Diablo 4 Marks A Return To A Darker Atmosphere For The Franchise As Blizzard Highlights Storytelling

Diablo 4 Marks A Return To A Darker Atmosphere For The Franchise As Blizzard Highlights Storytelling
Credit: YouTube via IGN

Long-time fans of the Diablo franchise are well-acquainted with the darker tone that the franchise tends to take. This makes sense, of course – one can hardly write a conflict based around warring armies of Hell and Heaven and those stuck in between with a light tone.

But those that have played Diablo 2 know that the game took dark storytelling to a new height. Complimented with twisted storylines, ghoulish opponents, and despondent atmospheres, the game’s difficulty lent great weight to the darker tone.

One of the greatest complaints of Diablo 3 has been that the game took massive departures from the rest of the franchise. While certainly not an uplifting title, the game still took a considerable step away from the previous darkness of other titles.

A good reason for this is primarily the relative ease of the game compared to Diablo 1 and 2. Focused more on carving through an endless army of hundreds of demons at a time rather than a lengthy struggle against formidable opponents, the title failed to have the same intense impact.

Moving forward to Diablo 4, though, Blizzard discussed their desire to heighten the storytelling once again. Speaking in their quarterly update, the developers discussed conversations and cutscenes to help enhance the mood.

“In D3 we relied on UI panes with a character’s name and portrait,” Barriga stated. “We’re experimenting with a mix of tool-generated and manually choreographed cameras to tackle conversations.”

Complimenting this new experimentation is the camera moving into the NPCs during a discussion to show the characters actually talking instead of models staring at each other. This is accompanied by deliberately hand-crafted animations.

Additionally, the developers discuss moving to real-time cutscenes, wherein they manipulate the camera to treat the storytelling in a more movie-like way. This technique seems to be set to be reserved for the most important moments, such as major campaign quests.

Best of all, these sorts of cutscenes can be displayed at current resolution and graphics settings rather than needing to have anything special activated. This will help with immersion as the cutscenes appear to be more of a seamless transition.

Of course, there will still be some of the classic story cinematics that have been in place through the franchise, such as the between-act cinematic transitions to set the tone of the upcoming content. Blizzard’s cinematic team remains hard at work with some truly dark and twisted moments being set in the in-game cinematics that players will experience.