Despite Diablo III's commercial and critical success, the action role-playing game has attracted criticism for losing focus on what some felt made the series unique. Notable among its critics is David Brevik, who co-founded Diablo creator Blizzard North and left the studio in 2003 to form Flagship Games. Brevik explained some of his issues with the game, created by Blizzard's main studio in Irvine, California, in an interview with IncGamers.
"When Blizzard North shut down they lost a ton of experience with why the Action RPG works and what about it works. That's really difficult to recover from," Brevik said. He listed several changes, such as a greater focus on narrative, modifications to the loot system, and the implementation of an auction house as alterations that reflected differing priorities. He said those priorities did not always line up with what fans wanted from the next Diablo.
"I am sad because people are outraged and, you know, some of the decisions they have made are not the decisions I would make…" Brevik said. "I am also a little happy, which I hate to say. It shows that the people that were involved in Diablo really did matter, and so I am happy that it has come to light how talented that group was and how unique and special that group was."
Some current Blizzard employees were displeased by the interview, taking to a public Facebook post to commiserate about Brevik's comments. While many of the comments have since been deleted, Kotaku has posted a screen capture of their initial reaction. Andrew Silvernail, who was credited in Diablo III, pointed out that Brevik's first project after Blizzard was the unevenly received Hellgate: London. Diablo III lead designer Jay Wilson was more direct, saying, "F*** that loser."
GameSpot requested comment on the exchange from Blizzard, but did not receive a response as of press time. Beyond his decrying of the Diablo founder, Wilson today announced a patch for the game that adds 100 post-cap "Paragon Levels" to increase end-game progression and address issues with the game's loot.