Diablo III's Boyarsky On 'Thick Skin,' Listening To Fans

In Gamasutra's latest feature interview, Diablo III game world designer Leonard Boyarsky talks about how his experiences working on the Fallout series
In Gamasutra's latest feature interview, Diablo III game world designer Leonard Boyarsky talks about how his experiences working on the Fallout series at Interplay prepared him for the vocal fans of Blizzard's RPG universe. "You would definitely have to have thick skin, because there's always going to be people who don't like what you've done or are objecting to your latest decisions. So, you get used to it after a while," says Boyarsky, who is currently working on the eagerly-anticipated followup to Diablo II. The fan base doesn't just throw slings and arrows: they're passionately vocal about what direction they want to see it go. Fan feedback is a "double-edged sword," says Boyarsky. "It's very helpful to hear what people have to say, how people see things and what people want to see from a franchise, whether it's one that you created or whether it's one that you're carrying on." However, he says, "It's not to say that we always have to blindly follow what the fans want, but it's nice to know what the fans are looking for, if that makes sense. [It's important to know] what people are expecting, what people are looking for, the questions that they feel that they need to have answers to. Because if you don't deliver on at least some of those things, then you've kind of failed." Of course, hardcore Fallout fans are well known for their passion, and this is an issue Boyarsky dealt with -- and learned from. "The Fallout community is extremely vocal and extremely opinionated about what they want or don't want, so that's kind of prepared me for the Diablo community, which is also very passionate about the game. They have distinct wants, likes, and dislikes for the series. But overall, I mean, we've gotten a really good response from everything we've showed and the stuff we've done." Given his history, he's not so willing to talk about Bethesda's own take on the series he helped create: "They put their heart and soul into it. It's not easy making games. [laughs] You know, I'm not going to come along and second-guess what other people have done. The people who made Diablo before me could say the same thing about what we're doing with Diablo, so I wish them all the best of luck with what they're doing with it." The full interview, in which Boyarsky discusses at length why and how he's evolved the direction of the story of the Diablo franchise, is live now on Gamasutra.

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