Diablo 3 PS3 Commercials Bring The Horror
Sony has launched an advertising campaign for the upcoming PS3 release of Diablo 3. The company decided to take an unusual approach with the ads and promote D3 as a horror game.
Each clip looks like the sort of found-footage horror films regularly hitting theaters these days. In the first ad, a camcorder catches a PS3 pulsing with dark energy. In the second, a gamer wakes up to find a girl standing in front of the same PS3. As they approach, the girl turns and we see she's possessed by something.
The series ends with a video called "Trapped." The gamer with the camcorder is running through a dingy hallway. A pentagram, the number "1337" and the words "there is no cow level" are scrawled on the walls. He comes to a table with three objects: a knife, a hammer and a PS3 controller. He decides to pick up the controller and face the red-eyed demons chasing him down.
My main takeaway from this advertising campaign is that I never realized how unscary Diablo 3 and the rest of the series is. I knew it wasn't scary but it was something I never actually thought about. On paper, it sounds like it would be frightening: you and maybe a few friends head into dark dungeons and get attacked by hordes of undead and demons.
In practice, though, D3 is less scary than that butler in Tomb Raider 2. You're not running away from those hordes of monsters; you're throwing yourself in the middle of them and laughing your ass off while blood, guts and loot fly everywhere. I hope that PS3 gamers uninitiated with Diablo know that it's a loot-driven hack-and-slasher rather than some sort of Paranormal Activity-inspired survival horror game.
This has me thinking, though: what would it take to make Diablo scary? Assume that you want to keep all of the main elements of the series intact: the hordes of monsters, the absurd power of the player characters, the piles of loot, and the co-op. What could you do to make it scary?
A good start might be to ditch the isometric camera. I don't think you can really frighten a player with a perfect bird's eye view of the battleground. Forcing them into a first-person perspective that allows enemies to ambush them could make for a very tense experience. I wonder whether Hellraid - pretty much a first-person Diablo - will be able to offer any scares?
Diablo 3 will hit the Xbox 360 and PS3 on September 3rd. A PS4 version is also in development but currently undated. The console editions will come loaded with new features, including a redesigned UI and local co-op.
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