Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Hate Arount Diablo III's Artistic Direction

For years, Diablo fans have waited for any signs of a sequel to the amazing Diablo II. Proof that you cannot please everyone, now that we know the game officially exists, there are some "self-proclaimed" Diablo-fans that are complaining about the color-palette of the game. I'm serious...

There's an Online Petition with over 17,000 signatures already. Funny thing is that there are a few "counter" Petitions, such as this one.

The "complainers" claim that the artistic direction of the game is not faithful to the serie's

I am quite disturbed by this, as a Multimedia Designer, a gamer, and a Diablo fan. My first remark is that the game is still a "Work in Progress". Not a lot of people remember the pre-release screenshots of Diablo II in the desert... I do... It was very bright with saturated light/spell effects. In essence, the petition is for Blizzard to finish their unfinished game. Not very smart.

Think of this other thing: Have online-petitions ever changed anything? Uwe Boll anyone? Blizzard has a company/community Forums, they have various email addresses. It's not impossible to contact them. An online-petition is not the best way to be heard. It's one of the best way to get humiliated or ignored.

The thing that bothers me the most is they don't even stop and think of why there are brighter and more saturated colors. As a designer I know this fact: "Bright colors are your friend!" I'm not the only one that knows this. Pretty much any designer or artist with a basic color theory course knows this. Keith Lee, ex-Insomniac Games employee and currently the Lead Producer of Diablo III at Blizzard, was recently interviewed by Tracey John of MTv Multiplayer. My favorite quote of the whole interview is this:
“One of the things that we considered when we were working on the visuals for ‘Diablo III’ is the fact that color is your friend. We feel that color actually helps to create a lot of highlights in the game so that there is contrast. A great analogy is like in ‘Lord of the Rings’ — not everything is dark. It allows you to see what a creepy dungeon can be like but if everything is dark it doesn’t allow you to have a lot of contrast.”
The main claim of the petition is that they want the Diablo III Universe to be "Gothic", "Cryptic/shadowy dungeons". But if you think about the use of color and the application from a design point-of-view, you need contrast. Especially for the kind of gameplay Diablo offers. Devil May Cry is "gothic" and "shadowy", but still makes a good use of lighting and saturated color. It's a must-have if you want a playable game. Not everything needs to be dark and brown, just look at Lord of the Rings.

It makes no sense to me that with the very first screenshot ever released of the game that there are some people already complaining, especially with the number of years Diablo-fans had to wait for an announcement. Regardless of the humiliation or waste of energy the "petitioners" are going to face, I know one thing. Diablo III looks delicious (yes, delicious) and I will be buying the game on day-1.