If I saw this interview before the game launched, I could have predicted the lame story. Listen to Jay Wilson say…
And while “Diablo III” ends the trilogy, fans needn’t worry — it’s not the final curtain for “Diablo.” “We’re not saying this is the end of the ‘Diablo’ universe, but we are trying to bring this storyline to a close,” Wilson said. “It’s not just ‘Diablo III’ — we’ve got plans beyond.”
Ultima did trilogies which were done more retroactively (and more organically as well. Only the last trilogy was ‘planned’ and that was when the series went to the crapper). It is quite arrogant to be planning out more trilogies at this point by Blizzard. Yet, that is what they are doing.
Wilson’s quote tells us everything. Diablo 3 wasn’t about making the best Diablo 3 but about ‘closing the door’ on a ‘storyline’ to make way for ‘new stuff’. What is wrong with the Diablo story line that it needed to be ‘closed’?
And whoever thought of Diablo as a ‘trilogy’? Blizzard is not going to pull off an Ultima where they get to make the first three games a trilogy of an ‘Age of Darkness’ while making the next game totally different from killing an evil bad guy. How do you make a game, where the third game is twelve years away from the second, a ‘trilogy’? When you start planning so far ahead, you’re going to half-ass your current product (which is exactly what happened).
So it appears confirmed that the future of Blizzard games is incomplete stories. Starcraft already doesn’t ship with a complete story (if you want the Zerg or Protoss’s perspectives, you must buy the game over and over again). WoW’s Pandarian Expansion isn’t the complete story as they have plans and plans with future WoW expansions. Not all the content is coming to the table which is why complaints of lack of content are erupting all over the place.
When you make plans for games 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, it is guaranteed you will do a mediocre performance with 1. Blizzard isn’t the only one doing this. We are seeing more and more frequent ‘trilogy’ game series and it seems even Nintendo’s Zelda games (the ones no one plays anymore) are having their content planned in advance.
I don’t understand you game developers. You, of all people, know you cannot plan gameplay in advance. With the prototype, you find out often the gameplay doesn’t work and needs to be ‘felt out’ and ‘explored’ which can result in a much different, and more fun gameplay, than was ever planned. This is what hands on creation is all about.
But why, oh why, do you not extend that form of thinking to the content side? Content cannot be planned that far in advance unless you want it to be mediocre (which will occur). Content often doesn’t work and needs to be ‘felt out’ and ‘explored’ during the process. One of the reasons why the popular game universes became popular was because their universe was ‘felt out’ and ‘explored’. What was Warcraft’s universe back in Warcraft 1? Or Diablo’s universe in Diablo 1? Or Zelda’s universe with Zelda 1?
Planning content in advance is as suicidal as planning gameplay in advance.