David Brevik and Max Schaefer are two names hardcore Diablo players should know very well. They not only co-created the first two Diablo games but they co-founded Blizzard North. On the over-a-decade development cycle involved in making Diablo 3 a reality, they left to take their design ideas to other, new franchises. The duo – along with other Blizzard employees- created Hellgate: London for Flagship Studios before it quickly went under, then parted ways.
Schaefer is now working away on the eagerly anticipated Torchlight 2, a game many fans feel is a more worthy successor to Diablo 2, while Brevik heads the development of the Diablo-style Marvel Heroes for Gazillion Entertainment. After sharing his feelings on the release of Diablo 3, Brevik got caught up in heated controversy when a few current Blizzard employees couldn’t take the criticism. Diablo 3 director Jay Wilson f-bombed Brevik and labeled him a “loser” before issuing an apology. After this and the continuous list of issues players are finding with Diablo 3, we now wonder what Schaefer and Brevik would have done with the game had they been in charge.
In chatting with Eurogamer, Brevik talked about one multiplayer-focused idea and feature they had originally wanted to include in Diablo 2, a Battle.net town of sorts, something they would have expanded on in the next series installment.
“We wanted to take that and make that a reality, make that into an MMO experience. Then we had these towns which were not instanced, and they had lots of people in them, and you’re interacting and trading and selling and getting quests. Then you’d go out and have these experiences, but you would create these games and go out and play the game with a group of your friends.
“But they turned out not to feel like an MMO because part of the feeling from an MMO is when you’re walking across Elwynn Forest [from Blizzard MMO World of Warcraft] and you see some guy walk by that’s this high level guy, or you’re fighting some monster and somebody else comes up and helps you, those dynamic social things that happen, were missing from that experience.
“So this idea of creating these public combat zones that allow people to have that dynamic social interaction is really what I wanted to make with this game.”
Those ideas Brevik took to a game called Mythos which never became a reality, but may show up in his next major project.
“I left and I wanted to do something different. I had learned that the Marvel license had been taken. I’m a huge Marvel fan, so I sought out the job to actually say, I want to make Marvel Diablo, and take some of the lessons I’ve learned doing Mythos and some of the early design stuff I’d done on Diablo 3, and then all of my experience with Diablo 1 and 2, and try and harness that and make it into a true MMO and add the Marvel IP on top.”
With a major brand such as Marvel bringing with it so many popular characters and endless amounts of lore and stories, can Brevik and his team bring to it gameplay and features to make the free-to-play multiplayer game something that can compete with what Diablo 3, the best-selling PC game ever? Gazillion hopes so since they consider Marvel Heroes to be the spiritual successor to Diablo 2.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.