Diablo Immortal is the latest game in the Diablo franchise. We were able to participate in an interview with the developers. Here is the whole of it.
After several months of closed beta and early access, Diablo Immortal was released on June 1, 2022 on mobile. On the occasion of the release, we were able to discuss a multitude of topics with the developers.
Scott Burges (Senior Game Designer) and Hunter Schultz (Lead Artist) shared their thoughts on PvP, new content, adaptation on mobile and PC and more! If you want a simplified version, we have written a summary.
Disclaimer: This interview was done before the game was released.
Full interview for Diablo Immortal by Scott Burges and Hunter Schultz
Why did you change your mind and bring the game to PC?
Scott Burges (Senior Game Designer): “ After the first release we received a lot of feedback from players wanting to play the game on PC and internally we started to feel the same, we were playing more and more on PC and we realized that it would work very well. This is what led us to understand that gamers are going to be playing on PC no matter what. So instead of forcing them to download emulators, we preferred to make an official version that players can download from Battle.net so that we have a polished version. »
What had to be changed to fit the PC port?
Scott Burges (Senior Game Designer): “ The game is designed first for mobile so to convert it we needed to change the size of the interface and also functions for mouse and keyboard. These were the two biggest challenges we had during the conversion, for the rest everything is going well. »
Ready to make other changes if the community asks?
Scott Burges (Senior Game Designer): “ We will always have our ears open to the community and we will adapt if we think the changes requested are the right ones, but we have good ideas for content for the future so we will focus on that for now. »
Why a beta for the PC?
Scott Burges (Senior Game Designer): “ The PC port is something we put together quite late in development so there will be some things that still need work. We want to make sure players are aware that this version isn’t final so they can give us feedback on potential issues. »
How to succeed in adapting a Diablo game, with a lot of animations and effects, on smaller screens?
Hunter Schultz (Lead Artist): “ That’s the biggest challenge we have on the art side. Most important is readability and clarity. These are the points that we emphasized the most from the beginning of the creation of the game. Everything in the game must be designed keeping in mind that everything is quite small, whether at the level of the models, the characters, to be able to understand what we see, to appreciate what we see but also for the readability of the game design. If we had made high frequency models with a lot of details by multiplying the players, it would look like nothing. You’re right, it’s a major challenge, but we considered it from the start and I think we did a good job. »
Scott Burges (Senior Game Designer): “ To add to what has been said, in a lot of mobile games when you have PvP it’s a mess of effects. In Diablo Immortal, even if there are many players on the screen, we can read what is happening, understand where we are and where the enemies are. »
Speaking of PvP, it’s always been a tough topic on Diablo, with the game making PvP balancing difficult. How did you make PvP a major feature of Diablo Immortal?
Scott Burges (Senior Game Designer): “ You’re right, having a lot of damage on everyone makes PvP complicated. To overcome this, we will avoid PvP in 1 vs 1. All PvP systems will be in teams. The statistics are roughly evenly distributed. When you play you will play with people who are roughly your level and the stats will be normalized to a minimum. So we feel efficient in PvP even if we are a little below in terms of stats.
Will we have a ranking system for PvP?
Scott Burges (Senior Game Designer): “ The main interest of the game is this Diablo experience, farming objects, recovering better equipment, increasing the paragon level. But we have the battlefields, everyone can participate, and in addition we have the Cycle of Conflict with PvP inside in addition to PvE. Yes, there is a ranking system in Battlegrounds. »
How did you learn the Diablo 3 legendaries and sets system to create the Diablo Immortal system?
Scott Burges (Senior Game Designer): “ We wanted the legendaries to be easy to understand for casual players. For the sets, we didn’t want the sets to become the only objective to achieve like on Diablo 3 and rather encourage players to build with the legendaries they find. We still wanted to have sets but we placed them on the secondary objects, so you can get them to be more effective in combat. »
Players are usually Nephalems in Diablo games, how do we make our angelic and demonic heritage feel better?
Scott Burges (Senior Game Designer): “ In Diablo Immortal, players will not be Nephalems but humans who face challenges like in Diablo 2. However to accentuate the demonic and angelic legacies, the main villain of Diablo Immortal wants to remove the angelic side of humans so that they join the demons. »
Hunter Schultz (Lead Artist): “ I really appreciate this dichotomy between angels, demons and nephalems in Diablo and it’s a theme we talk about a lot in Diablo Immortal. If that’s something you enjoy, Diablo Immortal’s story is for you. »
How to write the story of Diablo Immortal without rewriting Diablo 3?
Scott Burges (Senior Game Designer): “ It’s a challenge, a challenge we enjoy on the narrative team. Writing with constraints is something that stimulates us and allows us to find new ways to make everything work. We have characters like Deckard Cain returning, a community favorite. He is going to have adventures with the player character but we must not forget what he will become in Diablo 3. It is a particularly difficult challenge but it is very fun to find solutions to this problem. You have to create new situations while being careful that it is aligned with the past and the future. »
Hunter Schultz (Lead Artist): “ The context is really important, in Diablo 3 we see areas that are in a certain state. Going to these areas before Diablo 3 allows you to watch these areas and the changes they have undergone. Many areas but also characters have undergone many changes and you can see them at the beginning of these. »
What was your main direction in terms of art during development?
Hunter Schultz (Lead Artist): “ Any design idea must germinate from a questioning of readability. Otherwise, what’s the point of doing something badass if you can’t figure out what’s going on or even see it? The connection with Diablo 3 comes from there, we didn’t leave thinking “we want Diablo Immortal to look like this or that”, it just happens that it was the most efficient way to create a playable game. In terms of design, we did our best to stay true to the Diablo style while occasionally venturing into new territory. If you always do the same thing over and over again, that’s of no interest as a creator. We try to find a balance between respecting the franchise but also discovering new designs. A good example are cosmetics. They were created with a little more relaxed approach, we still want them to belong to Sanctuary and the world of Diablo but we wanted to allow for a little more roleplay, not just being as badass as possible with ghostly appearances , gladiator appearances etc. We spent a lot of time creating cosmetics. »
How do you unlock cosmetics?
Scott Burges (Senior Game Designer): “ The vast majority of cosmetics will either be picked up from the upgraded battle pass or purchased from the store. There is also a set for the Immortals, one of the game’s factions. If you climb the ranks of the Immortals you can pick up some nice armor. »
What is the cadence of the patches? Will we have extensions?
Scott Burges (Senior Game Designer): “ The idea is to constantly have new content. So we are going to have a new raid boss almost every month and new dungeons or new areas every 3 months which will allow us to continue to create content but also the story around the shards of the stone world . »
Hunter Schultz (Lead Artist): “ A lot of people see the game as a launch and then the dev team goes on vacation. We are planning a lot of content for the sequel, we are still in the development phase creating new content. The new zones, dungeons and others are going to be even better than what we already have, players are going to like it. »
Will Diablo Immortal have new classes?
Scott Burges (Senior Game Designer): “ We plan to release a new class by a little ready. We discussed the options a lot, I can’t go into details but it’s very cool. »
Are you going to do classes that we haven’t seen before in the Diablo franchise?
Scott Burges (Senior Game Designer): “ We are exploring a lot of options but I can’t say much more. »
Hunter Schultz (Lead Artist): “ Before releasing a new class, we look at all the classes in the Diablo franchise. We don’t want to make duplicates, which doesn’t mean we won’t release classes you already know, but each new class must serve a specific role in terms of gameplay, role, story and also level. visual design. We explore a lot of things. »
Are you planning more accessibility options?
Scott Burges (Senior Game Designer): “ We’ll see what we can add in terms of accessibility. An example is the option of a color blind mode which is something that is very present in our mind. »
Will the interface one day be customizable?
Hunter Schultz (Lead Artist): “ So far no but it’s something we keep on our radar. »
A console port planned?
Scott Burges (Senior Game Designer): “ At this time we have no plans for a console port. I’m not saying yes, I’m not saying no, it’s just not in the plans at the moment. We must take care of stabilizing the PC version and the mobile versions. »
Hunter Schultz (Lead Artist): “ A few years ago it was said that the game would not be released on PC and look where we are now! »
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Blizzard Interview for Diablo Immortal with Scott Burges and Hunter Schultz
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