes for a quest. There is a journey, and there is something evil in the end that you need to fight.

But this simple setup gives us a chance to focus on those details, and to build this mood that we are looking for. This kind of dark, agnostic, a little bit mad with blood and gore, with dark sense of humor, sometimes even more than a bit; and of course, we will have also bigger themes; but they are just like a frame for us to deliver this grounded story; and now Sean is going to tell you more about those bigger things.

NEXT: LORE

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DIABLO IV LORE

Sean: Thank you, Sebastian; and if I may say, actually thanks to Jessie and everybody up here for inviting me to this panel. It's really geeky and super cool to be up here with you. So, thank you very much. Hello, Lore Friends. My name is Sean Copeland. I am the head historian for Blizzard's story and franchise development group; and I've had the privilege of working in the Diablo universe for over 11 years, and that's pretty wickedly cool to say.

Sean Copeland

You've seen my little Lore fingerprint on all of our published work. So the novels, the comics, the short stories and even the source books that we released like the Book of Cain, the Book of Tyrael, and the Book of Adria. It’s just been a hell of a ride if the department of mine.

I'm actually here to give you a super quick Lore summary of all the events in Diablo III, Reaper of Souls, and to kind of basically set this world state of Sanctuary in Diablo IV, and to give you some really quick Lore bits on who the lovely lady named Lilith is. Guys it's a really treat to say its Diablo story time, so gather around. Alright. Here we go.

It's Diablo III. Diablo has worked a seriously long game to acquire an artifact known as the Black Soulstone, and he was able to get all the great evil essences within it so he can power himself up to be the singular prime evil. As soon as he did so, he marched up to the High Heavens and tore down the Diamond Gates. How metal. Is that mad?

After that, Diablo started laying waste to the High Heavens, and it was up to us heroes to go up there to rescue some angels and kick some demon butt; and we totally did so; and by doing so, the Black Soulstone eventually was freed from Diablo and came into the hands of our friend Tyrael.

Now, Tyrael knew it wasn't safe to keep this thing in the High Heavens. So he took his reformed Horadrim, and he brought it back down to Sanctuary where it would be safe. Well, I used the air quotes because if you remember the introductory cinematic of Reaper of Souls, his brother Malthael had other plans for the Black Soulstone, and confiscated it in the most violent way possible.

Unfortunately, after he did so, he did something wickedly awful. Malthael started committing human genocide across Sanctuary. Scores of humanity were just being slaughtered wholesale. It was up to us heroes to stop that awfulness from going down; and again, because we're heroes and we like loot we totally did so.

But unfortunately, our ultimate win was a loss. You see, for Diablo IV, we would like to say to you that when the Black Soulstone was shattered by Malthael, and when he consumed the great essences to power himself up to beat us (whispers: which he totally didn't), those great essences rocketed back out into reality; and let me tell you folks... that as a Diablo historian them being out there? ... seriously bad news for us. So yeah. So that's the how we kind of ended Reaper of Souls. I have to say, it is so cool to say these words: "It's time for Diablo IV."

I don't want to get into any spoilers, because that would totally be not cool; but some quick Lore bits about who this lovely lady is. Her name is Lilith. You've heard the words daughter of hatred being said around, it's because she is the daughter of Mephisto: The Lord of Hatred. It's kind of funny also that the Lord of Hatred, his daughter actually would become the one to form a relationship with one of their wicked enemies, the angels -- Inarius, specifically; and Inarius and Lilith created the Sanctuary in which we all inhabit, and the Nephalem that were created from unions of both Inarius, Lilith and other rebel angels and demons are the reason we have the universe today. So, that's just to set that stage a little bit about who this lovely lady is; and now Sanctuary, the world.

As we talked before, Malthael's genocidal campaign has just wrecked our world. Scores of death everywhere you see. In that death, massive power vacuums have opened up across the world and people have begun to fill those power vacuums. Our household Lore names that you may have heard before like the Zakarum and the Temple of the Triune. Honestly, when I think about it all, I think about Lilith, and I think about the world she created, and the way we see the world now -- that Sanctuary they created to hide out from the Eternal Conflict, it's hard to believe there's any refuge left on Sanctuary. With that lovely thought, I want to kick it back over to my friend Jessie here that can dive into a little bit more of the world building.

NEXT: WORLD BUILDING

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WORLD BUILDING

Jesse: Alright. Okay. So I was talking earlier about our influences and our biggest influence for making Diablo IV is every other Diablo game; and just a little bit of our process. The first thing that we knew about the world of Sanctuary with Diablo 1 was the town of Tristram, and that's basically all you knew about the world.

Jesse McCree

There was a town, there's some people in it, there's a chapel; and in that chapel, there's a way down into a dungeon, and in that dungeon is a lot of really bad stuff. If you wandered around the town, there's something like a bridge, and you can't cross it; and you're like: oh what else is out there?

If you happen to read the manuals, so this is all we knew about the world; and if you happen to read the manuals for Diablo 1, you found out a lot of stuff about the Lore of the world that wasn't included necessarily in the game or that wasn't as easy to access. Things like the High Heavens, The Crystal Arch, The Burning Hells, The Great Evils, and Inarius that we talked about earlier, the Cathedral of Light, The Horadrim, The Sin War, the Zackarum. There is a lot of information there, and that's really our starting point for everything that we've done from that point forward.

With Diablo 2, we finally have a map with the manual, and we have a little bit more of the world; and so we can finally start to look at things and connect them. We can see like, oh this is where Tristram is; oh there's an ocean, what's outside of that; and your imagination can start to get carried away; and you can start to think like: oh man these are places I could go, what are they like, and there's names and words there that you don't know what they are, and it's really exciting to think about.

Gameplay-wise, the way you interacted with the world, because everything was built kind of separated, is you would Waypoint around and that totally worked; and its waypoints are Horadric magic, it’s totally safe. You probably won't get disintegrated when you use it. So, the waypoint system totally worked for us, and then in Diablo III, we added even more areas but it was still built in a not connected way; and so we continued to use waypoints as the way to get around; and it totally still works and we had way more places to explore. More than there are on this map, because we went extra dimensional into Heaven and places like that.

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With Reaper of Souls, we finally added Adventure Mode; and with Adventure Mode, we added a map; and the map is an abstract. So things weren't exactly where they were, and it served as a waypoint and an activity map; and everything wasn't where it appeared to be because it was abstract.

When we added places -- for example, The Shrouded Moors, we didn't really have Scosglen on the map, so we couldn't put it in its spot, and we stuck it in a corner in Act 2. But, it's in Scosglen; and now finally with the spaces that we're building in Diablo IV, we're building one large contiguous space, and everything is connected.

So you don't have to portal around in this space on the map. It's all going to be there for you to interact with, and we'll also have dungeons underneath, and dungeons above; and there's a lot to the world here; and the way that you interact with this world now in Diablo IV, we have a different kind of map.

So things are where you think they are, and you can zoom in and out, and you can see what's going on, and you can find your friends on here; and you can kind of see the space that we're building. The area that's uncovered is the demo that we brought to BlizzCon.

Scosglen Map

And the rest of the world is what we're building out; and it's-- (audience applauds), thank you. I have a huge affinity for maps, and I really like this stuff. So being able to work on The Reaper map and then turn it into this has been a lot of fun, and hopefully it works well and you guys like it. But, in order to talk about what's hidden under that stuff, I'd like to hand it off to Harrison to talk about the regions that we're building for Diablo IV.

NEXT: THE WORLD

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WORLD

Harrison: Alright. So, hi everybody. My name is Harrison Pink. I'm a quest designer on Diablo IV, which means I get to tell stories that's super, super exciting; and it's an absolute privilege to get to sit up here, and tell you guys a story about the regions you're gonna get to explore in Diablo IV.

For the first time, Sanctuary truly gets to be its own character. Throughout the Diablo games, we've interacted with these incredible characters; but for the first time, the world itself gets to be its own character; and I think that's super, super rad; and we're gonna get to travel across Sanctuary for real. We're not gonna have to go through loading screens, we're not gonna have to sort of imagine these spaces, you're gonna just get to walk Sanctuary; and it's super, super exciting.

So, as I'm a storyteller, I'm going to tell you a quick flashback. If we flashback to 2001 -- really quickly with me, I'm in boarding school in the cold frosty Northlands of Ontario, Canada; and I'm playing Diablo II, and I finish Act 1 for the first time. I beat Andariel in the monastery, you go through a loading screen, and now suddenly you're in Act 2; and it's a totally different area.

You're in Lut Gholein, the art is different, the sun is beating down on you, there are different characters around you, and it was like so different. It was a huge jarring change. So, I opened up the map from the book that Jesse mentioned earlier. The manual; and you can kind of see the rogue encampment over here, and Lut Gholein over here, and you see this dotted line that kind of connects the two; and, it just got my imagination going about all these crazy adventures that my character maybe saw off screen that I never really got to experience; but for the first time, we really get to see all of that space together; and that's super, super rad. So, I'm really excited to start talking about this stuff. So let's dive right in.

SCOSGLEN

Harrison: Let's start at the very top of the map with Scosglen. Who's played the demo so far this weekend? Awesome. So if you've played the demo you got a very small glimpse of what Scosglen has to offer. This is the ancestral home of the Druids, if you played the Druid class -- which is available in the demo, this is where their secrets are hidden all throughout this region.

This is sort of an untamable, rugged, beautiful land with these deep forests, these rocky highlands; but it's also savage and sort of untamed and wild.

There is this constant gloomy rain, this constant fog, there are these creatures hiding in the forest, we need to drag you back in the forests are these monsters like the Drowned waiting to pull you back into the ocean with them. The people who live in Scosglen are constantly pushing back against this encroaching wilderness.

Goatmen are slaughtering farmers mere feet from the torchlight of their towns. It feels weird to smile while I say that, the people who live in these towns are huddled together in their little huts hoping their numbers will keep them safe, but the moment they leave the safety of civilization they find themselves lost and surrounded by these feral nightmares.

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DRY STEPPES

To the south of Scosglen, we have the region known as the Dry Steppes. This is a war-ravaged region. Say that three times fast. It has these amber grasslands, these deep canyons, these wide salt flats dotted with geysers of boiling hot water. This is an incredibly difficult place to live. If you try and live here, only the very ruthless or the very desperate call the Dry Steppes their home.

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If you live in this place, you were either a predator or you’re prey. Alright. There are violent wars between these groups like the power vacuums that Sean mentioned earlier that have opened up.

There's different groups that are trying to take their spotlight now in this vacuum. They're trying to win the hearts of the minds of the people who live in these regions; and with Lilith's return, that darkness that's sort of within all of us -- all of humanity's -- since we're both angel and demon; it started to sort of rise, and many people sort of give in to it, give in to these dark powers; and turn to things like cannibalism for more power.

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FRACTURED PEAKS

Harrison: So, to the east of The Dry Steppes, what we once thought was The Dry Steppes continuing all the way across to the eastern part of the continent, we now know is this sort of snowy mountainous region known as the Fractured Peaks.

We took a lot of inspiration from those classic Victorian gothic horror themes, so if you have a secret inner goth kid like I do, I think you're really gonna like this region a lot.

The people who live in the Fractured Peaks, they have this horrible anxiety all the time. They feel the hair on the back of their neck standing up, they feel like something is watching them from these dark ruins, these ancient old cathedrals. Something is waiting to prey on them when any moment of weakness strikes.

When the sun goes down inside the Fractured Peaks, those towns, those doors get barred, they get locked. If you're outside in the night time, and in the fracture Peaks, you're as good as dead. If those monsters that are waiting in the shadows don't drain you of your blood, the cold will just freeze it in your veins.

This is also the home to a group of religious zealots who sort of fervent belief in their higher powers keep them feeling warm and safe on those dark scary nights, but leave them completely ignorant of the dangers that are slowly, slowly encroaching upon them.

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SWAMPLANDS OF HAWEZAR

Harrison: To the south, we have the Swamplands of Hawezar. Poison, disease, despair. They coat this whole region like a mold.

Hawezar is so deadly, the fauna is ravenous for your flesh, the floor is poisonous. This is a place of madness, of black magic. Who can tell how much of what you see is real, or just some kind of fever dream? Those that come to Hawezar, they do so to be forgotten, to be lost. They are cutthroats, thieves, assassins, murderers that want to do their dark trades far out of the reach of the forces of like law and order, or groups like the Zakarum who might be able to put a stop to this.

This is also the location where we have groups of swamp witches who worship massive snakes, if you saw the gameplay trailer you might have caught a glimpse of one of them. They have dark knowledge, they may be willing to part with, but for a heavy price.

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KEHJISTAN

Harrison: Finally, we have the zone of Kehjistan. So, Kehjistan was once a much larger Empire that encompassed the sort of forests and jungles surrounding this area; but over time, those borders have kinda shrunk back down to this region that we once called the Borderlands.

This is the last bastion of the Zakarum faith. Years of decadence and corruption have just caused them to sort of fall apart and lose the hearts and minds of the people who live in this region. They've been desperately trying to gain that faith back, but it's just not going well.

In Diablo III, we've actually visited some places in Kehjistan. We went to Cal Diem -- the jewel of the east, we visited Alcarnus -- things were pretty bad in Diablo III for them. Guess what they've gotten worse since then. this is also the location of a lot of really important events from Diablo's past.

So, the Sin War -- a lot of that took place in Kehjistan. The Mage Clan Wars -- all of that kind of thing took place in Kehjistan. There's a lot of history buried in the sands under Kehjistan; and speaking of buried, we have these ancient Triune Cult ruins that radiate this dark power -- sort of thrumming with dark energy; the triune who is responsible for helping Lilith return to Sanctuary, as you saw in our cinematic, they also worship the Prime Evils; and they are hastening their master's return to Sanctuary.

The people who live in Kehjistan have just lost any hope of any kind of rescue. Demons are looking in the sands around them, Lilith's agents wear the smiling faces of their friends and trusted family members. There's this horrible paranoia and suspicion that beats down on the people who live in Kehjistan like the hot sun above them.

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So, those are our five incredible regions that we're gonna ship with Diablo IV, but the world isn't just a place... it's filled with lots of dangerous things besides you; and to talk a little bit more about the monsters that are gonna inhabit the world of Sanctuary, I'd like to pass it off to my friend: Candace.

NEXT: MONSTERS

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MONSTERS

Candace: Hi, everybody. My name is Candace Thomas, I'm a senior encounter designer for Diablo IV; and that feels really good to say outloud. What I do, is I bottle up all that story, all that history, all that lore and I turn it into a combat experience; and what that actually means is that, I tell you a story by punching you in the face.

What does that mean? I'll talk about The Drowned. So if you didn't get to play the demo, or if you're watching from home -- you don't know who these people are, because they're new to Diablo IV; but they've always been a threat to Sanctuary.

First, to tell you the story about them, I'll use my words. So these are monsters of legend in Sanctuary. They haven't been seen in generations, and most people don't even believe that they exist. These are like the terrors in the night that'll come in and kidnap you, and drag you into the water and drown you. Villagers will tell the stories of these guys huddled around their campfires to scare their children at night, like: "if you don't go to bed on time then the Drowned will come and take you."

Harrison: It's a good villager voice.

Candace: Thank you. But their effect is real, the bodies of the victims wash ashore and bloat in the midday sun. Ships are lost at sea; and on the first moonless night after all of the omens have passed the Drowned will appear; and these denizens of Sanctuary believe it or not, they have to face it, because now here they come to attack.

When they attack, they infect the shores like a disease, with them comes this thick brackish fog that encroaches in from the shoreline. Ships are lost at sea, people are going missing; and everywhere you go there's this constant unyielding tolling of the bells clamoring -- reminding you the Drowned are out there, and they're rallying to come and get you. That's how you tell a story with your words. Now I want to talk about how I punch you in the face with it.

This is a lineup of The Drowned. Early on, this is a concept piece that we encounter designers will use to inspire us to determine what they're gonna do in combat. On the far left, you can see the Wretch. He's like the little guy, and they're numerous, there's a lot of them. Next to him is the Sea Witch, and she's a dungeon boss, and she's pretty cool; but I want to talk about the guy in the middle: he's The Drowned Juggernaut, because there's kind of a cool story about him.

If you look at him, and you get inspired by this photo, it's perfect. Like he's supposed to be a heavy punisher. He's supposed to be a brute that has these vicious attacks; and that's perfect. Except for one thing that's kind of weird. If knowing the story that I told you about The Drowned, and how they shamble in from the ocean, and they kidnap you, and they pull you out to sea, what story are we telling with that flail? You know, like where does he get that thing? Is there like... do we have to tell some story about like a store that he buys this from under the sea? Like that redhead with the clam shells, does she like brush our hair with this thing, like what's the deal?

Instead of telling you the story where he got the flail, we changed it, because it felt wrong; and now you'll see that he has the mast of a ship that he attacks you with.

Because their story, because that fog comes in, because the Drowned come in and they bring the sea with them -- to make it a complete thought, to kind of supplement the story that we're telling you with our words and with our world, you can see that in the apex of a slam, not only is he beating you with the mast of a ship, he's bringing the sea with him. He has this faint phantasmal wave attack that comes out even though there's like no water nearby.

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So, this theme we carry it across the entire monster family. You see the Sea Witch here for a lack of a better word has like a wave attack. She has geysers that come out, even the little drowned wretches will lob little like water crystals at you, and really this is just to make the game more of a complete thought. It's these little things that we're hoping that will carry through and make these monsters come to life in Diablo IV.

BOSSES

Now I want to talk about bosses, because that's like my specialty, that's what I like to do; and it's kind of why I joined the team. First, I want to talk to you about Ashava, and you've probably heard a lot about her; and I hope you played her on the demo. Please give us your feedback, but if you haven't met her, I think that she's important to the world for two reasons; one because she's this ever-present threat in Sanctuary, she's lurking, she's sleeping underneath the surface of Sanctuary; and she can pop up anywhere in the world -- as like a constant reminder that Lilith is watching and that nowhere is safe from the from the gates of Hell.

But to us as developers, I think that she's kind of like a monument to what Diablo IV is as a game. She's this enormous monster, but she takes more than just you to defeat. People have to come together across all the regions to take her down, because she's just this giant killing machine. I thought she was kind of cool. She's actually the reason that I joined the team. I was walking by the Diablo IV area and Jesse's playing metal music or whatever, and I saw her on someone's screen. I was like: "What's that?" -- and he was like: "Girl, let me show you" -- and he showed me the stagger mechanic that she has, and I got super excited; and I was like: "Man, I got to join this team. Tag me in."

Anyway, if you have been watching the gameplay trailers, or if you have been watching closely on some of the other panels -- you might have seen this guy. He's returning to Diablo IV. If you don't know who he is, his name is Duriel and he was the Lord of Pain; and I don't want to spoil any of the interaction that you're gonna have, or the impact that he has on Sanctuary, because that's something that you're gonna find out in the story.

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But what I want to talk about is kind of our philosophy behind the designing of bosses in Diablo IV. In Diablo II, if you fought him, you know that he was just this giant ass-beater. He comes toe-to-toe with you, and one of you comes out alive, and there was nowhere to run. You're enclosed in a small space, and only one of you is gonna emerge victorious.

[gallery link="file" columns="2" size="large" ids="43928,43929"]

We wanted to honor the legacy of who he was in Diablo II, but while also kind of elevating it and telling more of a story about who he is for Diablo IV. You'll notice in this gameplay fight, did you know that he's the Lord of Pain, but he's also the Lord of Maggots? So, we decided to sort of explore that side of him, and he'd burrow into the ground to give you some like real one-on-one time with those maggots; therefore like reducing the space you have to fight him. Kind of just paying tribute to who he was in Diablo II while kind of taking it into the next level in Diablo 4.

So, you see how he like jabs you and like pulled you into his belly? We're trying to kind of use that symbolism for an Iron Maiden. That's one of those cages from medieval times that has the spikes in it. We wanted to evoke those emotions in you whenever you see Duriel. I wanted to tell a story about who he is.

[gallery link="file" size="large" ids="43930,43931,43932"]

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse of our process whenever we design monsters in Diablo IV, and we can only hope that you get as much joy from killing our monsters as we do when we find out that our monsters kill you.

NEXT: Q&A

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Q&A

Elizabeth: Thank you, thank you so much Candace. Thank you for punching us in the face with your words. It was amazing.

Candace: That’s what I do, man.

Elizabeth: Alright. So you guys submitted questions to us yesterday, both online and at our Diablo experience in the back. I am going to start off with one of our more higher rated questions, and we're gonna read through them and give you some answers. This first one is from I think it's from Bull. Bull asks “With the mother of hatred coming out, will the father of the Nephalem make an appearance?” It's a great question.

Sean: Oh, I think I can tackle that. I think I spoke about it a little bit -- talked just now; but again, Lilith has been known in legends as the first mother, but that doesn't mean that she's the only mother. You see... when Inarius and Lilith enacted their plans to steal the Worldstone and create Sanctuary, they had other rebel angels and demons with them to help enact the plan.

So, just to talk about that, she's definitely a first mother, not the only mother. Second of which, Inarius, if you guys had the chance to read any of the source books, or even the Sin War trilogy novel, we know where Inarius is; and he's unfortunately been under the wonderful care of Mephisto for the past 3,000 years -- being tortured. What's he's going on right now... I think that'd be a bit of a spoiler; but to the last we saw him -- he was still being tortured.

Jesse: There's an amazing piece of art in the dark gallery, if you haven't checked that out of like Inarius is bound. It's beautiful. You've got to check it out. But that's the last time we saw him.

Sean: Last time we saw him.

Elizabeth: Bummer. Yeah, it's a bummer for him. Our next question was submitted via Twitter. He asks: “Will the entire map be randomly generated like in Diablo II, or will it be just the dungeons?"

Candace: Yeah, Sanctuary is a fixed world. It's an open world that you explore. That is not randomly generated, but we do have hundreds of dungeons that are both below the surface and in pockets of Sanctuary. That will be randomly generated -- just as like that tool that we use for variety; and just like you would expect from a Diablo game.

Elizabeth: Awesome. Our next question is from Thunderclaw. Thunderclaw asks: "What happened to all the souls trapped in the Black Soulstone once it was destroyed?" It's a great question.

Sean: That is a great question.

Elizabeth: Jesse.

Jesse: I think previously, we've said that they were all bound together. On further introspection and consulting with the Horadrim, I don't know how that could be the case for such a long time if they've been trapped in there as separate entities, you're gonna want to fight to separate. This has happened even up to godhood in the Lore so they're probably separate, and they will come back at some point.

Sean: They're all out there.

Elizabeth: They are all out there.

Jesse: Yes. That brings me back to the first question actually which I was thinking about while we were talking that, Inarius' jailor is one of those. So... that could create problems for Sanctuary.

Elizabeth: Yeah. Okay, cool. Next question is "No diablo game is complete without the Lords of Hell. Can we expect to see the unholy triumvirate?"

Harrison: The unholy triumvirate? That's awesome. Rad. Yeah, just like Sean and Jesse said earlier, like that Soulstone is shattered. Those sort of essences have been scattered to the cosmic winds. You have seen Duriel. So that's one of them, and we know from history... History has shown that when the essences are scattered, even when they're defeated, they do find their way back. But it's important to remember that Lilith is here, and now there's a power vacuum. She is the ascendant power. She's the tornado at our doorstep right now. There's a hurricane off in the distance that we should probably be aware of, but Lilith is here, and she is in charge.

Elizabeth: Yeah, okay. Awesome. Next question is from Twitter: "Cain’s dead, will Tyrael be the narrator?" Good question. Jesse.

Jesse: That's an interesting question because it assumes that we have a narrator in Diablo IV or what a narrator is. So, since we've said some time has passed since the events of Reaper of Souls, and we know that the last time we saw Tyrael he was in Heaven, and he was mortal. It's hard to say where he is at this point without giving an exact date for the storyline, there's a lot of possibilities for where Tyrael might be.

Previously, in Diablo games we've had usually a Horadric representative, and if you guys watch the gameplay trailer you see we have a character. He's wearing a Horadric necklace. Maybe that's somebody important. That's someone to keep an eye on.

Harrison: And also, it's important to mention it like-- since the events of Diablo III, like Heaven closed its gates, phone's off the hook, they're not taking our calls. Right? Like... nope, nobody's answering. Horadrim are incommunicado. So, we are kinda on our own. Yea. Not great.

Elizabeth: We are kinda screwed. Yea. Good stuff. Alright. Next question: "Is my homie, the Butcher, in D4?" My homie the Butcher. Interesting, that the Butcher is your homie... Jesse. I will let you take that one.

Jesse: Yea. I don't know how the Butcher is your homie. Like don't you remember in Diablo I, he rushes outside and beats the heck out of you. Yea, he is definitely not your homie. Unless you are on the side of evil, and then I am not your homie. Or am I? It is like a bigger question to me-- like our favorites are going to come back? I think there are a lot of characters like that, that are really fun to play and are fan favorites. They would be awesome to bring back. So we are definitely talking about that, trying to figure out where it is appropriate to-- The Butcher, I think would make a really fun fight in Diablo IV; so I think that would be something we would talk about a lot.

Harrison: Yea, we want to make sure that when we pick things to bring forward, that it feels organic and correct for Diablo IV. We don't want to just pick, like: Oh that's an easy win for us. We want it to feel like it is part of... there is a reason for it. It matters. This lore matters. The characters matter. We don't want to just snag something, and just chuck it in because it was just like a thing that we remember from back in the day.

Jesse: When he is a giant demon that is going to beat the crap out of you with a huge thing, and-- THAT's totally appropriate for Diablo IV.

Harrison: That does hit like your Metal requirement. That's true. So... maybe.

Candace: Remember we are trying to, under the legacy of what Diablo II was, and we are hoping that our monster line-up (without spoiling the whole thing in our first panel) will delight you and... murder you. (smiles)

Harrison: Delight and murder you...

Candace: In that order.

Elizabeth: Awesome. Well, that's all the questions that we brought with us today. We just want to take a moment and say thank you guys, so much. It is such an honor to be up on this stage. It is so incredible to finally be able to say Diablo IV, and to bring you a little early taste of what the game is going to be like. So thank you again, so much. Thank you for being here, and have a great BlizzCon.

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