Blizzard has released its first quarterly update of 2022 on the status of work on Diablo 4, revealing many new details about regions, dungeons and how the team has brought the game’s environments to life, using objects, lighting, interactive elements and more. For the occasion, several gameplay clips were shared showing various locations in the game, which you can find all in the clip below.
According to the information shared by the Blizzard team, in Diablo 4 there will be 5 regions to explore and over 150 dungeons, all made in a style defined as a “return to darkness”, embodying “the idea that Sanctuarium is a dangerous place, a dark gothic-medieval world”.
“We approach the creation of Diablo IV’s environments from a darker, less positive interpretation than previous titles,” explains Chris Ryder, art director of Diablo 4’s environments. “The goal is believability, not realism. The believability comes from the use of materials and the deliberate construction of architecture and artifacts that you’ll encounter throughout the game in expeditions and the explorable world. In addition, regional weather conditions, diverse local biomes, and a sense of history lay the groundwork for how an object or place should look graphically in a medieval world like Sanctuarium.”
The other watchword in the creation of game environments is the “old masters,” or learning from classic artists how to compose striking and unique imagery.
“The ‘old masters’ pillar gives us a lens with which to filter our work, taking into account the techniques used by great classical artists like Rembrandt, who control the level of detail and tone range, and also expertly exploit color palettes,” Ryder says.
Diablo 4’s various areas will feature variations in lighting and weather conditions, such as fog and rain, and will be enhanced with dynamic objects.
For example, “much of the elements in the Scosglen Coast are interactive,” explains Chaz Head, art director of Diablo 4’s environments. “The boats that move with the waves, the fishermen’s nets hanging out to dry in the marketplace. Our main goal here is to give a sense of life to the architecture and terrain. The cultural elements help give tangibility and real credibility to the world of Diablo.”
In Diablo 4’s March 2022 update, the team’s approach to crafting the game’s dungeons is also delved into. Considering that there will be more than 150 at the game’s launch, the team needed a fairly flexible approach to achieve optimal quality/quantity.
“In order to support more than 150 expeditions, we had to change the way we create environment art so that it was versatile enough to be used in multiple locations and not just one expedition,” explains Blizzard’s Brain Fletcher. “We broke it down into what we call map pieces. We’d like to show you some of the map pieces and some of the ways we have to mix them together with elements, interactive elements and lighting to create varied expeditions that are handmade and yet procedurally created.”