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Diablo III Interview with Jay Wilson at Gamasutra

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Diablo III Interview with Jay Wilson at Gamasutra

Interview - posted by Crooked Bee on Mon 14 May 2012, 16:20:27

Tags: Blizzard Entertainment; Diablo III; Jay Wilson

Gamasutra has done a huge interview with Diablo III's director Jay Wilson. In the interview, Jay discusses the game's development, the design philosophy behind it, fan feedback, and many other things -- among them design documents:

Did Diablo III have an official design document?

JW: No, not really. I certainly had a PowerPoint that I put together, which described high-level pillars of the project, and was seven things that we considered to be the core of the game.

Do you remember what those were?

JW: Those seven things were: approachable, powerful heroes, highly customizable, great item game, endlessly replayable, strong setting, and cooperative multiplayer.

We basically said these are the pillars we have to live by. Each one has a description of what they mean. And any time that we have a question about what the game should be, we just look back at those pillars. And that was our goal. That was how we set the project up.

We had some others, too, that were more [about] what we're adding to the project. And they were more feature-based, so for example, the PvP mode was one. The bigger focus on RPG elements was one, because we wanted it to be a more story-based game, without getting in the way of the action. So there were a few more like that.

But we didn't have a formal design document. I don't believe in the big design bible. I've done it before, and nobody reads it. I think the only purpose for having a design bible like that is for the guy who wrote it. If you, as a designer, you write a bible to get your head around your vision and your idea, write your bible. But don't ever expect anyone to read it. Don't even show it to anybody. Nobody reads that.

A lot of people are saying that; it's not just you. I think that a lot of people in interviews like this, with the industry press, talk about that. Or you see them at GDC, and they give a presentation; it's definitely not just you that's saying "screw design documents." They're talking about getting the actual feel down, iterating and iterating. How do you even start with that?

JW: Well, so what we did was we wrote those pillars. I think those pillars are really important. Because they're also things that everybody can hold in their head really easily.

There's a presentation. You don't hand a document to people. People won't read. That's the key. People do not read; doesn't matter what. Nobody wants to read a document, and if they do read, reading a document doesn't get them excited. And game development's all about getting people excited. Games are cool. Reading a document's not cool.

Reading a book is cool. [laughs] I don't want to put the message out there that reading is not good. But what I mean is, if I want to read, I want to read something cool. And a design document for a game, no matter how you spruce it up, ain't cool.

But I can sit here and tell you about a game, and I can get you excited about it. And that's what it should be. It should be about the team talking to one another, and should be about core ideas that everyone works to realize.​

I dunno, personally I love reading design documents. I mean, you can talk the talk, but can you write the write?

There are 22 comments on Diablo III Interview with Jay Wilson at Gamasutra

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