Diablo 4 Design Inspired by Horror Manga Artist Junji Ito, Developer Says

With Diablo 4’s announcement at this year’s Blizzcon, all eyes are on how Blizzard will evolve the popular hack-and-slash RPG franchise. Our hands-on gameplay impressions gave us an idea of how much darker this entry will be. In an interview with VG247, a Diablo 4 developer cites another major influence: The horror manga artist Junji Ito.


Discussing how Diablo 4 takes inspiration more so from Diablo 2’s “grounded” style (versus Diablo 3’s relatively more colorful aesthetic), Diablo 4 lead quest designer Jason Roberts cited Ito and the horror of settings within the real world.

“Junji Ito and some of the elements he brings in, kind of taking mundane things and twisting them, creating horror elements within that – then there’s the Cthulhu mythos and some of the horror elements there, especially the fear of the unknown,” Roberts told VG247.

Ito is most known for his work as a horror manga artist, creating terrifying short stories often focused on body horror, psychological terror, and the same sense of the unknowable that permeates much of Lovecraft’s writing. Some of his most famous stories include Uzumaki, a story about a town cursed by spiral shapes manifesting in various places, including human bodies. Another popular one is The Enigma of Amigara Fault, where people feel madly driven to step into holes cut into the side of a mountain, with each hole perfectly shaped for each individual person.


Looking at the cinematic trailer for Diablo 4, which features plenty of body horror, and even a giant cape made of sacrificial blood, it’s not hard to see the comparison.

Ito was also briefly involved with Hideo Kojima’s doomed Silent Hills project. IGN talked with famed film director Guillermo del Toro (who was also attached to Silent Hills) about why Ito would have been such an amazing influence for such a horrifying game.

Don’t forget to check out everything else announced at Blizzcon 2019, including Overwatch 2, and a new World of Warcraft expansion, and more.

The Blizzard China Controversy Explained

As for Diablo 4, don’t expect to see the full extent of Ito’s influence over it any time soon. Blizzard is saying they’re taking their time with this one, even by Blizzard standards, but we do know it's coming to PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Despite that, IGN got to play a little bit of Diablo 4, so make sure to check out our impressions. Also don’t forget to read up on what’s happening outside of Blizzcon, where protests have organized, criticizing Blizzard for its decision to ban a Hearthstone champion for his pro-Hong Kong comments.

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