As any of you who regularly read this column might have guessed, I’m a big fan of Blizzard games. Since playing a demo of Orcs & Humans off of a Shuckysoft shareware CD, Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo titles have been murdering my social life. In fact I often wonder why I wasn’t born in South Korea, where my enthusiasm for Blizzard games probably wouldn’t match the skill of professional SC players, but would also not completely blow my chances of snatching tail.
In short I’ll capitalize on any excuse to talk about a Blizzard game, and this past weekend gave me plenty as Blizzard flexed their creative muscle yet again.
Maybe more Diablo fans should have been tipped off when Blizzard purchased the fan site domain Diablo3.com in early May, but now the news is officially out of the bag. At the fourth annual Blizzard Worldwide Invitational, held this year in Paris, the Irvine, CA game developer unveiled Diablo 3 with the release of a cinematic trailer, a 20-minute gameplay video, and a slew of Diablo lore facilitated through that long-lived NPC Deckard Cain. After nearly eleven and a half years since the original’s release, the game that spawned Battle.net is finally back.
But the new announcement of Diablo 3 isn’t just good news for strictly gamers. Whether it’s an MMO, an RTS or a role-playing adventure, Blizzard doesn’t just deliver a polished, well-balanced game, it delivers a great story. Every major Blizzard title has been based on extensive narrative, on a unique mythos that spawns manga comics and full-fledged novels long after their PC counterparts have moved from the new release shelf. Outside of the games themsevles the Diablo universe has been shaped by Mel Odom and long-time Blizzard collaborator / Dragonlance author Richard A. Knaak. Author of the most recent Diablo series, The Sin War Trilogy, Knaak is passionate about the dark, gothic horror tones that characterize the serious, hell-versus-heaven themes Diablo is built upon. If you’re having a hard time waiting for Diablo 3’s release date to be announced, let alone the game itself, check out Simon & Schuster’s Diablo Archive, which collects the very first Diablo novels including Odom’s The Black Road, Knaak’s Legacy of Blood and Kingdom of Shadows, and Robert B. Marks’ hard-to-find Demonsbane.
While the announcement of Diablo 3 is pretty damn awesome in its own right, can the news be indicative of something even greater? Last June Legendary Pictures’ website had a “Diablo” movie project listed under their “In Development” section for a hot minute, though it was promptly removed after the folks at Blizzplanet caught wind of it. For a game developer that’s effectively supplanted E3 with its own yearly, company-specific invitational, the next big medium to conquer is undoubtedly the big screen. With a Warcraft movie already in the works at Legendary Pictures how far off is a major motion picture based on the Diablo series? If the rumors are true, I can’t think of a better way to generate buzz than with the release of a new volume in the game franchise.
To all the other Diablo fans out there, I feel your pain in waiting. “Yet for those who battled the Prime Evils directly, the memory fades slowly and the wounds of the soul still burn."
New in Hardcover:
Saga of the Seven Suns: The Ashes of Worlds, Kevin J. Anderson (Orbit Books)
The seventh and concluding volume in Anderson’s acclaimed space opera series.
Malazan Book of the Fallen: Gardens of the Moon, Steven Erikson (Subterranean Press)
Signed limited edition illustrated by Michael Komarck.
Inda: King’s Shield, Sherwood Smith (DAW)
Time’s Tapestry: Weaver, Stephen Baxter (Ace)
John and Lobo: Slanted Jack, Mark L. Van Name (Baen)
Saturn’s Children, Charles Stross (Ace)
A novel about a near-extinct femmebot…sexy.
Laugh Lines, Ben Bova (Baen)
Vampire Earth: Fall with Honor, E.E. Knight (Roc)
Alien Race: Visual Development of an Intergalactic Adventure, Various (Design Studio Press)
Through an original sci-fi story, student illustrators Peter Chan, Justin Pichetrungsi and Thomas Tenery introduce readers to the fascinating world of concept design.
New in Paperback:
The Citadels: Sentinelspire, Mark Sehestedt (Wizards of the Coast)
Vampire Earth: Valentine’s Resolve, E.E. Knight (Roc)
Transitions: The Orc King, R.A. Salvatore (Wizards of the Coast)
Jill Kismet: Night Shift, Lillian Staintcrow (Orbit Books)
The Word of God: Or, Holy Writ Rewritten, Thomas M. Disch (Tachyon Publications)
Legends of the Riftwar: Murder in LaMut, Raymond E. Feist (Eos Books)
Deja Demon: The Days and Nights of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom, Julie Kerner (Berkley Trade)
The Dimension Next Door, Ed. by Martin H. Greenberg & Kerrie Hughes (DAW)
Sisters of the Moon: Dragon Wytch, Yasmine Galenorn (Berkley)
Features four novellas from R.A. Salvatore, Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, Keith Baker and Scott Mcgough.
The Promethean Age: Ink and Steel, Elizabeth Bear (Roc Trade)
Dreamer’s Cycle: Cry of Sorrow, Holly Taylor (Medallion Press)
Malazan Book of the Fallen: The Bonehunters, Steven Erikson (Tor)
The Long Price Quartet: A Betrayal in Winter, Daniel Abraham (Tor)
The X-Files Book of the Unexplained Vol. 1 & 2, Jane Goldman (Harper)
Marq’ssan Cycle: Stretto, L. Timmel Duchamp (Aqueduct Press)
Sandworms of Dune, Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson (Tor)
The Cthulu Mythos Encyclopedia, Daniel Harms (Elder Signs Press)
The Best of Jim Baen’s Universe 2, Ed. by Eric Flint (Baen)
New in Audiobook:
Great Science Fiction Stories: The Days Between, Allen M. Steele (Audiotext Unabridged)
The Lost Chronicles Vol. 2: Dragons of the Highlord Skies, Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman (Brilliance Audio Abridged)
Anita Blake Vampire Hunter: Cerulean Sins, Laurell K. Hamilton (Brilliance Audio Abridged)
Vorkosigan: Winterfair Gifts, Lois McMaster Bujold (Blackstone Audiobooks Unabridged)
This Hugo-nominated novella is read by Grover Gardner.
SPQR 1: The King’s Gambit, John Maddox Roberts (Blackstone Audiobooks Unabridged)
The Protector’s War, S.M. Stirling (Tantor Media Unabridged)
Read by Todd McLaren.
Journey to the Center of the Earth, Jules Verne (Blackstone Audiobooks Unabridged)
Capitalizing on the 3D summer film adaptation, read by Simon Prebble.
Women of the Underworld: Haunted, Kelley Armstrong (Tantor Media)
Read by Laural Merlington.
Women of the Underworld: Industrial Magic, Kelley Armstrong (Tantor Media Unabridged)
Also read by Laural Merlington.
The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexander Dumas (Blackstone Audiobooks Unabridged)
The classic tale of revenge, served up by reader John Lee.
Saga of Seven Suns: The Ashes of Worlds, Kevin J. Anderson (Brilliance Audio Unabridged)
Read by David Colacci.
Already Dead, Charlie Huston (Blackstone Audiobooks Unabridged)
Read by Scott Brick.
Vicious Circle, Mike Carey (Tantor Media Unabridged)
Check back next Monday for all the latest info on current sci-fi, fantasy, and horror book releases. Questions or comments? Hit me up at Pferrara.firstname.lastname@example.org.