Irrefutable proof a game belongs in the Sacred Shrine of Gaming Giants is whether or not you can append the suffix “clone” at the end of its title and describe a whole slew of games that came after it. Diablo is one such landmark title.
Released in 1997 when PlayStation wasn’t so much a brand and more a ‘venture,’ Blizzard North’s Diablo on the PC was like detonating a sugar-bomb in a playground. We lapped it up; our desire for randomly generated dungeons and more magical items than we physically knew what to do with literally insatible. In fact, I can’t think of one person who was gaming back in the 90s that didn’t play Diablo. It was almost like a rite of passage. “Have you defeated the Lord of Terror? Do you journey to work via tram? You may enter.”
Of course, Diablo didn’t invent the Action RPG genre – you could argue the MUDs of yore hold that particular accolade – but it did perfect it. The game’s influence on modern RPGs is staggering. From World of Warcraft and the Baldur’s Gate series to a plethora of ensuant point-and-click RPGs, some of the most popular and repeated game mechanics we’ve all been using for over a decade can be found in this inventive and ground-breaking dungeon-crawler.
Diablo was bolstered with expansion packs and a sequel, Diablo II, in 2000 – also extended with the expected add-ons. But then, nothing. It’s been over a decade since the last Diablo enticed us to visit the world of Sanctuary and its dank, creature-infested subterranean crypts. This is due to change next year.
An official release date for the much-anticipated Diablo III is still to be confirmed, and while we know the game will incorporate the Havoc physics engine, have destructible environments and add leggings to the armour set, what we’re more looking forward to is getting our hands dirty with the myriad of weapons, items and foul monstrosities that require a smiting. Ahh, fresh meat.