reaping the cost of solitude

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Diablo 3 - What Diablo should look like

I'm talking about the actual Diablo monster, not the game's World of Warcraft-looking environment. Anyway, I really wish they had spent more time thinking about their new Diablo model. Here it is at its present state:
While he does look good, and probably better than the one in Diablo 2, there's something about this design (and the previous ones) that's been bothering me. And I think I figured it out. This Diablo just doesn't scare me. Like, not at all.

When you look at the series and really get back down to what inspired Blizzard North way back when they were making the first Diablo, it's really about evil. Intense, unrelenting evil. The devil. Lucifer. Profane, unsettling, absurdly unnerving evil. Granted the development team at Blizzard has been hard at work updating their Diablo design for D3, the present model just leaves a lot be desired. To be honest, it just looks like a mindless alien.

But there was actually a time when they almost hit the nail on the design, or, should I say, they were almost on the right track to what I thought the likeness of Diablo should be. A few weeks back, IGN released this article showing the many design iterations the monsters in the game underwent before the designers settled on their current models - and that includes Diablo himself. One of those Diablo design concepts caught my eye, and it was this one:
I'm a fan of the "less is more" philosophy when it comes to Diablo. Among the 4 designs that were posted on that IGN article, this is what I thought was the most unnerving and closest to what I thought Diablo should be - really menacing, so evil-looking and sinister. It's not overly-endowed with exaggerated spikes and whatnot, and for once it's not stooping like a mindless animal.

It's got a really regal air of evil to it and its upright posture probably helps with that. It exudes intelligence, wisdom, making you think that this isn't just some dumb, lumbering monster running around on all fours chasing you. This guy actually looks like it knows what it's doing as opposed to something that's just killing everything in its path indiscriminately because it's programmed to do so by nature - like a shark. Well, that's what I actually thought of the previous designs of Diablo - they're basically just sharks. This Diablo, on the other hand, is on a whole new level of evilness and it's a creative path I wished the designers pursued more before giving in to their unfounded love for spikes and other theatrics.

That's probably what's wrong with designers these days, they are all about flashy appearances. Want something scary? Draw something big, put lots of spikes on it, and put an evil grin on its face. It's so easy and uninspired it's a shame. I would challenge the designers to be more subtle and experimental - stir up what lurks underneath. Also, is it me or are designers shying away from things that are disturbing? I'd like to see more disturbing concepts in media - video games, movies, or whatever.
Those aren't of Diablo of course, but if you think these are more scary than the current Diablo design, then there's definitely something wrong there. This is Diablo we are talking about. Diablo. He's supposed to be the scariest m.f. out there. Anything less is just disappointing.


Unknown said...

This new Diablo has a flowing, affeminite feeling to it for me. And I'll be honest, ANYTHING affeminite scares way more s&!t out of me than any Devil will!

Tingkagol said...

Come to think of it, I do believe the current model is going to look sick in action in-game. It will no doubt kill my character easily, so I'll probably be scared of it then.