PAX Prime 2012: David Brevik on Marvel Heroes and Diablo
The Marvel universe has seen plenty of action RPGs already – X-Men Legends, the Ultimate Alliance series – but none of them have had quite the same clout as Marvel Heroes. Diablo and Diablo II‘s lead designer, David Brevik, is heading up production, something that should tell even the most ardent free-to-play cynic that the game isn’t to be ignored. It takes the usual staples of Diablo‘s ilk – the isometric camera, the never-ending stream of loot – and throws it into a massively multiplayer space. As a free-to-play title, characters can buy items and characters; however, the designers looked towards games like League of Legends for a model that didn’t force players to pay to make any real progress in the game.
According to Brevik, the game makes very few concessions for its hugely expanded player count. Many first-timers assume that the game is single-player, or perhaps a four-player co-op experience; granted, the game does send teams of players into randomly-generated dungeons, but key locations like towns and hub areas are all teeming with players and their customized heroes, similar to games like Spiral Knights.
If this sounds like a radical departure for Brevik, it’s actually not. While talking about the design ethos behind Marvel Heroes, he mentioned that Diablo II was originally meant to have similar huge player hubs early in development; once the game went ahead without the massively multiplayer aspect, it was rolled into Brevik and co.’s original concept for Diablo III, before he departed Blizzard North. A Diablo III MMO? It certainly would’ve been interesting to see.