Author David L. Craddock has been preparing quite the tome for Diablo
and Blizzard fans. His upcoming e-book “Stay Awhile and Listen” recounts the
12-year history of Blizzard North. Craddock has tapped Blizzard North
co-founders David Brevik, Max Schaefer, and Erich Schaefer – as well as
engineers, artists, musicians, and designers – to give readers a
behind-the-scenes perspective on the creation of the first Diablo titles, the
relationship between Blizzard North and Blizzard Entertainment, and the events
that led up to the closure of Blizzard North before Blizzard Entertainment
resumed work on Diablo III.
“I’d definitely like to see this set a record for what went on,” said Blizzard
North co-founder Erich Schaefer, who hopes the book will motivate readers to
make their loot table dreams a reality. Max Schaefer shares his brother’s
sentiments, but emphasizes that the extraordinary Diablo franchise was created
by everyday people. “What I hope readers take away from the book is that
regular people make games like ours, so don’t ever think you can’t be a part of
something like that.”
“Stay Awhile and Listen” is scheduled for a summer 2012 release on Amazon,
Kindle, Apple iBooks, and nook in summer 2012. In the meantime, stay awhile and
read our Q&A with the author for more details on what’s in store.
GR: Will readers get the real story about Blizzard North’s
Craddock: The book's concluding chapters are devoted entirely
to the development of Diablo III and the trials and tribulations faced by
Blizzard North during their final two years. But don't think of skipping right
to those chapters! The how, what, and why of Blizzard North's closure traces
back to its earliest years, so you'll need to, ahem, Stay Awhile and Listen to understand
the big picture of the studio's final years.
GR: Will readers find out any details
about how much (if any) of Blizzard North’s work on Diablo III made it into
the version fans are seeing right now?
Craddock: Learning about Blizzard
North's plans for Diablo III and reading through Blizzard Entertainment's plans
for the game since its official debut in 2008 has been one of the highlights in
writing this book, and, I knew, would be of great interest to readers. Shortly
after Blizzard released the D3 beta, I conducted follow-up interviews with
several of my Blizzard North contacts to discuss this very topic.
Not surprisingly, they were as eager to
talk about it as I was, sharing their thoughts on how the game was shaping up
and pointing to gameplay and lore elements in the beta that they recognized as
major or minor permutations of the content they created through 2005. For
example, the character of Leah, presently Deckard Cain's adopted daughter,
existed in North's version of the game, but under a different name and conceived
by a very interesting set of parents...
GR: Will the book cover the move by
David Brevik and Max and Erich Schaefer to co-found Flagship Studios and the
creation of Hellgate/Mythos?
Craddock: Although the book does not
cover Flagship and its games directly, it does touch on the effects Flagship's
formation had on Blizzard North. Dave, Max, and Erich cultivated a very
powerful organic and egalitarian culture at Blizzard North that contributed to
two of the greatest, most important games ever made. When the three founders
left, the studio became a very different place. How could it not? To some
developers, Blizzard North without the three founders was no longer Blizzard North.
Over the book's final chapters, readers
will witness many individuals battle through several different struggles. One
such struggle: to stay at Blizzard North and take a hand in creating Diablo III--a
bonafide dream job if ever one existed--or follow their former leaders and the
culture they intended to rekindle at their new company.
Having said all that, the story of
Flagship, Hellgate, and beyond would make for a helluva sequel, wouldn't it?