Newly resurfaced screens from Diablo 3's early development prove Blizzard originally aimed for a darker, grittier sequel to Diablo 2.
Of course, the shots offer a stark contrast to the well-lit, even vibrant at-times, sequel that polarized Diablo fans in 2012. It's true that the years have been kind to Diablo 3, there's no doubt players are excited by suggestions that Diablo 4 (opens in new tab) could mark a return to the series' dark, imposing past.
But shots first published by Blizzard North artist Oscar Cuesta (opens in new tab) (via PureDiablo (opens in new tab)) reveal an early version of Diablo 3 that's much more faithful to its predecessors. You can see dungeons with dark shadows all around, murky colors, and a more Gothic style in general. Despite the fact that "models were pretty low polygon and we were only using base color maps," it's clear that Diablo 3 was originally meant as a more direct sequel to Diablo 2, at least aesthetically.
As I mentioned earlier, fans who prefer their Diablo to be as bleak and foreboding as possible should be excited for Diablo 4 (opens in new tab). "If you decapitate enemies, heads fall off. If you're a Sorceress using a flame spell, you just roast all the meat off their bones. Or you can freeze them and see them shatter into a million pieces," senior producer Tiffany Wat told GamesRadar+ sister publication Edge in their hands-on preview. And it's not just carnage Blizzard is bringing back for Diablo 4, several systems are returning to their pre-Diablo 3 forms.
Hey, this is cool. Check out the Diablo-inspired, real-life cardboard RPG (opens in new tab) some friends made for a quarantined groom.