Porting a game is not the same as simply emulating a game on a different platform, and Diablo III's developers at Blizzard are keen to make their first console port a good one, not simply a copy and paste job.
"We wanted to make sure that a console version of Diablo 3 felt like a console game," said senior designer Matthew Burger, chatting to OPM. "It didn’t feel like a PC game brought onto the console. For that to happen we needed to have a team that was a console dedicated team – console designers, console programmers, console developers – and it took time to make that team."
Much of the work has, obviously, gone into working with a different user interface, and tuning the game to make it feel absolutely natural on a controller rather than with keyboard and mouse in hand.
“What we didn’t want to do was emulate a PC game on the console, Burger continued. “So, for instance, you can’t plug in a USB keyboard and mouse and play Diablo 3 on PS3. It was really built for the controller. We put a lot work into how we laid out the abilities and the camera. It wouldn’t feel right.”
The team have also taken console gaming expectations into the mix, inserting and tweaking little features to appeal more to try and take advantage of the difference in platforms. He mentions the streamlining of the inventory system to compensate for the lack of a mouse, and talks about the addition of an evade move as part of console gaming genre convention.
WOn the PC version you don’t have evade, on the console version if use your right stick you can evade left, right, back and forward. In this type of game having a dodge roll is fairly traditional on the console so we wanted to make sure we had that. It also helped solve some of the differences between PC and console. On the PC if you click somewhere you’re character automatically goes there, on the console version, direct control, you have to actually manually go there. If you’re surrounded by enemies that might be a little more difficult, a little bit more tricky, so evade actually allows you to balance that out.
"Something we’ve done a little bit of work on is our boss fights – the presentation, some of the mechanics [have been changed] to bring them more in line with console boss fights which have a lot of tradition. So we’ve obviously kept an eye on how console games are and we mirrored that."
We'll have to wait to find out exactly what that means. Diablo III will be coming to both PS3 and PS4, but it's not been dated as yet.