Diablo 4 update teases “five distinct regions and hundreds of dungeons”

The latest Diablo 4 quarterly update (opens in new tab) focuses on the dungeons and biomes of Sanctuary, with art director Chris Ryder promising “five distinct regions and hundreds of dungeons” featuring dynamic regions and themes.

Ryder described the “dual pillars” of Diablo 4‘s aesthetic as “old masters” and “a return to darkness.” The former refers to the techniques of painters like Rembrandt and how Blizzard sought to integrate the attention to detail, range of tones, and variety of colors seen in classical works. Today’s art blog may not be the best showcase for that last one because most of the featured environments are as brown as the shooters of the 2000s, but varied and lively too. 

The “return to darkness” motif will likely ring more bells for longtime Diablo fans. Blizzard wants to recapture the dangerous, dark, medieval Gothic atmosphere of Sanctuary, and it’s beefed up its lighting and weather tech, among others, to help flesh it out. Ryder says Diablo 4 is aiming “for believability, not realism” by giving regions and biomes clear, consistent, but fantastical themes, and stresses that “weather and lighting play a more prominent visual role” than in previous games. 

This update features environments like the soggy Scosglen Coast, the Orbei Monastery maintained by Zakarum followers in the Dry Steppes, and the frigid militaristic settlement of Kyovoshad, where even high-class districts look like slums. With all these new and improved assets at its disposal, associate art director Brian Fletcher says Diablo 4 will deliver more and more varied dungeons “than ever before.” 

Diablo 4

(Image credit: Blizzard)

“In order to support over 150+ dungeons, we’ve had to shift the way we make environment art so that it’s flexible enough to be used in multiple locations and not just in a single dungeon,” Fletcher explains. Diablo 4 uses dynamic dungeon “tile-sets” that can be rearranged to create a broader range of environments, meaning Diablo 4 should feel less same-y as you grind your characters to infinity. 

“New dungeon features such as seamless floor transitions or traversals are exciting, but my favorite new feature is what we call tile-set transition scenes,” Fletcher says. ‘These are scenes that allow us to connect two different tile-sets together in the same dungeon. Imagine running through a crypt, only to find a hole in the wall that seamlessly leads you deeper into a vast underground cave network. All while keeping the randomized layouts that change with each dungeon run.” 

In the last Diablo 4 update, Blizzard outlined how loot and endgame grinds have evolved, and at the time it teased “a significant milestone” for the game’s development. More recently, global community lead Adam Fletcher acknowledged player feedback that blog posts like these can leave big questions largely unanswered and assured fans that Diablo 4’s testing phases will be more informative. 

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