According to the author of Blizzard's unofficial biography, the company was once working on a Diablo-style RPG set in space. Nicknamed 'Starblo,' the project reached a playable prototype stage, featuring customisable space ships, numerous planets to explore and dangerous aliens to loot.
"Have you ever finished a round of Diablo and said, 'You know, I bet that addictive slot-machine formula would be a blast in a science fiction setting?'" author David Craddock posited to Shack News. "Blizzard North thought so, too. After D2, the company split into separate teams: a Diablo team, and a 'We love Diablo but it's time to try something new' team. They started and scrapped more than half a dozen ideas before a few team members suggested making a Diablo clone, but set on a space opera stage."
"The project earned the nickname Starblo for its mix of a space setting and the action-RPG formula that made Diablo so successful," he said. "Like Diablo 2, Starblo would take place over several acts, but rather than journey across a single world, players would board their customizable spaceship and travel to new planets, killing and looting the space creatures they found there. By the time Dave Brevik and the Schaefers left Blizzard North in summer 2003, the Starblo team had produced a few playable builds of the game, but still hadn't come up with a proper name."
We'd, erm, rather like to play that. However, with Blizzard North now consigned to the history books and Max Schaefer long since departed for Runic Games, the project was almost certainly canned long ago.
Would you play Diablo in space?
Craddock's Blizzard biography - Stay Awhile And Listen - will release early next year.