Bill Roper Shares Diablo III Thoughts

1UP cut a great World-Exclusive interview with Bill Roper, former Blizzard North Executive & Spokesman that we all love. In this 8-shocking pages interview he faces the fans for first time after the Flagship Studios crisis with the facts behind the dissolution of the game studios; and the fate of the Hellgate: London and Mythos IPs. We get to see the other side of the coin after Handbisoft's claims that they had presented various offers which were rejected. Not everything was as colorful as Hanbitsoft painted it [And by Hanbitsoft, I mean T3].

This is a Diablo III fansite, so I am gonna try to stick to that. Below you have a couple of quotes from the interview. You can read other comments made by Bill Roper concerning the Diablo III art direction through page four and five. His opinion on Diablo III is very valuable. Personally, myself and all the crew (and fans) wish Bill Roper the best in the immediate present and future. I know these are very hard times. I held one of the first, if not the first, Hellgate: London fan site interviews with Bill Roper on August 27, 2005. And, prior to that, was surprised to get emailed by him for other personal matters. I have always been a fan of him and his work. As such, it pains me as much and as close as it would a brother.
GFW: Have you thought about how you would feel if they get some team together and actually somehow cobble it into a game? Are you going to have mixed feelings -- like you're glad that somebody was finally able to put this baby out -- or do you wish that it just got killed with you guys?

BR: I think what I would really want to see is that there was some way where Travis [Baldree] and his guys were able to finish their game. It's pretty different from, for example, how I feel about the Diablo III stuff. I'm excited to see Diablo III, because it's a whole new thing. They've got a whole new direction on it. They have a few of the guys that worked at Blizzard North still around, but there's a whole new team on it, and it's like, OK, it's their license, and they're trying to really move the bar and do something different with the Diablo license. Yeah, I'm excited when I see what they're coming up with.

GFW: What was your own gut reaction to the art direction?

BR: I just thought it was different. I think the thing I always liked about the Blizzard North and Blizzard HQ constructs is the fact that they were two very distinct groups. At Irvine, we had a way that we approached things -- game development, art style, from color to character shapes, everything -- that was very distinct from the guys at Blizzard North. I think that it made it pretty compelling when you bought the Diablo titles. You got something that was markedly different from what you got out of a WarCraft or StarCraft. I think now, because everything's down there, you're seeing the Irvine take on the Diablo universe. So it's just the direction they're going with the people they have and the mindset there. I always liked the fact that Diablo was very dark and Gothic and gritty and edgy, but I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with the direction they've gone. They just chose to go a different way.

I think the core Diablo fans are saying, "We really like the dark, edgy, gritty look of that game!" We had people impaled on spikes, for god's sake. And now it's kind of bright and airy and doesn't quite feel the same. But I dunno. I look at it, and it's got high production quality, and it looks like it's going to be really fun to play. I think that wall of zombies is the coolest concept for a spell maybe ever. It's not any different in terms of gameplay mechanics, but it's so cleverly thought-out. I'm gonna raise a wall of undead! Oh my god, why didn't we ever think of that! It's genius! So I look forward to that. Again, it's a take on something, even if it's different. With Mythos, it's a thing's mostly done, and you want the guys who were working on it, pouring their vision into it, their heart and soul into it, to be the ones who complete it. Short of somebody else being involved with the project, I don't really see that happening.


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