TE: Were there any classes or concepts - not just ranged classes - that never made it into the final idea, that you started work on but they just never jived with the game?
Christian: For the Demon Hunter, for example, we had a desert ranger at some point and it was awesome, it was really cool. It was an interesting take on the ranger, we didn't have that before. Like all our other classes, we tried to give it a little bit of a twist. One of the things with that was when we were doing the desert ranger, we found that stuff was getting a little bit clunky, we had a little too much cloth on him. And while it looks really cool, it also starts looking bulkier. And whenever we start seeing a class that looks really bulky, we start thinking short sword, or daggers, or fist weapons - stuff you can melee with. We wanted to strive to stay away from that. There have been other ideas that we had that were really, really cool that I think we're going to save.
Jason: We have a lot of stuff. If you think about the sweep of things that were in previous Diablo games and also what the world can sustain, you have all kinds of stuff - because we had bows, we had armor, we had spears, and we have all these things that we can break the toy box to draw from. Some of them we just have now in our back pockets for if we need them later.
TE: Looking at the reaction to the Demon Hunter, a lot of people are saying that she resembles Sylvanas from World of Warcraft. "Oh, that came out of WoW!" How much of the art - there is obviously a very definitive Blizzard style - how much is influenced by that overall company style and how much do you find yourself going back to D2 to scribble things out?
Christian: That's a very interesting question. As a company, we definitely have certain core philosophy when it comes to art direction and style that I think all of the different themes adhere to - StarCraft, World of Warcraft, as well as us. There are very good reasons for why we do those things, but they're usually very much gameplay related. We really make sure that things weave correctly, we like to push things a little bit more so that - you know, "What's better than a small sword? A really big one!" It just weaves better, it's more fun.
This is the core philosophy that we all try to adhere to. As far as Diablo goes, though, there's an interesting mix. We take the things from Diablo 2 that we really enjoyed, that we really thought were very successful. And we also try to mix it with things that we think makes for a better game in terms of just gameplay. And then you look at the merging of those two philosophies. We're very, very happy with how it looks right now, we've gotten really good feedback on it. Some of the comparisons with Sylvanas aren't necessarily justified because once you start seeing the class in action with some of the different armor sets, you'll see there's quite a difference between the two.
Jason: It should be noted that the inspiration comes from - not just D2 and not just other Blizzard art styles, but we look at Van Helsing or something like that. We look at Batman. We look at comics, cinema. I brought in a DVD to show the artists for particular things - just about the environment. We've been looking at Legend, actually, at one point. There's some really interesting, crazy art. I don't know if anybody remembers that movie, but it's got a very cool rendition of a demon in it. There's some environments that we liked.
I'll go on Google and I'll be like "I know I saw this cool armor with this cool character" and I'll take that image and send it to one of our artists and go "See that? This is so inspiring." And they can interpret that into something that works for us. We draw our inspiration from the same place that we think our fans do, which is all culture.