"We had to come up with a style that takes a bit of the essence of all of those. With Diablo we've pushed to be not as dark and shadowy and with Warcraft we've toned down the proportions so everybody is in this zone. Warcraft has a little more realism in the textures than the traditional painterly style. Diablo has less of the grit and grim. And all of them have that next evolution of polish that StarCraft did with a lot of the specular mapping and the normal mapping that we did."
Choose your hero
The next challenge was choosing which of the characters from the three games would make the cut. According to Phil Gonzales, senior artist on Heroes of the Storm, sometimes the team would pick the characters based on ones that stood out in the great cinematics. Other times they'd simply need a monster or a cute character or a character that's really different. For example, Murky is a character that's all about dying, but it's about the persistence and the fact that he'll be coming back very rapidly and constantly pushing. The needs changed on a day-to-day basis for the team, which always wanted to push things forward with and go with the flow of the game.
"We always look at what's the best experience right now, what talents can we keep pushing, and what characters emphasizes that the most," said Gonzales. "It's really up to the way that the game is going. We just feel it out and go with our gut."
Didier compared the development process for Heroes of the Storm to his time working on Warcraft III because the team was coming up with things that were new to the franchise. And the end result, at least to date, has been similar, as well.
"This game is super fun to play," said Didier. "Anyone who has played a Blizzard game is going to immediately know these heroes and know what they do. They may not do every single thing that they can do in StarCraft or Diablo or Warcraft, but when you see the barbarian whirling around a sword or the Kerrigan mauling people it just feels right."
Gonzales said the game's talent system is very deep, whether it's Arthas summoning frost worms or huge armies of the dead or Raynor bringing in the Hyperion or a fleet of banshees. All of these options are available to players to add to the strategies involved in MOBA battles.
"We have these really great battlegrounds that really change the way the maps are played on," said Gonzales. "We have maps that are really focused on team battles and other maps that are focused on achieving these goals that help you win."
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