The former Blizzard man says they were "going the MMO route," as they wanted a much bigger world with "many more players" able to join in. WoW 'not an issue'.
"We wanted to make it a bigger game. We were going the MMO route. We wanted to support many more players in the game. When I left the company in 2003 the project was still very early on; far from the point where we could have revealed anything about it publicly, since so much would still have changed," said Max Schaefer of Runic, in an interview.
"There's lots and lots that goes in inside game companies that never hits the light of day, since projects change so much in their early iterations. We may have changed our own path radically had we kept going on it."
"But at the time our thinking was to go more MMO on it. We wanted to foster big in-game communities. Not just session-based with four or eight people. We wanted more than just 4 or 8 people per game. We wanted a big overworld and a giant shared community."
It would have been a "really big instance. Basically a perpetual world," he said.
Did World of Warcraft shy away the team from turning Diablo III into a fully fledged MMO? "Not at all. We didn't really think that... WoW didn't drive our decision at all. What the guys down south were doing didn't really impact our work. It didn't dawn on us that having two subscription based games would cannibalize each other," explained Schaefer.
"They were historically different communities; the Warcraft and the Diablo communities. It was just a desire to make something cool and take advantage of the newly-emerging MMO mechanics." Diablo II still enjoys co-operative mayhem today.
"And having a cool and chaotic interaction between lots of different people in the world. Experiment with how that worked with our camera style and control scheme and the aRPG genre," said Schaefer. Diablo III includes a PvP arena alongside the campaign.
Runic Games developed Torchlight which is a Diablo-inspired dungeon crawler and the studio is currently making the sequel which will support co-op play. Runic also plan their own MMO for Torchlight once the aRPG sequel is completed. Glad Diablo III is no MMO?
Diablo III originally concepted as "really big instance", MMO-like
08 April 2011 | By Simon Priest