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“Stay Awhile and Listen” to tell the story of Blizzard North and the making of Diablo

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 closure?

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?

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