‘Diablo IV’ art style inspired by some surprising painters including American master landscape designers

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Diablo IV wants to “embrace the darkness” of the series, developer Blizzard said during the game’s unveiling at the November BlizzCon convention in Anaheim, Calif. But at the same time Diablo IV promises to be as bloody and burnt as the fan favorite entry Diablo II, it is also surprisingly inspired by certain unexpected artistic traditions.

In a high-profile interview with Gamasutra, Diablo IV Senior Systems Designer David Kim and Senior Lighting Designer Sean Murphy described the aesthetic principles behind the game, which hark back both to previous entries in the series and, oddly enough, to American landscape painters.

Impressive landscapes are at the heart of the “Diablo IV” experience.
Blizzard Entertainment

“We want to make a medieval masterpiece,” Murphy told Gamasutra. “It’s a very classic pictorial approach with naturalistic colors. You watch Rembrandt, you watch Remington’s nocturnes. There are natural color palettes and tonalists like George Inness, who are very grayscale.”

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Frederic Remington’s approach to capturing nighttime scenes influenced the way “Diablo IV” approaches the dark aesthetic of the series.
national gallery

Although none of the painters named by Murphy are medieval, they share a mastery of lighting and color. But the inclusion of Frederic Remington, whose famous paintings of the American Southwest defined the Western aesthetic, and George Inness, who captured the scope and subjective feel of wide-open landscapes, suggests Diablo IV also has particular ambitions for its more open world.

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“The Home of the Heron” from 1893 illustrates the style of George Inness, which is neither totally realistic nor impressionistic.
Google Cultural Institute

“We try to take the big parts of each of the previous ones Diablos and bring it to Diablo IV, and bring in elements from other types of games as well, ”Kim told Gamasutra.

“A lot of us are really drawn to the Diablo II aesthetic, and the experience more grounded and visceral, ”added Murphy. “We are trying to do [Diablo‘s primary setting] Real sanctuary. “

So far, only three character classes for Diablo IV were announced: the barbarian, the witch and the druid. But while many player abilities and other game attributes are inspired by similar elements from previous entries, in particular Diablo II, first released in 2000, the focus is also on extending this Diablo perhaps, by expanding the possible playstyles that adventurers may choose to develop. New features in the series include a revised skill point system and talent tree, which encourage more control over the way players play.

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The three characters announced for “Diablo IV” so far.
Blizzard Entertainment

But one of the biggest changes to come Diablo IV is its unified world, which replaces narrow levels with large areas, or what Murphy described as a “continuous vibe of areas large enough to pass through.”

When reconsidering the Diablo aesthetics of this larger perspective – creating expansive and visually cohesive environments – the influence of Remington and Inness becomes more apparent. But there is still a long wait to discover the most pictorial Diablo aesthetic for ourselves, since Diablo IV does not yet have an official release date.

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