– Gamescom 2013 – Exclusive Interview with Diablo III: Reaper of Souls’ Game Director & Art Director

During the Gamescom our team sat down with Josh Mosqueira (Game Director) and Christian Lichtner (Art Director) to talk about the recently announced expansion for Diablo III: Reaper of Souls.

In this new chapter Malthael, the fallen Archangel of Wisdom, returns as the Angel of Death and seizes the Black Soulstone, which contains the essence of the Prime Evil. It now falls to the players to track down Malthael and stop him before he unleashes irreversible havoc on the world.

This expansion is going to have a greater emphasis on randomized environments to explore, new epic quests, new monsters and substantial updates to the loot experience, which will enable players to customize their characters with the new multilevel Legendary items, and new Blacksmith and Jeweler item-crafting options among other many innovations.

In addition, Reaper of Souls introduces a new hero: the Crusader. Crusaders are warriors of righteousness who have been hardened through relentless, brutal combat with the foul evils plaguing eastern Sanctuary. In addition to wearing immensely heavy armor and wielding a wide range of cruel and punishing weapons, this new playable class in Reaper of Souls uses battle magic to strengthen allies and weaken foes.

And below you can read the transcript of the interview.

Josh: Im Josh Mosqueira, the Game Director of Reaper of Souls.

Christian: My names Christian Lichtner, I’m the Art Director for Reaper of Souls.

What about PVP?

Josh: Oh see we can’t give everything out at once, because then people would ask for more! No we’re really happy to just unveil Reaper Souls and introduce a new class and the new Act. For PvP we don’t have any further announcements, except that it’s a question we’re constant asking ourselves, we really want to find the right way, the right mode to express a PvP mode in Diablo.

So there are plans?

Josh: There are experimentations right now, and we hope one of them will eventually bear fruit and hope everybody will be happy with the answer, but until then it’s just experiments.

What are loot runs?

Josh: So loot runs are one of the new features we’re adding for what we call end game for everyone, again we want to give players as many different options when it comes to playing Diablo 3 after they have beaten the story, and one of these is loot runs. Loots Runs are a fifteen to twenty minute dungeon that is fully randomized, everything about it; the layout, the lighting, the weather, the monsters, the bosses at the end. Essentially you start at level one, you’re gonna do a couple of levels, gonna fight the boss and walk away with some pretty cool loot. So it’s a condensed version of Diablo that everybody can play and enjoy.

Christian: It’s really fun because what ends up happening is you encounter monsters and bosses in areas you never played in before. It mixes things up quite a bit because different layouts affect how you play the game or how you fight monsters and obviously different monsters as well, so that’s very exciting for us.

What’s the inspiration for the Crusader?

Josh: It comes from two places, at least from the gameplay side of things, one is that for a game like Diablo; a dark, gothic, medieval roleplaying game, it just made sense to have a class that was all about big armour, big shields, the flails, so we really started there that it’s one of the archetypes that is missing from our family of classes. Then we also saw an opportunity to link the Crusader to the Paladin, so that we have a sort of nod to the past, whilst at the same time also allowing us the freedom to come up with really cool skills that really allow players to experience short range and mid-range combat at the same time.

Does the Paragon System have limitations?

Josh: So, really good question. Yes the Paragon system is account wide, there is no level cap anymore in Paragon, every time you level up you’re gonna be getting a Paragon point that you can spend for each of your classes, and that will allow you to spend points to increase your statistics; your strength and your vitality. We’re in the process of fine tuning that system and there will be a theoretical cap as to how many Paragon points you can invest in a single category so we’re trying to find the right number for that. We have four categories with anywhere from four to six sub-items in each category, so there are a lot of different places you can be putting points.

Can we expect a new secret level?

Josh: Well it wouldn’t be very secret if we told you about it! So you know what we’re gonna say? Yes.

Is Malthael really a villain?

Christian: Well let me say a little bit about that. I think for us the best villains or the best “bad guys” are the guys that are not so clearly defined. You can see it from their point of view and you sort of understand what their motivations are. At the same time their actions maybe are questionable, and that makes for the best villains. Darth Vader is a great villain, right, because I feel those elements are present and I think in that regard we really try to make sure those kind of things are delivered on that level.

Josh: Yeh I will say, so is Malthael a good or bad guy? What I really like about Malthael, so first he’s a fallen angel, “can angels go bad?” is a really fun question to wrestle with. I think what really drives a lot of the drama of his actives is that he thinks he is right, to him to end the eternal conflict means he needs to destroy all traces of demons even if that means killing every single human being on Earth. I think it’s what they say: “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” I think Malthael is a good example of that.

What can you tell us about the new skills for the old classes?

Josh: We’re still sort of tweaking and trying to pick our favourites, cause one of the best thing about working on a game Diablo is that we have a lot of really smart people and really creative people so we come up with a lot of ideas and it’s a process of narrowing it down and picking the ones that make a lot of sense. So right now we haven’t really settled on any of them that we can really announce, but what we’re trying to do for all the existing classes is to look at the skills that we shipped originally and which skills aren’t being used a lot and try to figure out how we can make them more useful, and then try to pinpoint a few skills that really help us make that class more different and special in its own way.

How long will it take to complete the new Act?

Josh: So right now we’re introducing a new class so you’ll be able to play from Act 1 all the way to Act 5 in like twenty four to thirty hours, but Act 5 specifically is a very randomized play through so sometimes it’ll be a little longer or a little shorter, but we’re aiming for something along the length of Act 2 and again the real longevity of Reaper Souls will come in with all the end game options that we’ll talk about shortly.

What do you think about the new expansion?

Josh: You know I think it’s been a really fun day and I think Reaper Souls, with the new class, the new Act and all the new changes we’ve done to loot, is a really great new chapter for Diablo. But for me the thing I love is that promise that there’s the hero that I know that wouldn’t try to stop death, so at the heart of it yes it’s a dark and more gothic chapter, but the player has something worthy to strive for and it’s just a really cool fantasy.

Anything else to say?

Josh: I hope you guys liked what you saw today with the announcement and we’re really excited and in some ways it feels like a great new chapter for Diablo.

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