By now everyone heard about the announcement of Diablo III, with good old Leon Boyarsky of Fallout fame as Lead World Designer. Comparisons between Diablo III and Fallout 3 were bound to happen, with NMA pointing to Solivagant’s blog at Destructoid with a passionate and controversial piece called How to make a proper Sequel:
And now we got D3. It looks the same as D2 and D1. Two orbs. Mouse clicking. Iconic classes. It looks gorgeous as well. Using the same isometric (sic) perspective. And from what I can see, people are lapping it up. People are loving it, me included. Why? Well I guess it’s reassuring to see a team that is made up of several different members from D2’s team (even though it’s still Blizzard) behind the steering wheel of this game, and how they managed to make the game be like what Diablo III SHOULD be like, in the hearts of fans and gamers in general.
All of this disturbs me. Why? Because I’m a fan of another franchise. One where action takes a sidestep into turn-based chaos, and dialog, options, different routes, take the center stage. A game whose setting was, and still is, unique.
You may know the series called Fallout. But what the gamewebs and the magazines and the boards are feeding you, isn’t what Fallout is. That’s a definition I’ll leave for the fans of the franchise, known throughout the net as the most rabid fans there are, “glittering gems of hatred” as one has called them.[…]
So what is it Bethesda? Do you think Blizzard doesn’t have the resources to pull of a Diablo III in full 3d mode, with a third person perspective? They tried something like that with StarCraft: Ghost, and when they realized it wasn’t working out, they abandoned that concept. Now we have StarCraft 2, completely recognizable as a true sequel to the first RTS gem, and Diablo 3 which is shaping up to be exactly what the fans were clamoring for.
Before Bethesda unleashed their screenshots and their trailer, I still held hope that they would create a new engine, and shower us with isometric turn based goodness. But I was wrong.
It would take Blizzard to show them how to do a proper sequel.
But now it’s too late.
On a different direction Fallout 3 producer Ashley Cheng is a bit disappointed about how Diablo III is being developed:
I must say I am disappointed that Blizzard has stayed on the conservative side in terms of design with their updates to Diablo and Starcraft. Diablo will be interesting since World of Warcraft has a lot of Diablo-like qualities. I have no doubt, however, that they will be incredibly fun, addictive and polished games.
Well Fallout 3 is the last in line of a series of games that have streamlined and tweaked a mold that comes from 1994, The Elder Scrolls: Arena. That’s pretty conservative too, at least in my eyes.
I think Jay Wilson sums a few important differences between Blizzard and Diablo III with Bethsoft’s game design philosophy on Fallout 3 in these comments transcribed by Joystiq:
Replayability revolves around randomness: random environments, items, encounters and — new to Diablo III — random adventures. Higher difficulty levels are also key to the series’ replayability. The epic heroes enable large scale combat, and are massively powerful classes in that they don’t just have powerful skills but also feel powerful, almost over-the-top, in their gameplay. With strong and unique archetypes, heroes have their own identities, and these hallmarks of Diablo II will be improved upon in III.
Approachability revolves around a design mantra of Blizzard’s, “if you can click a mouse you can play Diablo.” The familiar isometric gameplay is continued in III, and Jay mentioned that they didn’t consider other alternatives — “it’s Diablo.“ Gameplay is simple to learn, but deep, and the difficulty curve is smooth — Blizzard think they did this well in Diablo II and intend to keep it up