“No one will remember if the game is late”, says Diablo 3 Director

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How long is too long, for a video game to be in development? If you’re a diehard Blizzard Entertainment fan, any period of waiting must be more painful than standing in line at the traffic department.

Diablo 3 is finally coming out this year, after quite a few years in development, and enthusiasts of demon-killing and level-grinding couldn’t be happier. Of course, a set date is still a tricky issue, and there is always the possibility that a few slight delays could creep in before release, but thats not something that the developers of Blizzard are too concerned about.

“While working on Diablo III we’ve been called out for messing around with systems too much, that the game is good as-is and we should just release it,” director Jay Wilson wrote in a post on the Diablo III blog.

I think that’s a fair argument to make, but I also think it’s incorrect. Our job isn’t just to put out a game, it’s to release the next Diablo game. No one will remember if the game is late, only if it’s great. We trust in our ability to put out a great game, but we’re not quite there yet. In addition to finishing and polishing the content of the game we’re continuing to iterate on some of the core game systems.

Speaking about the current tweaks and modifications done to the game, Wilson spoke about the removal of the Mystic character, an in-game person who could customize items and weapons with an “Enhancement” skill.

As we look at the big picture, the Mystic simply wasn’t adding anything to our customization system”, Wilson said. Enhancement was really just the socket and gem system with a different name, and it would prolong the release of the game even further to go back to the drawing board and differentiate it, so we’ll revisit the Mystic and enhancements at a later time.

We hope she’ll be able to join your caravan in the future, but for now we’re going to focus on the extensive customization options the game already offers.

Meanwhile, the Blacksmith has seen an upgrade, into a character that can now salvage items, while the Cauldron of Jordan and Nephalem Cube has been dropped, with the option to rather return to town quicker with a stone of recall being favoured, instead of drop and go salvaging skills.

“We found that keeping the Cauldron and Cube in the game detracted from the benefits of returning to town to sell items, salvage, craft, and interact with the townsfolk” Wilson said. “It’s a good idea to break up combat so that players have a moment to evaluate their gear and crafting options before venturing back out”.

“In addition, we’ve decided to just call it what it is and the Stone of Recall is now Town Portal, and is integrated directly onto the skill bar UI.” As for item identification scrolls, Blizzard has confirmed that they have also been excluded from the game, but that players will instead have an innate skill in figuring out which magical item is which instead.

I’m excited for Diablo 3 to finally roll around this year, but I’m personally more keen for a console version to pop up as well. Whatever the platform though, I’m confident that the end product will be worth all the waiting.

Last Updated: January 20, 2012

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