Since it’s becoming increasingly clear that Vicarious Visions is happy with the current D2R character design, I wanted to provide some more information and explain the background of the original character design. In particular, I want to focus on the class whose redesign is probably the most questionable – Amazon.
One of the best public sources of information on the development of Diablo 2 is a fantastic book called Stay Awhile and Listen by David L. Craddock. Stay a while and listen. David gathered the material for his book by interviewing dozens of Blizzard North developers over several years. Chapter 8 of Book 2 describes how the Amazon class was originally designed. First, Amazon was actually the first course the team decided to take.
For several months, the team stopped at five classes. Amazon was the first. The character team decided to work on the hot girl first, and they did, says David Brevik.
Amazon has actually gone through two very different iterations. First consideration
wildly different, shares with the final design an important feature: Sex appeal.
Chris Renkiewicz, the original Amazon illustrator, depicted a tall, ugly woman with suspenders running down her arms, boots made of animal fur, and mummy-like belts that covered her most private parts and exposed most of her body. His hair was short and spiky, his face dark and wild. I created the character to be, well, like an Amazon. She was a huge girl. His helmet looked different, his armor looked different, his weapons looked strange. It wasn’t just a girl with a ponytail and in leather, Chris added, referring to the completed hero profile.
The Amazon that most people know and love was actually created by a completely different artist, Phil Schenk. Phil was a new employee at the time and the redesign of Amazon was one of the first projects he started working on and a chance for him to prove himself on the team.
After Phil picked up the latest prototype of Diablo II, excitement gave way. What really set it apart was Amazon. She moved with slow, floating motions, as if wading through water, and it was too creepy for Phil’s taste. Using 3D Studio Max, he transformed the heroine into a sex bomb: tall, fierce, and powerful, with long golden hair in a ponytail and a shapely chest and figure that highlighted her leather armor. When the other boys praised his plan, Phil heaved a sigh of relief.
Amazon’s sex appeal was one of the defining features of Blizzard North’s vision for the game, which has persisted through iterations. While VV definitely got the high, wild and powerful part right, they completely missed the mark for everything else.
You may think I’m exaggerating, but remember that Amazon’s design is just one example. The alpha is laced with subtle changes to limit not only sexual content, but controversial content in general. An example of this material is the religious symbolism that was once a staple of Diablo. Understood
The replacement of the Christian cross on the paladin’s sacred shield with a blurrier icon, and the removal of the iconic animated pentagrams from the game’s pause menu.
I think it’s the vision of North that makes Diablo 2, well, Diablo 2, and to change it to suit modern sensibilities and avoid controversy is to change Diablo 2 into something else. Ultimately, I think one of the main goals of Resurrection is to bring back the old fans after the controversies of the last few years, and I think the best way to do that is to stay as close to the original vision as possible.
Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.
2020 will satisfy both classic and modern players. To be on the list, the game must be confirmed for 2020, or there must be a compelling reason for it to be released that year. Upcoming games that are only announced and do not have a major release date are therefore not eligible.
By 2020, there will be a ton of… in the world of video games. Here are fifteen games to look forward to in the first half of 2020.
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