After a decade of desperation, the prayers and ritual sacrifices of Diablo fans have been answered with the announcement of Diablo III. But with an eye to the past, not everybodyâ€™s happy about Diabloâ€™s future. Hereâ€™s what we know – and what we think – about Blizzardâ€™s next (best?) thing.
What we know: Diablo III is powered by a proprietary new 3D engine (with no catchy name as of yet), and the first screens and game footage offer a taste of what itâ€™s been built to do. The worldâ€™s depth is immediately apparent: for instance, instead of simply spawning offscreen, ghouls scramble up the walls from the unseen depths of the Forgotten Tombs, only to fall off bridges back into the mist when theyâ€™re killed.
And yet, even though the objects are built in a 3D space, many of the elements look painted, particularly in the autumnal Leoric Highlands. Ankle-deep water, hazy rain, fog, smoke, and swaying grass are all benefits of the modern tech beneath the gameplay – not to mention the splattery hunks of meat and gore that come from dispatched enemies. Diablo III will support both DirectX 9 and 10, so if you havenâ€™t upgraded your rig in a year or two, youâ€™re not completely sunk.
What we think: Diablo in 3D? Itâ€™s not heresy – itâ€™s about time! Or rather, itâ€™s about every game being a product of its time. Diablo II made excellent use of 2D graphics, but thatâ€™s because it came out eight years ago