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history of diablo book - Stay Awhile and Listen

NadiaNadia Topsham, MainePosts: 11,866Member Uncommon


book review - goto link for full review

For somebody who played a lot of the early Blizzard games, I was still surprised by a lot of the information in this book.

I remember years ago firing up Diablo and seeing the Blizzard North logo. I wondered what made that group different from the "normal" Blizzard developers. It's easy to look at a company and assume uniform identity or uniform goals, but Stay Awhile and Listen makes clear that Blizzard Entertainment and Blizzard North were two fundamentally different studios that had their own ways of doing things, and strong opinions about how their games should work. Fortunately for them (and for us), the biggest thing they had in common was a real love for gaming, and for making the best game they could. This let them work well together despite their frequent and contentious debates.

Getting a look into the development of Diablo and Warcraft was interesting as well. Usually, when we think about design decisions, we imagine the developers debating the finer points of the finished product. (Do we let players use a rail gun or a rocket launcher? Is our last class a Paladin or a Mage?) So, learning that some of the most basic aspects of these games were almost very different was fascinating and perplexing. For example, Dave Brevik conceived of Diablo as a graphical interpretation of the text-based dungeon crawlers of the 80s. These games were largely turn-based — and so was the earliest incarnation of Diablo. Looking back on it now, it's jarring to think of Diablo as a turn-based game. It's like finding out that Looney Tunes was almost stop-motion animated, or that pizza was almost salad. Stay Awhile and Listen provides perspectives on the game's transition, and a fascinating description of how, once the decision was made, Brevik sat down and hammered out the code necessary to turn the game into the Diablo we now.

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