The Diablo 4 reveal had a big focus on the game going back to its roots, looking into its past, pulling inspiration from its own works, dissecting the back catalog, and pulling out all the vital organs for a transplant.
Developers at Blizzard really want to focus on the horror elements this time around, hence the grotesque and visually striking Diablo 4 announcement trailer, in which a demon woman burst through a curtain of blood before hanging it from her shoulders like a magnificent macabre cape.
“The developers on the team enjoy Diablo 2 the most and what really resonates with us is that dark element, the dark factor,” lead artist Matt McDaid explained to me at BlizzCon. “We consider it the true Diablo, and we want to hit those tones again.”
There’s only so much progress you can make by looking into your past and refecting, though. You sometimes need a new spark, an inspiration, and outside influences. To get a more grounded feel to the world, many of the locations are inspired by our own world. When it comes to the stories and more fantastical elements, Blizzard is looking toward anime with reverent eyes.
“Junji Ito and some of the elements he brings in, kind of taking mundane things and twisting them, creating horror elements within that – then there’s the Cthulhu mythos and some of the horror elements there, especially the fear of the unknown,” lead quest designer Jason Roberts said.
Ito is a man who managed to make fish scary, creating a story where they’re being mind-controlled by a sentient bacteria. He also has a thing for triggering people’s trypophobia so expect some disgusting enemy designs in Diablo 4 to match that inspiration.
Currently without a release date, Diablo 4 will be released on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.