Diablo's original devs give their opinion on Blizzard

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

Speaking to PC Gamer at the Path of Exile’s ExileCon fan convention, the trio was asked about some of the controversies to plague Blizzard in recent times, which began with the Diablo: Immortal reveal last year—a game that was lambasted by fans for being a mobile-only title.

When asked by PC Gamer’s Steven Messner if Blizzard had “sort of changed,” Brevik replied: "It's not 'sort of' changed, it has completely changed." He added that the only two original developers still at the company are senior art director Samwise Didier and senior vice president Allen Adham.

"The old Blizzard is gone," Max Schaefer added. "When we quit, there was like 180 employees total. There's thousands now. The whole empire is different, and Activision didn't have any influence. At that point it was just Blizzard and then some anonymous corporate owner, Vivendi or whoever. That was it. And so now [Blizzard is] a video game empire that has to appease shareholders and all that sort of stuff."

The Schaefer brothers said there was friction between Blizzard North and parent company Blizzard Entertainment over the gore and satanic references in Diablo 2, and that as Blizzard found more success, the three original devs struggled to focus on creative design and experienced more corporate bureaucracy.

Messner also asked for the three’s opinion on the Hearthstone ban controversy, in which Hong Kong-based pro player Ng "Blitzchung" Wai Chung said, "Liberate Hong Kong, a revolution of our times," in a post-match interview, leading to a one-year ban from tournaments. The move resulted in Blizzard employees staging a protest walkout.

"First of all, sometimes you wake up in the morning and you're just in a no win situation," Max Schaefer said. "And I think that, to some extent, that's what happened with [Blizzard]. There was no clean way out. And I think they kind of bungled it, obviously, but there was no way they were getting through that without some controversy."

Brevik did add that speculation Blizzard was being pressured by the Chinese government or publishing partner NetEase sounded “like a conspiracy theory.”

In other Blizzard news, the developer has confirmed that the upcoming Diablo 4 will have microtransactions. These will only be for locked cosmetic items, and while it won’t be the first full-price game to feature them, this reveal won’t go down well with fans.

PC Gamer will publish the full interview later this week.

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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
It would be interesting to have one of the writers here have some interviews with those CEO's and COO's that make the decisions on change of direction of these companies flagship games. I'd like to hear how they arrive at their decisions, especially when you consider how many different companies have come and gone because of those decisions. Some games like Half Life had so much more potential that could have been sustained as new titles are developed. Why would they abandoned a sure thing for an unknown? And others like GTA should have been developing the next two generation titles well before the most recent release. Is there an advantage to waiting or are they really that slow to develop?

All of there would be interesting to hear more about .....
 

Adi6293

TS Guru
It would be interesting to have one of the writers here have some interviews with those CEO's and COO's that make the decisions on change of direction of these companies flagship games. I'd like to hear how they arrive at their decisions, especially when you consider how many different companies have come and gone because of those decisions. Some games like Half Life had so much more potential that could have been sustained as new titles are developed. Why would they abandoned a sure thing for an unknown? And others like GTA should have been developing the next two generation titles well before the most recent release. Is there an advantage to waiting or are they really that slow to develop?

All of there would be interesting to hear more about .....
I think the answer is they are slow but there is also advantage if you wait because more people will want the next game only problem is Blizzard waits too long, look at Path of Exile 2, that is looking great and it will be out before Diablo IV, will be free to play without paid DLC's only cosmetics but you honesty dont have to spend a penny playing it, I didn't in the first one but I will support developers this time around :)
 
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ShagnWagn

TS Evangelist
Dangit. Microtransactions?? The original games did not have this crap. Do these game companies have to screw everything up? The gameplay trailer looked awesome and I was stoked to finally play Diablo since D2, but my hopes were dashed by the greed. But these days there are kids (even boys) who will pay extra to dress up their virtual doll. Sigh. I will be avoiding this game. :mad:

Just imagine - there was a time where everything in the game was included in the original purchase.
 

Slappy McPhee

TS Addict
The whole situation with Blizzard truly saddens me. I had been a big fan up through the release of D3. That just took plain too long to launch and now all of this garbage with the ban of Wai Chung and the way they handled it only worrying about saving face to tyrants was the nail in the coffin for me. I won't be purchasing D4. Even if someone were to gift it to me I am not even sure that I would play it especially with the word about microtrans. Blizzard has become another EA.
 
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kevbev89

TS Maniac
I think the answer is they are slow but there is also advantage if you wait because more people will want the next game only problem is Blizzard waits too long, look at Path of Exile 2, that is looking great and it will be out before Diablo IV, will be free to play without paid DLC's only cosmetics but you honesty dont have to spend a penny playing it, I didn't in the first one but I will support developers this time around :)
I just picked up Path of Exile since it is free to play on Steam. So far I am liking it, we'll see how long I can stick with it.
 
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treetops

TS Evangelist
"The Schaefer brothers said there was friction between Blizzard North and parent company Blizzard Entertainment over the gore and satanic references in Diablo 2, and that as Blizzard found more success, the three original devs struggled to focus on creative design and experienced more corporate bureaucracy."

The game was called Diablo.... Christians in the 90s were worse then all the PC babies.
 

Capaill

TS Evangelist
"The Schaefer brothers said there was friction between Blizzard North and parent company Blizzard Entertainment over the gore and satanic references in Diablo 2, and that as Blizzard found more success, the three original devs struggled to focus on creative design and experienced more corporate bureaucracy."

The game was called Diablo.... Christians in the 90s were worse then all the PC babies.
Have you seen all the blood and gore and satanic references in the Diablo 4 trailer? Clearly Blizzard has no such qualms now. Probably because there are so few Christians in China ;)
 
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Rayneofpayne

TS Rookie
Have you seen all the blood and gore and satanic references in the Diablo 4 trailer? Clearly Blizzard has no such qualms now. Probably because there are so few Christians in China ;)
It was toned down, even the President of the company said they were purposely trying to not go to far and limiting violence, satanic references, and Gore as well as consulting with other game makers about dark gothic atmosphere because they are too damn afraid to just run with it.
POE is rated R
D3/4 and from here on out will be pg13
They overreacted greatly, I was there at the opening ceremony , including telling parents with children to head down to the cinema room because it may be too dark......
Keep in mind they want to sell this in China, so no matter what doing the least work possible to remove stuff for a different audience is going to be a thing.
 
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Rayneofpayne

TS Rookie
It would be interesting to have one of the writers here have some interviews with those CEO's and COO's that make the decisions on change of direction of these companies flagship games. I'd like to hear how they arrive at their decisions, especially when you consider how many different companies have come and gone because of those decisions. Some games like Half Life had so much more potential that could have been sustained as new titles are developed. Why would they abandoned a sure thing for an unknown? And others like GTA should have been developing the next two generation titles well before the most recent release. Is there an advantage to waiting or are they really that slow to develop?

All of there would be interesting to hear more about .....
It's because they didn't come from the gaming industry, It's entirely a US business problem, where you have people running a company under objective management principles.
Most of the CEOs and such are marketing directors, the only thing they understand like the current head of EA is marketing strategy and monetization, basically instead of making the game and figuring out how to make money and market it after development, they now have marketing and monetization strategies planned and create the game ahead of it.

I seen this once before, and that man was an *****, and forever will be one despite how people try to idolize him, his name was Steve Jobs and he decided to make a computer based on marketing rather than allowing qualified engineers make it.

Gaming industry is just trying to emulate their idol....
 
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Godel

TS Maniac
Brevik did add that speculation Blizzard was being pressured by the Chinese government or publishing partner NetEase sounded “like a conspiracy theory.”
He must be joking! The Chinese are in boots and all when applying pressure to censor negative comments about their regime.
 

treetops

TS Evangelist
Have you seen all the blood and gore and satanic references in the Diablo 4 trailer? Clearly Blizzard has no such qualms now. Probably because there are so few Christians in China ;)
Nah people in the 90s were insane and afraid of satanists. I know.. when a group of teens crashed into a ditch and mostly died.. my church made it about the rise of satanist.... even your local news would reference satanists here and there...
 

Capaill

TS Evangelist
Nah people in the 90s were insane and afraid of satanists. I know.. when a group of teens crashed into a ditch and mostly died.. my church made it about the rise of satanist.... even your local news would reference satanists here and there...
Ha :) One of my favourite songs is SATAN by Orbital. It was originally recorded in 1990 but I prefer the Glastonbury 2010 version. I wonder what the church would think about it. I doubt it will get played at any weddings.
 

fluffydestroyer

TS Booster
I hope gamers can all band together and tell them to remove microtransactions in D4. I mean gamers did it with batman: arkham knight. They banded together and got it removed from steam until that crap was fixed and it worked.
 

Milest

TS Member
I hope gamers can all band together and tell them to remove microtransactions in D4. I mean gamers did it with batman: arkham knight. They banded together and got it removed from steam until that crap was fixed and it worked.
If it only affects cosmetics, and not gameplay then why bother?
 

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