Saturday Morning Satan: Diablo III Gets A Cartoon!

By Nathan Grayson on May 9th, 2012 at 6:30 pm.

Taste my blade. Indirectly.

Remember back when Diablo III was first announced and all those people panicked because they thought Blizzard’s angstiest Big Bad had gone all My Little Lord of the Damned on them? Well, they were right. Someone has drawn pictures of Diablo characters and made them move. All hope is lost. OK, OK, fine. Maybe this animated short wouldn’t quite be at home on, say, the Disney Channel. It’s a wee bit stabby. There are also cryptic mentions of traps being sprung and angels angering at each other angrily, but mostly, it’s an excuse for seven minutes of ludicrously high-budget demon decapitation, bifurcation, and probably some other “-cations” I don’t know about. Check out the full thing after the break.

So then, that was fun, wasn’t it? Yes, Torchlight II, your hand-drawn hack ‘n’ slashery is also quite handsome, but does it have a narrator who’s trying way too hard to be Sean Connery?

Admittedly, Blizzard seems pretty much incapable of distinguishing between melodrama and full-on camp these days, but I’m long past the point of getting bent out of shape about it. Diablo’s lore was never particularly gripping, so I doubt I’ll have any real qualms with whatever direction this newfound focus on story takes so long as it doesn’t get in the way of my incredibly violent safari through the natural habitat of the wild loot pinata. The game’s out in six days – as if you weren’t counting down the seconds.

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82 Comments »

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  1. Syra says:

    Chris Metzen should just direct cartoons all the time. His story-writing is just bad enough to be cartoon awesome.

    • Renfield says:

      Indeed.

      Or, in Metzen-style, THIS ONE SPEAKS TRUTH.

      Edit: I’m not saying I won’t miss Dark Diablo over Camp Diablo, but at least Metzen’s giving Camp Diablo all he’s got. And it feels like this is what he’s wanted to do all along.

    • wuwul says:

      Why so much hate for Chris Metzen?

      I mean, he’s the coolest guy in the videogame industry (just look at the Blizzcon videos).

      • Renfield says:

        I think the problem is in the tension between (old) depressed Metzen, and (new) PAR-TEH Metzen, and the resulting differences between their creations.

        • Andrigaar says:

          Wait, is this why none of their new games have the broody pencil and ink drawings of War2 and Starcraft?

          I don’t care to keep up devs and their practice suicide scars, so sarcasm here would go over my head.

          • vivlo says:

            i remmeber beeing completely stuck in awe before the awesome diving into this realm of forgotten legends, untold monstruosities, unforgiving heroicism that was Azeroth for a first time, then a second ; the into that deep mysterious galaxy introduced by a savage assault from an unknown menace, distorted cries, loneliness for all, treason like only humanoids know how to do even in the ends of nowhere, a great space opera that was ; then a third time though with eye pleasur into Azeroth et all and less and less imprecise mysteries slowly growing into a clusterfuck of nothings, and many things adding to nothing what’s this ? a magic tree there from all eternity, ancient race always there… Then came WoW and SC2, but maybe indeed the magic began to fade at wc3. Though it was still a beautiful game.
            But SC2, oh my SC2, what a treason, the ultimate treason, poor, chitty chatty acting, flat characters everywhere, who are talking too much…

          • Renfield says:

            Andrigaar, see e.g.

            http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-10-20-the-hero-factory-interview

            “I’m a weird creature,” [Metzen] says, although it’s a common enough story. “My first love is comic books, and I imprinted on these big, giant comic book universes that are about superheroes. And they’re all totally heroic. Whatever the problem is, there’s always this innate contract with the viewer or reader or fan that good’s going to come back. It’s about the fight, it’s about selflessness and heroism. And I think those things are so ingrained in me since I was a little kid, it’s maybe impossible for me to get out of those pants. I don’t much want to. I like those kinds of stories.” It wasn’t always [that] way. When Metzen started work at Blizzard he was more angsty. “The kid I was, working on the first Diablo, I must have been 23, an angry young kid. A lot of those ideas that went into the DNA of the world, you’re cathartically exorcising whatever bulls**t you’re feeling at that phase of your life.”

      • mixnsyv says:

        Give-You-a-Surprise Wooden Box (Practical Joke,) to scare him! Ha ha! http://vo.to/61xz5

  2. Hoaxfish says:

    Diablo-san, we must defeat the angel lords, uguuu!

  3. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    That’s a very convoluted way of saying “go kill Diablo”.

  4. faelnor says:

    I’m getting a strong Evangelion vibe from that vid. Not just the angels, but the whole design and animation style. I don’t like it.

    • Uthred says:

      Thats a pretty bizarre connection to make, the only link between the two is that theyre animated. Neither animation style, visual style, theme, language or place of origin have anything in common.

      • Premium User Badge

        Anthile says:

        Yeah, I have no idea how anyone can compare this to Japanese anime. Apparently, all animation is anime now.

        • BULArmy says:

          Don’t you know Tom & Jerry is anime also?!?!?!

        • stupid_mcgee says:

          Really? The art style, the production methods, etc. It’s obviously done in the spirit of anime. Tell me, does it look more like Ninja Scroll and Akira than The Jetsons and The Flintstones? Then it’s in anime style.

          • Uthred says:

            Really now youre just displaying your ignorance, it owes much more to traditional western saturday morning cartoons like He-Man, Thundercats, etc. (and their better animated recent relaunches, which were primarily animated by Korean studios iirc)

            Also to address another point “the spirit of anime” is a fucking nonsense term, its like saying “the spirit of filme” anime is a medium, not a genre

          • caddyB says:

            Weeabos invade again

        • Droopy The Dog says:

          And all anime is exactly the same, being made by dirty foreigners and all.

          Impossibly thin waists, gangly limbs, ultra-violent angels, bizzarre obession with squelch noises, berzerker-rage protagonist. Yep, plenty of evangelion influence there to me.

      • vivlo says:

        Actually this makes sense ; some things relate to animes, especially the way they use their weapons as if they were in plastic, the designs of the wings and of the armors, of the monsters….

    • Amun says:

      I don’t like it either.

      I don’t understand why the somber hopeless feeling of Diablo 1* has been cast off (both by Blizzard and by the fanbase) in favor of something more like “WATCH THE BADDEST ANGEL AROUND KICK EVIL IN THE BALLS!!!!1″

      *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w44SmMFy5Dc

  5. NekroJakub says:

    Is that the best headline ever? I think so!

  6. kud13 says:

    they didn’t show Izual! the bastards!

    also, one of the Archangels is the new host for Diablo now.

    • Lycan says:

      So Diablo isn’t dead yet? The Worldstone being destroyed means the Soulstones lost their power and all 3 of Diablo / Mephisto / Baal are alive again??!! Gaaah, all those hundreds of hours of clickety-click all gone to waste…

      • Premium User Badge

        Bluerps says:

        Yeah. So much work! For nothing!
        Damn you, Blizzard!

      • Gasmask Hero says:

        I’d point out that all the soulstones bar Baal’s were shown as being shattered in a D2 cutscene prior to the corruption of the world tree in Lord of Destruction but…canon means nothing to Blizzard so why should it to anyone else?

      • zaygr says:

        The Soulstones were originally prisons to keep the Prime Evils trapped outside hell, cut off from most of their power, but due to the betrayal of Izual, they were corrupted and used by the Prime Evils as anchors to the material world of Sanctuary. Destroying them merely meant that they have no medium to manifest on Sanctuary. And being the ultimate manifestation of their domains (Terror, Destruction and Hatred) they can’t really be killed. Their physical forms can be destroyed, but they’ll remain forever.

    • Syra says:

      Izual wasn’t a member of the council, just a random angel that was corrupted.

      Also he is in diablo3, as we released him from demonic possession in d2.

  7. wodin says:

    Anyone seen the film Priest? Enough said.

    Well the first couple of minutes really smacked of that film.

  8. derbefrier says:

    i liked it but i also like a little bit of anime here and there. would love to see a series developed out of this

  9. djbriandamage says:

    Fornication?
    Vacation?
    Anication?

  10. Sinkytown says:

    I am Deckard CaaAaAaaaAin and my wavering Old Man Voice is pretty hammy!

  11. mouton says:

    This wasn’t too bad. Nice to see the writing in the franchise is on a constant low level.

  12. Premium User Badge

    Anthile says:

    Seemed more like the archangels of manslaughter and tactically unsound decisions to me.

  13. PacketOfCrisps says:

    I don’t trust that Imperius bloke.

  14. Tmoore says:

    Animation style was of that cheap anime variety but it felt stylized and intentional… As a non-blizzard, non-Diablo fanboy gamer all i can say is that it was fun to watch. The archangels looked cool and it made me more interested in the game world itself.

  15. Kryopsis says:

    I guess Aeon Flux wasn’t popular outside North America? Not that I ever liked that series but I’d suggest people to at least google Peter Chung before they make dumbass comments.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      It was in my house. Someone give Peter Chung a bag or money to do some original stuff already!

    • smacky says:

      North American here. And it just so happens that Aeon Flux is my favorite cartoon, ever, period, the end, suck a duck.

    • ironman Tetsuo says:

      It was featured in the UK (i think either BBC2 or C4) on a show called, Liquid Television, which collected random animated shorts from far and wide playing them back to back for 20 minutes each week. The intro sequence with the fly and eyeball is hard to forget!

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        Jackablade says:

        There was a full animated series that was released after that too, though I always preferred the more surreal (and that’s saying a lot) and mostly silent shorts for Liquid Television.

    • archimandrite says:

      Good, someone who knows what they’re talking about.

      Peter Chung’s stuff is not anime It’s not even anime-inspired. It’s American animation, largely inspired by Burne Hogarth and French sci-fi artists like Moebius.

  16. Tei says:

    I am happy. Wen have Path of Exile, if we want a suffering experience Dialbo2-like. And we have Diablo3 for a more Saturday Morning 80’s Comic experience. Both are great games, as where the original Diablos.
    And if we don’t want any of that,but we still want some looting and hack and slash, we will have Torchilight 2.
    Its like there will be a diablo for everyond :D

  17. Desmolas says:

    I pretty much laughed every time anybody spoke. The writing is hilarious!

    Deckard Cain: “Deckard caAAIIiAaiIIiAAiaiNNnnnn!!…Great EEeevvVViiIIllLL.”

    Every archangel “Justice league! America fuck yeah!”

    Diablo: ” *Cackle cackle* You think you’ve won but this was my plan all along…MUAHAHAHAHAHAA!!!! I am evil.”

  18. Busty says:

    There are some things in life that I want.

    This is not one of them.

  19. Brosepholis says:

    This is not ludicrously high-budget. It’s actually a bit pants. Slightly higher than tv quality.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2H_FsmxWzc is ludicrously high-budget.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJry5ReXZVM is ludicrously high-budget.

    This was not.

    • Skabooga says:

      I remember hearing about the Thief and the Cobbler from somewhere (possibly Cracked?) a while back, and lamenting over its loss and senseless destruction. Now you post this latter trailer, and I see a fan project has restored the film to as close to its original intent as is possible, and that it is posted to Youtube in its entirety. So in short, thank you, Brosepholis.

      • Brosepholis says:

        It’s a bloody masterpiece, but be forewarned that a lot of it is very rough. The bits that aren’t rough are the best animation created in history, bar none.

  20. deadly.by.design says:

    I still miss the old Tyrael’s voice. It’s not quite the same without him.

  21. Skabooga says:

    Fun stuff, it reminds me of the animated cutscenes from Myth.

    but does it have a narrator who’s trying way too hard to be Sean Connery?

    I would pay good money for a Diablo game narrated by Griswald the Blacksmith.

  22. Wetworks says:

    So now Diablo is Kevin Spacey in Seven. On the bright side we may get a chance to fight Imperius

  23. yabonn says:

    Blizzard seems pretty much incapable of distinguishing between melodrama and full-on camp

    As someone who played translated version of Blizzard games – name generators and dodgy dubbing and all : you have no idea.

  24. SkittleDiddler says:

    That halo must weigh a fucking ton.

  25. Premium User Badge

    lowprices says:

    Whenever anyone talks about Diablo having a story all I can hear is “CLICKCLICKCLICKCLICKCLICKCLICK.”

    • Xzi says:

      Well the Blizzard writing staff was never that great, but most of the Diablo/Warcraft books were actually pretty good because they weren’t written by those people. I don’t know why they didn’t just hire on Richard A. Knaak to do all the writing for their games as well.

      • Balm says:

        Because parts written by knaak are the worst parts.

        • Xzi says:

          Well I liked the Sin War trilogy and the War of the Ancients trilogy. Granted, his writing isn’t the most elaborate of styles, but at least he holds continuity well and knows how to be gripping.

  26. PearlChoco says:

    Is Evil Back?

  27. f1x says:

    Thats was pretty much entertaining,

    why so hateful?

    oh, nevermind, its from a big studio

    • MD says:

      Man, if you seriously got a ‘hateful’ vibe from this post, I suggest you read it again!

  28. nekomancer says:

    Disappointing animation quality – why not hire some competent studio to do it? *cough* GONZO or BONES (might be best choice, if everything was possible)…

    Seriously, compared to this, even Naruto looks like Richard III.

    • Brosepholis says:

      There’s a fad for hiring a japanese studio to make an anime of your {game|movie} these days. I don’t approve. The animators don’t care about it, they don’t bring their A game, and the producers try to save as much as they can to fund their own more interesting projects. You end up with seriously subpar stuff like this or the Iron Man anime (that one was by Madhouse, who nobody can accuse of being incompetent).

      Basically what I’m saying is, when you hire some guys to make a product they don’t care about then expect shitty results. Same goes for games based on movies.

      • Cactuscat222 says:

        Except this wasn’t outsourced to some japanese animation studio. This was done by the animation studio Titmouse Inc., from the USA.

  29. UncleLou says:

    Does absolutely nothing for me, don’t like the style. I am just glad it doesn’t have anything to do with the game whatsoever.

  30. Miltrivd says:

    This was meh on so many levels, I still don’t understand why voice acting has to be so awful on US-Europe made cartoons. Animation was lackuster and so was the drawing, there was a huge contrast on level of detail everywhere, made it feel like something made on flash with premade backgrounds.

  31. asshibbitty says:

    lol high budget. This was done by sixteen North Koreans in a room who were paid in rice.

    • Ahtaps says:

      If the production studio behind Metalocalypse and the creator of Aeon Flux are sixteen Koreans paid with rice then yes.

      • Xzi says:

        Yeah Titmouse I know does other things on Adult Swim as well, but production doesn’t count for much. This was closer to a comic book than an animated piece as far as actual moving frames were concerned, the writing was meh at best, and the only decent voice actor was Deckard Cain.

      • asshibbitty says:

        It has that special stiff feel to it. The overseas production section lists two studios, one is dead the other is in ROK, ROK studios outsource to DPRK. For details:

        http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Korea/IC14Dg03.html

        I only checked it after I read you comment btw.

  32. BZAGENIUS says:

    Bunch of downers in this thread man. This was just something fun that they wanted to do to hype the release via their ‘Darkness Falls, Heroes Rise’ site.

    The gave the idea to Titmouse who said that they were massive fans of the Diablo Franchise, and wanted to put their own spin on it.

    It’s not supposed to be serious business. I thought it was pretty cool.

  33. DK says:

    Wow these are some of the worst Angel names I’ve ever heard. With the exception of Tyrael, every single one is 100% pure cliché.

    Plus the whole “story” is down the toilet anyway, along with the flavour of the setting. So much for having a mature setting where the characters don’t have their arc written in their names. Hello “ObviousTraitor McAngelton” and “CartoonVillain dos Diablos”.

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  35. frightlever says:

    Must go watch Bakshi’s Wizards again.

  36. SwiftRanger says:

    “Diablo’s lore was never particularly gripping, so I doubt I’ll have any real qualms with whatever direction this newfound focus on story takes so long as it doesn’t get in the way of my incredibly violent safari through the natural habitat of the wild loot pinata. “

    Euhm, sounds like someone didn’t click on the tomes found in both previous games. :) Diablo’s lore is simple and spread around in small pockets but it doesn’t need to be more than that. It’s nearly always well told, even in this animation short which at last gives the Angiris Council more of a face. The general theme of Sanctuary (Angels vs Demons, humans being pawns to both) is still the most compelling of any Blizzard universe and I have a suspicion that even Metzen realizes that, he is not the only one guarding the lore as well. This animation gives a little more weight to the game and explains a couple of things which happened at the end of the Sin War trilogy.

    Agree on the comment about Tyrael’s voice though.

  37. Nesetalis says:

    I have only one question… when did Cain turn in to a white guy? :|