We learned some interesting things about the seminal action-RPG Diablo at this year's GDC, thanks to a talk by David Brevik, co-founder of Blizzard North and senior designer and lead programmer on the game. For instance, Battle.net, the heart and soul of all things Blizzard, originally ran on a single PC, and Diablo itself was initially conceived as a complex, turn-based game, before evolving—against Brevik's vision—into an action-RPG.
We covered a few highlights of the talk, as you can see above, but there's nothing better than the real thing, and today the GDC folks posted Brevik's full talk on YouTube. He starts off with a brief recounting of how the name was actually inspired by Mount Diablo in the San Francisco Bay area, which he lived near as a teenager, and then moves into the nuts-and-bolts of the game's creation, from the early design doc—which you can see here—to the final days of crunch that led into the game's launch. He also shows off some footage of the alpha demo, which while very clearly Diablo, was nonetheless a good bit different from what was ultimately released, and touches on a few of the ideas cooked up by the “strike team,” some of which were clearly better than others.
It's a fairly lengthy video, clocking in at well over an hour, but a fun watch, especially if you have an interest in the intricacies of game design. Enjoy!