Diablo wasn't even meant to be in Diablo 3

Diablo from Diablo 3 cinematic
(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

What you need to know

  • The Diablo Podcast runs weekly on Youtube and later on Spotify and other podcast platforms.
  • Their most recent guest Jay Wilson was a lead designer on Diablo 3 and revealed that Diablo was not initially penned to appear in the game.
  • This is interesting news as fans are wondering if Diablo will make an appearance in Diablo 4.

The launch date for Diablo 4 draws ever closer, and we get more hungry for demon-slaying action as the days go by. In my agonizing wait for new Diablo material, I've found my need for Diablo content satiated for the time being with books, and fantastic podcasts such as Shattered Soulstone and Pez Radar's favorite, The Diablo Podcast hosted by HCXanth and Neinball.

In the Diablo Podcast's most recent episode, we had the pleasure of hearing from one of Diablo 3's lead designers, Jay Wilson, about his experience working on the game. Wilson revealed in the podcast some details about Diablo 3 that may surprise some fans, Diablo wasn't initially planned to be in the game at all. No Diablo in Diablo? 

While Diablo has never really been the most fearsome foe in the game, at least for me, to not include him at all would be quite the omission given him being the game's namesake. So far though we've heard nothing from Blizzard to indicate Diablo will appear in Diablo 4, as they seem to be concentrating their efforts on Lilith being the main antagonist.

Diablo 3 originally had a different direction

Diablo 3 Boss encounter

Fancy seeing you here, Diablo? (Image credit: Jennifer Young - Windows Central)

In the interview, Wilson was asked if given the focus on Inarius and Lilith in the story of Diablo 4, were these characters ever considered for the Diablo 3 story. Wilson confirmed that while Inarius wasn't considered, Lilith did come up as a cool character they would discuss when planning the story, but ultimately she wasn't integrated.

Initially, before Jay Wilson was brought onto the Diablo 3 project, there were no plans to even put Diablo himself in the base game, but Wilson was keen to make sure his first involvement with the franchise wasn't going to be remembered for omitting a feared and beloved character.

Jay added "When I came on to the project, the plan was that Diablo wouldn’t be in it, and I was like, hmmm, no, my first Diablo game is not going to be Diablo-less. So, I focused a lot on that and I loved Adria so that’s one of the reasons we brought her back.”

Wilson did give props to the Diablo 4 team for having the guts to not include Diablo in a Diablo game so far, but said that Lilith is such a strong character he believes they've made the right move so far. "They chose a great villain," he said "as long as you've got a good enough villain to stand out, I think they do."

Diablo 3 famously split the fanbase down the middle with its drastically different appearance to the previous games, but it's arguably been the most commercially successful iteration of the games. With Diablo 2 purists still holding out to play another Diablo title, it may just be that Blizzard decided Diablo 4 was the game to go in a completely new direction for the series. 

Diablo's appearances in the games so far

Unsurprisingly, Diablo, The Lord of Terror, was the final boss of the original game in 1997. The other Prime Evils Mephisto and Baal do not appear in the series until Diablo 2. Diablo is the youngest of the Prime Evils and seeks to corrupt humanity by possessing a human and unleashing minions of Hell upon the town of Tristram. The house prices in Tristram must be an absolute steal, as the demon crime rate in this neighborhood is off the scale.

Overall Diablo is the main foe in the game, and supposedly the most fearsome of the Prime Evils as his ambition knows no bounds. 

Diablo 2 Resurrected Boss Fight with Diablo

It's getting hot in here (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

In Diablo 2, whether you play the original or Resurrected, you fight your way past Andariel, Duriel, and Mephisto (Lilith's Demon Daddy) to arrive at Act 4 and take on Diablo in the Chaos Sanctuary. Prior to the DLC Lord of Destruction being released he was the ultimate boss. He seeks to free his brothers Mephisto and Baal from captivity in their soul stones and reunite with them in the depths of Hell.

When Lord of Destruction released introducing Act 5 to Diablo 2 in 2002, Baal became the final boss, and the last of the brothers to be slain. Over and over and over in hundreds, upon thousands, upon millions of Baal runs by the community. Poor Baal.  


Can we take a break from this Eternal Conflict and get brunch? (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

In Diablo 3, the base game was released in May 2012 and it seems ultimately the decision was made to include Diablo after all, as you take him on in Act 4, the final act of the game (at the time).

Not really learning from his past transgressions, he again possesses the body of a human and seeks to also absorb the other evils and become the one ultimate Prime Evil. You can probably guess how that works out for him. Act 5 was added to the game in 2014 making Malthael Angel of Death, the artist formally known as the Archangel of Wisdom, our final enemy. 

It would be fascinating to know how the original story of Diablo 3 would have been shaped without Diablo, but given there are some huge characters in these games it's not all that far-fetched.

Will Diablo be in Diablo 4?

Given the sheer amount of marketing prowess that's gone behind showcasing Lilith as the big bad for Diablo 4 (or Inarius depending on how you see the tale so far), it's unlikely that Diablo will feature in the game at release. Blizzard hasn't indicated anything yet though it would be an impressive twist.

Some fans have speculated that the skull Lilith is most often depicted holding is that of Diablo's, and others her brother Lucion — but the jury is out for now.

Diablo 4 Statue Lilith

Lilith holding the skull of..... (Image credit: Windows Central | Jez Corden)

With the Diablo franchise morphing into almost an MMO-light, with Battle Passes and their recent revelation that there will be new story content every three months, it's highly likely that Diablo will feature in DLC somewhere down the line. After all, what is Diablo, without Diablo himself?

If you want to know more specifics on the lore of Diablo, I have an in-depth run down coming soon, but in the meantime do check out The Diablo Podcast, they have some fantastic insight into the Diablo franchise from lore to season discussions and general hype for Diablo 4. You can find them on Youtube here

Diablo 4: Ultimate Edition

Diablo 4: Ultimate Edition
The lastest installment of the legendary Blizzard action RPG. The Ultimate Edition of Diablo 4 comes with a bunch of cosmetics, the Premium Battle Pass and 20 tier skips. 

Buy on:  Xbox|PC(Battle.net)

Jennifer Young

Jen is a News Writer for Windows Central, focused on all things gaming and Microsoft. Anything slaying monsters with magical weapons will get a thumbs up such as Dark Souls, Dragon Age, Diablo, and Monster Hunter. When not playing games, she'll be watching a horror or trash reality TV show, she hasn't decided which of those categories the Kardashians fit into. You can follow Jen on Twitter @Jenbox360 for more Diablo fangirling and general moaning about British weather. 

  • Jez Corden
    ngl I always thought they kinda shoe-horned him in there.
  • Jennifer Young
    Jez Corden said:
    ngl I always thought they kinda shoe-horned him in there.
    I know right? Ew Diablo why do you keep showing up, you're so needy. God.