Blizzard North Co-founder Causes Controversy in ‘Diablo 3′ Interview

Published 2 years ago by , Updated August 23rd, 2012 at 9:23 am,

Diablo 3 Interview Controversy

[Update: Jay Wilson issues apology.]

Just when all the dust surrounding Diablo 3 seems to finally settle back down, another storm inevitably strikes the internet, igniting Blizzard‘s community. The biggest, and still unresolved, issue recently has been the lack of end-game content for players who have finished the campaign. Blizzard did take the time to admit that end-game content was sparse, but also to state that players waiting for a reason to return might not be satisfied anytime soon.

Gamers have had no choice but to accept Blizzard’s response, but a recent interview at IncGamers with one of the creators of the Diablo franchise has stirred up another round of controversy. David Brevik, a co-founder of Blizzard North, and one of the devs behind Diablo, Diablo 2, and its expansion Lord of Destruction, stated his disappointment with the final product that is Diablo 3.

Although he never outright claims that Diablo 3 is a bad game, his statements make it clear that he does not believe the team at “Blizzard South” was equipped to finish the game on their own without the original team:

“When Blizzard North shut down they lost a ton of experience with why the Action RPG works and what about it works. That’s really difficult to recover from. They didn’t have the experience of people that knew it well. This is why you do things with random levels for example, and so when you lose that experience you are going to create a very different experience in the end than we would have created.”

He also gets into specifics later in the interview, expressing disappointment in the loot system, as well as Blizzard’s failure to listen to the community when they had complaints. His final statements about the game are the most incendiary of all:

“I am also a little happy, which I hate to say, it shows that the people that were involved in Diablo really did matter, and so I am happy that it has come to light that how talented that group was and how unique and special that group was. I am hoping that, as this happens very often in the industry, you see it with Call of Duty and things like that ,  when the people leave the game changes and it shows how critical people are in this industry.”

Needless to say, Diablo 3‘s lead designer Jay Wilson, along with several other members of the Diablo 3 team, were unhappy with Brevik’s interview. Chris Haga, Diablo 3’s lead artist and skill designer, posted the link to the interview on his Facebook page prefaced by the quote, “Suddenly I feel like I was just thrown under a bus.” The conversation that followed included two more Blizzard employees, Jill Harrington and Jay Wilson, clearly upset with Brevik’s comments:

Chris Haga Diablo 3 Interview

Both Jay Wilson’s comment on Haga’s wall and Harrington’s approval of said comment have since been removed. It is sad to see two groups previously working for the same goal fighting publicly over a game that should have been a celebration of everyone’s work on the series. The blame game has been going on for quite some time now, but has never quite reached name calling until now, at least publicly.

How do you Ranters feel about David Brevik’s interview? Was he out of line comparing Diablo 3 to Call of Duty, or did the current Blizzard team overreact? Let us know in the comments below.

[Update: This Diablo 3 story continues…]

Follow me on Twitter @JacobSiegal.

Source: IncGamers

TAGS: Blizzard, Diablo 3, Mac, PC

  • Matt

    Brevik was definitely out of line with those comments. He was condescending toward the team that finished Diablo III, even though he works for Blizzard just like that team. A teammate should never diss another teammate. While Brevik isn’t exactly a teammate of “Blizzard South” employees, the concept still applies.

    • Cariannis

      Brevik doesn’t work for Blizzard anymore he hasn’t in a long time. Brevik left Blizzard in 2003.

      Out of line? What did Brevik say that wasn’t constructive criticism? He was asked a question in an interview and he gave his opinion I didn’t read and condescending attitude in his remarks. Brevik was the guy behind Diablo 1/2. Diablo 3 wouldn’t have the sells it has if it wasn’t for Brevik work on those games. Now Chris Haga, Jay Wilson and the others were definitely condescending to the man that created one of my top 10 games Diablo 2…you know the reason that Diablo 3 sold so many copies.

      What I find funny about this is that they criticize a guy for critiquing a game then turn around and bash his game. Can we say hypocrisy?

      • mongoose

        They are just getting bent out of shape because someone with a unique perspective called them out publicly on their game sucking.

        The truth hurts sometimes.

        • wasabi

          Totally agree with Cariannis and mongoose, there was really nothing Brevik said that should have been taken with any inflammatory value. Jay Wilson and some of others responses showed no restraint or class at all, and especially for Jay Wilson being the face of the Diablo 3 development team and Blizzard, that’s a pretty big deal. As fair as that may be or unfair, it is what it is.

          Maybe, just maybe, you could interpret Brevik’s comments as slight backhanded compliments at worst, but compliments none the less. But to really interpret them in that way, is to have extremely thin skin. I actually interpreted it as him just saying in so many words that they had different ideas of what would work for Diablo 3 and how much confidence Brevik has/had in his Blizzard North team.

      • Jerry

        I agree. I bought this crappy Diablo 3 because I enjoyed Diablo 1 and 2. It was too late for me to realize that the good performance of Diablo 1 and 2 does not automatically mean that Diablo 3 is good also.

    • Rob Keyes

      I don’t think he’s out of line at all. He works for a diff company and shared this thoughts on a game, one that’s a sequel to what he created no less.

      Why can’t he be honest about the game?

      We need MORE honesty, not censorship.

  • TaboriHK

    I think it’s sad that when game developers share a thought, or god forbid try to define a failure, it’s a major controversy. I play Diablo 2 to this day. I played Diablo 3 for less than a week. It’s beautiful, polished failure, plain and simple. If you don’t think so, then stand by your product. Don’t go, “hey, you can’t say that!” All the evidence is in the work you submitted.

    Everything Brevik said is the usual blame game “wasn’t me” hot potato nonsense, but if we had an atmosphere where open acknowledgement of failure was an option, this would have zero controversy. Even their own dev team has called a spade a spade.

    And just as a sidenote, this really smacks to me of a very corporate, very stealth mea culpa. Take a guy who’s name can still be associated with Activision Blizzard, but not DIRECTLY responsible for D3, make a statement that makes it look like Activision Blizzard is also on the disappointed gamers side, but it’s not TOO mean so that they aren’t drawing too much blood with the wound. Subconsciously, we all think “hey, this company still has an eye for what makes a good game, I won’t rule out the next one.” Of course, I say that with absolutely zero to back it up. Just saying, if not the case, tell me it isn’t plausible.

    • Rob Keyes


      I agree with the overall problem of communication. Devs and publishers are always so secret about revealing info about their games and after they release, they cannot speak honestly about them.

      • TaboriHK

        I think it’s a side effect of corporations handling the reins.

  • Cariannis

    Wouldn’t the controversy really be how Blizzard South developers are acting like the WOW forum community? Or Jay Wilson’s “F#%@ that loser” comment? Or maybe “Diablo 3 Developers Act Like Children News at 11”

  • BigNed

    Having briefly reviewed the back story details of Brevik’s departure from Blizzard, his interview came across to me as an effort to remain tactful while really wanting to stick it to an organization that he felt didn’t respect his previous contributions. There’s some condescension in phrases like “the best they could” but at the same time he also seems to think that the developers of D3 were working away from their strong suit, rather than implying they are simply untalented.

    Meanwhile, the reaction on Facebook of the other developers displays a lack of maturity that is almost certainly at the root of their poor response to the D3 fan community. They strike me as Lucas-like in their “it’s our franchise; we can do what we want; you should thank us for making a new game instead of pointing out its flaws” attitude. Yay.

  • jwalka

    good b/c di9ablo 3 is a s*** game, not only does it look like an a budget pc game, but there just doesn’t seem to be a lot there that other (and free) ARPG’s dont have, for instance path of exile looks way better then d3, and the dev team behind it are very enthusiastic at making the game accessible and fun for everyone.

    that and i will never support someone that doesn’t give me full control over something I PAID FOR WITH MY OWN MONEY AND PHYSICALLY HAVE SITTING IN MY SHELF, it’s like buying a dvd but only being able to watch it when the studio allows you to.

  • AngryAlbatross

    I played Diablo 3 for a few months, and that was exclusively because I had two friends playing it with me and we were desperately trying to have fun with the game. I never played a Diablo game before D3 and I seriously doubt I will ever touch anything Diablo now. I went back to League of Legends, Skyrim, and Team Fortress 2 from that terrible waste of money and was happy about it. DayZ is an alpha test mod and it feels more polished then D3 ever has.

  • Branden

    I personally think he’s upset because the original Diablo team went with Blizzard North when it closed down. He was very out of line and he really had no room to talk since he didn’t work on the title and that he parted with Blizzard so his argument is empty and without motive. Blizzard just keeps losing rep releasing crap titles like this new WoW expansion which leads to thinking WoW is aimed for kids, and the reason I don’t play it anymore. He had no real right to compare the two games either, it has happened with multiple titles and not just the CoD series which I think is great for the campaign, no co-founder of a company should single out a title like that when he had no idea what was going on. Had Blizzard North worked on Diablo 3 I don’t think there would be any negative feedback from die hard fans of the series. There was also a lot of rushing from audience side, people were writing mails to Blizzard saying “Hurry up and release this, I want to play it!” it’s comments and mails such as this are one reason why half done titles are released to the public. There’s my two cents, and good thoughts everyone!

    • Branden


  • Sean “BlackJoker” P

    I don’t think he was 2 much out of line. I mean he is a professional in the field and he had major part in starting the franchise so his opinion on the game should matter and instead of the Team of South just “Lashing insults” they should probably talk to him and try to get over the things said and ask what would he do differently and improve Diablo 3.
    I personally miss Team North. When they got rid of North I knew future games would lack what I loved about Blizzard. I was right. Like most of us I played for a week or so and stop. I played D2 for a entire year before D3 came out and add a good 4 years when it first came out. D3 should of been released with all its features not in Patches that still haven’t come out. I believe North could of done better in my opinion.

    Also comparing CoD franchise to Diablo is pretty on the dot. First CoD was awesome played that all the time and the recent games I play for a month at most but wont touch the thing unless I get a big group. Right now thats how Diablo 3 is. I don’t want to play if non of my friends play. But when I was on last night there was like 500ish people only. Use to think it was just the area I lived in but getting people from france and korea and what not. Starting to think thats all the people who are still playing. Diablo 3 could of gone better and released with everything.

  • NightSeverX

    Somehow i dont think that there would be any less controversy. People are upset about the final product now but if the game was more like D2 i think people would still find heavy fault with it. But in that case, people who found d2 stale or people new to the series.

  • Luger83

    I was so disappointed by D3. I love D2. And to that Andrew Silvernail guy’s comment, Hellgate London is 50 times better than D3.

  • Ebany

    David Brevik’s comments were diplomatic and reserved. He did a truly splendid job in remaining emotionally detached and giving a very neutral point of view on the latest Diablo release. Even I have trouble believing its related to the Diablo franchise.

    The “Facebook” response was both disgraceful and unprofessional, they should be ashamed of themselves for even believing they could openly bad mouth an individual in the digital world without the larger community finding out. These are the same people who sold out the fabulous reputation of the first Diablo games just to leach as much income from pre-orders as possible. Now the game is all about milking Auction House, no doubt half the items on there are listed by Blizzard employees working incognito. Stay in your current jobs Blizz team, I fear you may no longer be employable anywhere else.

    • Jerry

      Why do I also get the feeling that majority of those good items in auction house were not from in-game drops.

      I believe some (if not most) of those good items in auction house were listed by blizzard employees themselves.

  • Ebany

    Oh, I should also mention that Hellgate rocked!