Isometric perspective, permadeath and procedural dungeon generation all detailed in pitch for Blizzard North’s seminal 1996 debut

Diablo’s original design doc reveals beginnings of iconic RPG

Hot off the hells of his post-mortem talk at GDC on the origins of Diablo, Blizzard North co-founder David Brevik has posted the game’s first pitch document online.

Diablo was the first game from the newly-formed studio in 1996, and was followed by an expansion in 1997 and PlayStation port in 1998. Diablo II followed in 2000, with Diablo III launched in 2012.

Going back to where it all began, Brevik’s reasonably short outline of the title shows its isometric appearance and map layout, with the town located close to the multi-storied dungeon.

It also suggests the concept of permadeath, with Brevik suggesting that if an arrow kills the player, “that character will be erased completely from the hard drive and the player must start from scratch”.

Procedural generation is described as “the heart of Diablo”, with the Dynamic Random Level Generation System working to randomise environmental ‘set pieces’, enemies and items.

Read the insightful doc here.

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