Diablo IV Developer Update 2022 Showcases Stunning Environments
In a new Diablo IV developer update on Blizzard’s website, we get a closer look at the game’s environments. The post includes several videos of different areas in the game, from wild outdoor landscapes to dank ancient dungeons. There is still no set release date. But this Diablo IV developer update offers plenty of promise for players eagerly awaiting its launch.
In the update, you hear from:
- Associate Art Director, Environments, Brian Fletcher
- Associate Lighting Director, Ben Hutchings
- Lead Exterior Environment Artist, Matt McDaid
- Lead Props and Interactives Artist, Chaz Head
The quartet discuss how they went about approaching each of Diablo IV’s five distinct areas. They all come together to create the game’s beautiful environment art.
We’ve included a piece of the Diablo IV development update below, but you can read the entire post here. And you should because the video previews they showcase are pleasing to the eyes to say the least.
Diablo IV Developer Update Excerpt
We approach creating the environments of Diablo IV through a darker and more grounded interpretation than earlier installments. The aim is for believability, not realism.
Believability comes through our use of materials and deliberate construction of architecture and artifacts you will come across as you play through dungeons and the open world. In addition, regional weather conditions, varied local biomes, and a sense of history set the foundation of how an object or place should look visually in a medieval world like Sanctuary.
After all, Sanctuary is full of history, struggle, and conflict, giving us many opportunities to depict a diverse world full of compelling locations in a dark gothic-medieval setting. Even the wealthiest areas in Sanctuary are challenging to exist in.
Leaning into these characteristics adds to the richness of the world.
It gives us a springboard to elaborate on the space visually, giving it a sense of identity we can lock onto and build around.
The atmosphere is almost tangible in places, with weather and lighting play a more prominent visual role in Diablo IV. When it rains, surfaces get wet, puddles form in ruts and hoof prints, the ground feels muddy, the atmosphere is heavy and damp.
Contrast that by making your way into a hazy fire-lit tavern that instantly contrasts with the atmosphere outside, a rare place of refuge and warmth. We want to take you on a journey, hinting at a location’s past or recent events.
The satisfying part of our work is developing and jamming on a location’s unique visual story, pushing and pulling the art until it becomes an iconic backdrop for combat, exploration finally screams Diablo.
Diablo IV’s art is built with modern techniques and utilizes physically-based lighting.
As we handcraft locations across the Eastern Continent, we are mindful of our approach to support combat, navigation, narrative intent, and stylistic direction.
To accomplish this, we filter concepts, locations, and final implementation through the dual pillars of “old masters” and “a return to darkness.” Using these pillars has been instrumental in keeping us consistent and aligned with the visual tone of Diablo IV.
The “old masters” pillar gives us a lens to filter our art through, considering the techniques classical painters like Rembrandt used, with their controlled use of detail, tonal range, and expert use of color palettes.
The “return to darkness” pillar is a through-line in everything from dungeons to lighting and embodies the idea that Sanctuary is a dangerous and dark medieval gothic world.
Additionally, we play to the iconic Diablo game camera, choosing where to add or remove detail to help the readability of the gameplay space or accentuate visual interest as needed.
It is a balancing act that results in a handcrafted look with a distinct visual style that expands on the lineage of Diablo.
In a Nutshell
The environments look stunning in Diablo IV. From the untamed, wild shorelines of the Scosglen coast to the ancient forgotten places of the world. Each one feels distinct but they’re clearly Diablo environments, as evil would feel right at home in all of them.
The artists have done a fantastic job of bringing each biome to life. The video previews included in the update are rich in detail and depth. They gave me a better idea of what to expect visually from the game.
As I mentioned, there is still no news about a release date. Hopefully we’ll get one soon. In the meantime, be sure to check out the full blog post for more information on the game’s development.
How do you feel about Diablo IV? Are your expectations high or low after the last few years? Comment below and let me know, I’d love to hear from you!
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