It's pretty rare that the moment an entire video game genre was conceived can be pinpointed to the second. But David Brevik, lead programmer, designer and co-creator of Diablo, did just that during an anecdote-packed postmortem session at the Game Developers Conference earlier this month.
Brevik, along with the brothers Max and Erich Schaefer, had been fooling around with the idea for the game for years: a dark, Gothic role-playing game with procedurally generated dungeons, influenced heavily by Rogue, Nethack and the other early roguelikes. Brevik, also a huge fan of the squad tactics game X-Com, had always insisted that it should be turn-based.
Even after their young Bay Area studio - then known as Condor - had partnered with Blizzard to develop the game in earnest, Diablo remained a turn-based game, governed by a complex system where each turn was divided into short units of time, and different spells and actions would take different lengths of time to complete. Blizzard, then riding high on the success of the first Warcraft, was enthusiastic about the game, but insisted that it would be better if it ran in real-time.
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