Diablo 4: The challenge of all dangers! Why is the Vessel of Hatred expansion a test for players… and for the development team? Rod Fergusson and Brent Gibson answer us

During the Xbox Summer Game Fest conference, the first DLC for Diablo IV entitled Vessel of Hatred was revealed via a very striking trailer. Neyrelle suffers the full brunt of the consequences of her actions in the main quest and there is no doubt that this expansion will be very dark. We were able to speak with Brent Gibson, director of Diablo IV: Vessel of Hatred, and Rod Fergusson, general manager of the license, to find out more.

When creating an extension, it is important for developers to have a real strong theme, an angle that allows it to be a unique experience rather than just additional content. With Diablo 4: Vessel of Hatred, it was obvious that the atmosphere was not going to be celebratory. Sealing an entity like Mephisto cannot be done without consequences and if Lilith had her reasons for becoming the main antagonist of Diablo IV, Mephisto is nothing but hatred, pure and simple. So here we have a tone, but still not a theme.

Jungle is Massive

Brent Gibson then enlightens us: the main theme of Diablo 4 Vessel of Hatred is the jungle. This dense and humid biome undoubtedly meets what the developers want to express with this expansion. Difficult to practice, viscous, populated by dangerous creatures, in the collective imagination, the jungle is often associated with tedious adventure and permanent danger. But the jungle is also a real test for the development of the DLC. As Gibson tells us, a jungle is first and foremost a canopy and in an action-RPG seen from above, this is practically impossible to represent. All the design work therefore focused on powerful and omnipresent, even invasive vegetation as well as an appropriate bestiary, but also on the new class Sacresprit, greatly inspired by the places. Mixing ancestral magic and powers linked to the animal kingdom, the sacrispirit seems to have the codes of a shaman/druid on paper but the little “tropical forest” touch should give it its own characteristics. It was important for the team to have a class that perfectly fit the jungle theme and we can already imagine a playstyle around traps and of course, animals. Familiars will also be very present in Vessel of Hatred: if we can already recover a familiar right now in Diablo 4, the expansion will push the idea with a more varied choice. Unfortunately, we have not yet had the opportunity to see this new class in action which will be revealed on June 18, even if leaks suggest skills linked to nature.

To return to our jungle, Rod Fergusson insists on the singularity of the biome, which had not been crossed since Diablo 2. The idea was clearly, from the start, to move away from what Diablo IV already offers of a visual and environmental point of view. The medieval castles, ruined turrets and small clearings may have their charm (if you can call it charm in Diablo), it was important to stand out. The concept artists were therefore able to give their all to providing an original context and the development of Diablo 2 Resurrected was obviously of great help at this level.

Mephisto, life is beautiful

As indicated at the start of the article, the other big change in this expansion is in the main antagonist, Mephisto. As the trailer shown during the Xbox conference suggests, Vessel of Hatred will be violent, even visceral, in perfect representation of its “new” big bad. As some players have already pointed out, it was possible to understand Lilith’s actions, or at least the initiating will. The character clearly did not see herself as the “villain” of the story, but as the true bearer of a cause, regardless of the means to achieve it. Such an antagonist remains, relatively speaking, a vehicle for a certain form of hope. Certainly the main game Diablo 4 is far from the world of care bears and the blood flows like a river, but there remains a certain coherent logic in the pursuit of Lilith led by the player throughout the adventure. With Mephisto, we have more to do with an incarnation than with a real person. Hate therefore, without any other form of reflection or reasoning. Any hope of redemption or even semblance of humanity is automatically impossible. It is therefore obvious that the plot of Vessel of Hatred can only sink into more and more horrible depths and the jungle seems to be the perfect biome to represent the action of becoming entangled in horror with no chance of returning. , behind the brambles, under the canopy.

The wait will be long before the release of the Vessel of Hatred expansion, scheduled for October 8 and corresponding to Season 6. We are currently at the start of Season 4 for your information. In the meantime, players will certainly have been able to benefit from new content additions, but will also have been able to observe out of the corner of their eye a certain Path of Exile 2, the first public tests of which will then have begun. An obvious competition which remains healthy according to Rod Fergusson, who for his part says he is happy to see the “Diablo-style” action-RPG genre on the rise. He even says he is inspired by what other games can offer, including Last Epoch, officially released last February. Let’s hope that this emulation allows Vessel of Hatred to offer a memorable experience because its price of €40 will inevitably push players to expect a lot from it.



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