Press Tour: Interview with Leonard Boyarsky
Last week we had an opportunity to participate in the press tour at Blizzard's European headquarters. We were able to conduct an interview with Leonard Boyarsky, Senior World Deisnger working on Diablo III. Below you can find a transcript of the inteview about world of Sanctuary and what awaits the players in upcoming Reaper of Souls expansion.
How was the Reaper of Souls beta? Did anything change in particular due to players' feedback?
I'm trying to think for my stuff... I don't think anything really changed for the story and lore side as a result of the beta. Obviously we found a lot of bugs. Most of the changes were on the system side. I think a lot of stuff has changed over the course of beta in terms of our systems stuff, in terms of how we handle loot as well as spells and skills. That's pretty much was influx and was continuely getting better. I think it's in very good shape right now.
How hard was it to approach the game after players already defeated the Prime Evil, the greatest threat known to the world of Sanctuary, to show that there's something more, something sinister and dangerous for heroes to fight?
It was tough but I think that's why we doubled down with angel of death. If anyone is to be as scary as Diablo it's the angel of death. Luckily we thought about it before, while making Diablo III. That's always a challenge when creating a series of books or games. You know, at certain point you fight the ultimate evil and when you create a new installment, you have to fight extra-ultimate evil. But I'm really happy with how Malthael turned out. You can even argue that he is not... well he's definitely not a villain in his own mind. That's a difference between him and demons. Good character in fictions aren't evil in their own minds. I think it's really interesting to have a character who thinks that what's he's doing is right. For your hero it is completely wrong.
With Diablo III the perspective shifted from only demons being evil that people who live in the Sanctuary have to fear. Right now you are also showing that angels aren't good and mankind have to hope for the best being stuck between angels and demons.
That's the thing. That's where we were going with the series almost from day one. Even if they didn't realize it. In the end of the day I think that the mankind through the hero has realized that mankind has to get up from in-between angels and demons. Neither of them have any care for humans other than how they can use them and mankind to reach its' full potential and be truly free needs to get out from them completely. It's funny because they are called angels and we think that they are good. They are the opposite of demons but I'm not sure if that's necessary good. At least in terms what's good for mankind.
One of the things about Diablo, I believe that your character is truly a hero and he's doing his best for mankind agenda. I believe that your hero represents good and that angels represent self-serving good if that makes any sense. Except for Tyrael they don't even think beyond their struggle with Hell, which is what defines them. It's what turned Tyrael around. With your hero and Uldyssian, Tyrael saw that humans can make sacrifices for other humans and for the greater good, which is something that only humans have capacity for.
Tyrael is interesting character in this situation. In Diablo III he was just helping heroes against demons but in Reaper of Souls he's fighting against his brother. How will that impact his character, will he take this lightly when we defeat Malthael - if we do?
More interesting thing about Tyrael to me is that he talks a good game about believing in humans and thinking humans are the way of the future but I really still think that a lot of times when the hero does something really spectacular I still think that Tyrael is kind of blown away. I still believe he thinks that he is superior to human beings but I think he started to realize that that's not necessarily the case anymore. It was more like a philosophical thing to him at the beginning - like us liking dogs. Dogs are great, let's rescue them so they won't be tortured anymore and then they started doing some stuff that's really impressive to us. As far as Malthael thing... I think the big issue with Tyrael is that he has no idea, even with Imperius who is not a friend of humans, they have no idea what Malthael's planning to do with Black Soulstone. Everybody has a good guess because Evils are in there but none of them can accept the fact that Malthael would do anything like try to accept the Evils into himself. That's ridiculous. That goes against all of them stand for and what he's trying to accomplish. I think they wrestle a lot with that of what he's going to do with Soulstone. It gives a lot of depth to them as characters in game.
With so much revealed about world of Sanctuary, aren't you a little bit worried that there isn't much of a mystery to it, that all cards are revealed and it will be hard to create something new to surprise players in the future?
I don't think we're there yet. We've talked about some places in flavor texts of some legendary items that you haven't been to and we talked about lost civilizations. So there's always a lot of places we can go to on the map, but I think there's more to the story in terms of what's going to happen, what's the ultimate end to the sage of the humans, angels and demons. So I think there's still a lot of stuff to explore and some surprises that we can create for the players. How far that goes, how many iterations that takes I can't say at this time. We have a lot of stuff that we want to explore in Diablo III.
We have a fairly decent list of things that we really want to do, a lot of great ideas that didn't have a place in neither of those games. As of right now, we don't have shortage of ideas.
In one of the interviews Christ Metzen mentioned that it would be nice to explore the idea of redeeming Leah's soul. With Reaper of Souls expansion and focus still being on Black Soulstone, can we expect to see something related to Leah character in Reaper of Souls?
We really don't explore it all that much. It's more of a story of Diablo and Malthael and it didn't feel that there was a good place for it in the story. That's one of our things that we really want to address... Out basic understanding is that... I can't really say. We've talked about a bunch of different things and what we thought last week is probably different from what we are thinking this week, but yeah that's still on our list of things that we would like to explore.
In Reaper of Souls players can see a lot of new lore connected to Westmarch and its' history. Is it fun for you to expand on the lore using tools such as NPCs, lore objects and others?
Yes, that's really fun and that's where a lot of our creativity and enjoyment of making this game comes from the world design/quests is really exploring what drives these people what brought them to the places they are at right now and kind of showing the development of how people end up in certain situations. There is always supernatural aspect of angels and demons but we are trying to bring as much conflict into this human story. We are really always trying to find a good motivation for these guys and make them as real as possible.
In Reaper of Souls we also see epilogues for hero's companions. How did you approach creating them? Some of them might seem out of place, because world is in danger after Malthael's attack and you travel to Kingsport to help Lyndon.
Technically it's not Kingsport. Well what actually happens is that his brother got transferred from Kingsport to Westmarch...
What a coincidence.
Yeah. Well Kingsport and Westmarch probably look almost the same since they are part of one kingdom. I really like how those stories turned out, because it's up to you when you do them. It's not like we put them on main story arch when you are busy doing something else. Those characters that you hopefully got to know and to care about have their own thing. Lyndon for instance feels personally responsible for what happened to his brother. Now that his brother was transferred to Westmarch and everybody in Westmarch is getting killed, so beyond what the situation between him and his brother, Lyndon has to save him from dying to this carnage. So in a way it kind of reflects the main story. When you are walking around with the templar, one of his random comments is that he's upset because his order is based in Westmarch for the most part, but why they aren't there helping? Why are they not doing anything? It turns out they are busy doing some self-absorbing stuff as opposed to try working for the greater good, which really upsets him. So in a way it spins of the main story arch in a meaningful way.
For some people it might seem like a side thing, but I think that compared to other RPGs that seems to be a constant problem. I'm busy saving the world, I'm going to rescue this kid's dog, because I will get some money for it and experience points. You always have this feeling but I'm really happy with how this thing with followers turned out because they all tie into the main story and they have their reasons for happening during the main story. And I'm happy that we had a chance to explore them further because I really like these characters.
Crusader seems to be very different from typical paladin character archetype. He's not as serious as you would expect him to be.
We did that on purpose because we really wanted to play with the stereotype that you would expect. He is still that guy that fights for the right cause. He's seen a lot and the way he deals with all this death and destruction is with some dark humor. We already have enough dark and grim heroes so we felt that we wanted to have something different with the crusader.
In Reaper of Souls players will have a chance to learn a little bit more backstory about their characters. Can you say something about this?
We wanted to show some more of the history of your character but also to give your character a little bit more personal stake in the battle. Turns out that Malthael has these spirits from your past whether they are from your long-distance past like barbarian or they are relatively new like wizard's or the demon hunter's. He's torturing and using these souls for his own ends so it will hopefully will make you hate him that much more and want to free them and to put an end to his schemes. Main purpose was to add some depth because one of the hardest things to do in this game is to give player's class a lot more depth. We have the intros and additional lore but because we have twelve different versions with six classes and male/female in each class we can't put them in the full-blown rendered cinematics. It's a little tricky trying to really personalize or humanize your character classes.
Data publikacji : 02.03.2014
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