Gameplanet: The new artwork for the male Demon Hunter looks great, what’s the inspiration behind his design?
Christian Lichtner: Thank you! One of the main goals behind the Demon Hunter class in general was to really set it apart from the other classes and to really have a much darker vibe than the other classes. So for a gamer who wants to play these classes or play the game itself, to have real variety between what appeals to them the most and what class they really want to riff off of.
In the case of the male Demon Hunter, the goal was really to have a dark and mysterious class that is sort of living on the fringes of Sanctuary, and in a lot of ways they’re the only ones who are really aware of the struggle between heaven and hell, and what’s really going on. They’re sort of walking the line between those two worlds.
And of course we wanted to make sure they look strange, so that was another thing that was really very important to us: Obviously the class is dual wielding crossbows. With the male version we went a little more hard edged on it, a little more aggressive even than the female Demon Hunter. We do try to make sure that the class looks the same, so that you definitely recognise that this is a Demon Hunter, but we also want to make sure that between the male and the female there’s enough of a difference so that you feel like you’re getting bang for your buck in terms of playing one or the other.
From a gameplay point of view the two genders will play the same but we definitely from a visual point of view wanted to make sure that they had a little more character intrinsically to each one of them: There’s the cloak and the dark hood, and the glowing eyes, so it’s definitely a more badass-looking class.
Last but not least, what we were really shooting for was to have the class look a little lighter, maybe not to be as heavily armoured, to still have a very quick and agile look and feel that you would expect from a ranged class.
Jason Bender: Yeah and I’d like to add that the light look really reflects the way he plays mechanically. All of our classes try to deliver on a particular fantasy, and have mechanics that support that. The Demon Hunter is definitely one of our lightest. He’s a very manoeuvrable character, he fires from long distances most of the time. When they’re up close they usually try to leave a trap and jump out, so that light armour and that very deliberate look is something that’s really keeping in line with the fantasy of the class.
Gameplanet: You mentioned that the Demon Hunters are the only ones who are really aware of the conflict between heaven and hell, could you elaborate on the lore behind the Demon Hunter for us? Do they have a relationship with Tyrael, for example?
Lichtner: We can certainly iterate on the things we have said in the past: The Demon Hunter is the one class that really Gets It. They’ve been studying this conflict for a long time, they’ve been studying demons, hunting them, looking at their writings, trying to decipher the meaning behind it – so in a lot of ways they’re the class that really understands what’s going on. Outside of that I’m not sure I really want to say any more!
Bender: I can say just a little bit: We talked about the war in Sanctuary, that war is coming to Sanctuary, and the Demon Hunter is exactly the kind of person who would say “I told you so.” They’ve been studying the weaknesses of the demons, they’re concerned as to why they’re here, I would go so far as to say they hate demons and they’re very obsessed with fighting them. So when the war comes, they’re not surprised, they’re ready for it. It’s up to them to get everyone else up to speed and to kill as many as they can to try and help Sanctuary survive.
Gameplanet: Looking at the artwork again, the Demon Hunter’s right shoulder guard is decidedly demonic in appearance, what’s the significance of that, would it be fair to call the Demon Hunter “embedded”?
Lichtner: Yeah very much so! It was one of the things we first talked about when we began working on this class – an allusion visually but later also from a gameplay point of view as well, we really wanted to have a class that was very dark, one that would look into the face of danger. I use the expression “if you look into the abyss, sometimes the abyss looks back into you.” So there’s a bit of that going on where they’ve studied the dark arcane arts, so much so that a bit of it got left over.
That’s not to say that they’re not heroic, not a hero class. They’re definitely on the side of the good guys, but sometimes when you’re fighting really bad things, a little bit of that rubs off on you and you can’t help but be changed by that.
Bender: That’s something we’ve reflected in the mechanics as well, this class has more duality than the other classes. We’ve split their kit into the idea of discipline – prepared, deliberate, precise – a character who builds his traps ahead of time and knows every weakness of his enemy and exactly what he has to do to take it out. Then there’s hatred, this almost blind drive – they can’t stop themselves from getting involved which means they’re probably angry at themselves for having that taint and it makes it worse. So they’re obsessed in that way. Their skills match that: They have some very aggressive skills that come out of that hatred school, and they have discipline skills, that deliberate, intentional preparedness.