Blizzard’s Diablo was originally a turn-based RPG, pitch document reveals

blizzards diablo was originally a turn based rpg diablo1 header
Speaking at this year’s Game Developers Conference, Blizzard North co-founder David Brevik revealed that the studio’s landmark action-RPG Diablo was once a very different game than what later ended up shipping to retail. Brevik has since uploaded his original pitch document, giving rare insight into the origin story behind one of Blizzard’s biggest hits.

Notably, the document reveals that Diablo was originally envisioned as a turn-based RPG in which players controlled a party of adventurers, greatly contrasting the real-time combat featured in the final release.

Diablo‘s original pitch is attributed to “Condor Inc,” a studio Brevik founded while working at a digital clip art company in the early ’90s. As the studio floundered, Brevik and his team covertly assembled a pitch for a PC-compatible role-playing game that “fills a neglected niche within the computer game market.”

“As games today substitute gameplay with multimedia extravaganzas, and strive toward needless scale and complexity, we seek to reinvigorate the hack and slash, feel good gaming audience,” the pitch reads. “Emphasis will be on exploration, conflict and character development in a dark quest for justice.”

Taking its name from the California Bay Area’s Mt. Diablo and citing inspiration from hardcore RPGs like Rogue and Nethack, Diablo originally featured a permadeath mechanic at its core, forcing players to make careful decisions throughout in order to minimize the risk of party annihilation.

Brevik and his team also emphasized Diablo‘s replayability, noting that the game would feature randomly generated dungeon layouts, items, and monsters. Though many pitched elements eventually found their way into the game’s final release, the pitch document estimates the game’s resolution at a modest 640 x 480p in SVGA mode, hinting at its vintage.

While expansions would play a major role in later Diablo sequels, Brevik’s team was ahead of the curve in its pitch for the original game in the series. Taking cues from the collectible card game Magic the Gathering, Diablo‘s development team planned to release a slate of paid level expansions and weapon packs for the game, many years before downloadable content would make the practice commonplace. The pitch document suggests a $5 price for individual expansion disks, drawing further parallels to modern add-on pricing.

Gaming

The Teslasuit could turn Black Mirror’s terrifying ‘Playtest’ into a reality

We spoke with Teslasuit co-founder Dimitri Mikhalchuk about VR gaming at CES 2019. With all its features, the future of the Teslasuit and virtual reality look bright. And it also sounds a bit like a Black Mirror episode.
Gaming

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.
Gaming

Among hundreds of choices, these are the best 25 SNES games of all time

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System might be the greatest game console ever made, but what are the best titles for the system? Here are our picks for the best SNES games.
Gaming

If we get a Nintendo 64 Classic, it needs to have these games

The Nintendo 64 introduced a long list of top-tier games, but which were the iconic platform's best? From Mario Party to Ocarina of Time to NFL Blitz, check out our picks for the best N64 games.
Gaming

Still have holiday cash to blow? Grab one of these awesome Xbox One games

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

Verizon video game streaming service leaked, currently testing on Nvidia Shield

Verizon is currently testing a video game streaming service that is already running on the Nvidia Shield set-top box, according to The Verge. The platform, named Verizon Gaming, will also eventually launch on Android smartphones.
Gaming

Dataminers discover SNES games, more emulators for Nintendo Switch Online

Nintendo Switch Online may soon launch SNES games and more emulators, according to data miners. The list of hidden SNES titles include Breath of Fire 2 and Star Fox 2, while the other emulators may be the Nintendo 64 and Nintendo GameCube.
Gaming

‘RollerCoaster Tycoon 2’ ride takes 12 years to complete

A RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 player has constructed a coaster in the game that will take more than 12 years to complete from beginning to end, and is actually a tiny ride taking up a small portion of the landscape.
Gaming

‘Battlefield V’ adds Squad Conquest mode in ‘Lightning Strikes’ update

Electronic Arts and DICE have detailed what is included in the Battlefield V update Lightning Strikes. The update includes access to the mode Squad Conquest through the end of January.
Gaming

Here's everything you need to know to trade in 'Pokémon Go'

After literally years of waiting, Pokémon Go finally gives trainers the option to trade Pokémon with others. It's not easy, though, and the cost is quite high if you try trading with strangers.
Gaming

‘Rocket League’ is the latest game to get full cross-platform play

Psyonix has announced that Rocket League now supports full cross-platform play across PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC, joining Fortnite as the only games to do so.
Gaming

Here's what you need to know about 'World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth'

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is the latest expansion for the now 14-year-old MMORPG. It goes back to the roots of the Alliance vs. Horde conflict. Here's what you need to know.
Product Review

'New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe' is 2D platforming wizardry

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is the latest Wii U game to come back from the dead on Switch. And wow, it’s much better than we remembered.