We all know Diablo 3 moved in a slightly different direction from its predecessors. We also know Blizzard North had started working on Diablo 3 prior to closing down. Over the years numerous work in progress shots of that version have appeared and now there’s some more.
According to Oscar, these images are from around 2005 and he adds, “At the time, models were pretty low polygon and we were only using base color maps”. Despite this, I think you’ll agree these are pretty fantastic and in-line with the art style we perhaps would have expected to see in the third game. They are pretty rough but you can see the darker mood Blizzard North was going for.
Blizzard is currently looking for inspiration for Diablo IV and no doubt they will be digging through the older games. Hopefully, some of these older images will also be useful to get an idea of what was originally planned by Blizzard North.
Update: After some investigation by Jugulator, there are few more shots that have been added as a second batch below. These shots are interesting because this appears to be a development transition period moving the game from Blizzard North to Blizard South and you can see the style starts to change slightly as more polish is added to the levels. The shot with “Winterstone” was still from the Blizzard North period of development.