Diablo 3 music

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Diablo 3 music and sound are essential elements of the gameplay experience. While the visuals are more heavily-promoted, as evidenced by screenshots and gameplay movies, the sound is very important in creating the proper atmosphere. The Diablo series is well known for its excellent music and sound effects, much of those courtesy of the hard work by Blizzard North's Matt Uelmen. (Matt also contributed a lot of music to the WoW Burning Crusade expansion.)

The team working on the sound for Diablo 3 did not work on previous titles in the series, but they are skilled industry professionals and they've got years of experience producing past Blizzard titles including World of Warcraft. There are numerous samples of the Diablo III music and sound effects available below, and more can be heard in gameplay movies.

Diablo III Audio Team[edit | edit source]

Two individuals are heading up the Diablo III sound and music production:

  • Russell Brower is the Director of Audio and Video at Blizzard Entertainment. He is composing much of the music for Diablo III.
  • Joseph Lawrence is the Lead Sound Designer for Diablo III. He is creating many of the sound effects, and contributes to the music as well.

Iteration During the Beta Test[edit | edit source]

Every aspect of Diablo III remained under development during the beta test, including the sounds and music. New musical tracks were regularly added to the log in screen during the beta, and the NPC dialogues, lore dialogues, and other sound effects were regularly modified as well.

A news post on Diablo.IncGamers.com documented two such changes, with before and after versions of the same two speeches by the Skeleton King.

Diablo III Music[edit | edit source]

Diablo III's music is fairly similar to the music of D1 and D2. Orchestral and sweeping, with more of a classical than a rock vibe. There's a lot of variety though, as the Middle Eastern style of music heard in the cinematic introduction demonstrated. Only a few samples have been heard pre-game, many of which can be listened to right through your browser.

Sample Compositions[edit | edit source]

The only full orchestral piece is the Diablo III Overture, which Blizzard released as a preview via iTunes. Excerpts from it can be heard in all of the Diablo III cinematics and gameplay movies.

Beta Music and Sounds[edit | edit source]

During the beta test, fans extracted all of the sound files from the game client. These included only the music for the first half of Act One, but there are several pieces for every area in the game, which adds up to quite a lot even from just the start of Act One.

More videos from this visual/music series can be seen here and here.

Atmospheric Soundscapes[edit | edit source]

The various "Environments" pages on the official Diablo III site have music and sounds from those areas playing in an endless loop in the background. Open a browser tab and let one of these run for a while, to get a real sense of what you'll hear on those levels.

These can be downloaded in mp3 form via the following links. Thanks to a Diablo.IncGamers.com forum-user by the name of FlamangoHellfire for assembling multiple versions of all of the samples available as of late 2009 and shared them in a forum thread.

Diablo III Movies[edit | edit source]

The various Diablo III movies, both cinematic and gameplay, include numerous sound effects and some amount of music as well.

Diablo's Musical Influences[edit | edit source]

Russel Brower replied to a fan's email about the Diablo III music with some great details. A partial quote. [1]

In regards to Diablo III -- all I can say is “you ain’t heard nothing yet!” The overture was conceived of as a way of making a big impression on both new and existing audiences—saying that this really is the next chapter. What’s not apparent in the overture, though, is that the first indication the world had of what the new game was at our Paris announcement last Summer was a single guitarist on a 12-string, rolling those classic opening chords -- not a speech, not a video, not a press release -- but the MUSIC. That iconic music! I’m very proud of this moment, as it not only says a lot about how great the D1, D2 & D2X music is, but how important and recognizable game music in general has become.

Finally, if you listen to Matt’s writing in D2X Lord of Destruction, you’ll hear not only most of the thematic material from the overture, but also the “Wagnerian” orchestration. Clearly, Matt was exploring new areas of musical expression in parallel with where the game’s story lead him. I believe that in playing D3 someday, you’ll hear homage to the iconic styles in all the right places, along with new music to go with some very exciting story developments and locales.

Too Subtle?[edit | edit source]

The beta prompted much fan discussion of the music, with many comments that it was very atmospheric and subtle, perhaps too much so. Bashiok replied to one such comment in early September 2011.[2]

Were you maybe expecting something besides what is generally the subdued mood-music in Diablo games? While World of Warcraft has huge epic orchestra pieces and driving melodies, Diablo music is far more subdued and moody. If you’re looking for big concert-hall filling scores, it’s just not what Diablo is about, although some bigger pieces certainly exist and you’ll get to enjoy them with the release of the game.

Diablo and its music is more about ambiance, as it’s a game that should mostly be filled with the sounds of slaughtering demons. Big epic tracks just aren’t very Diablo, and would very likely not mesh with the style of gameplay.

That’s just my guess as to what some people may be expecting. Diablo music is generally just mood-enhancing ambiance. But if you have other feedback, it’s welcome.

Diablo III's Sound Integration[edit | edit source]

The D3 Team haven't talked much about the sound or music of the game, but a few comments have been made. Community Manager Bashiok shared his feelings on the importance of the issue in a forum post from July 2009: [3]

I would love! to have a dedicated feature just to the sound engineering that goes into the game. It’s truly amazing how much of an abilities power and feeling comes from the audio.

Jay had an anecdote at ... the last BlizzCon I think, where he talked about Seismic Slam. It was one of if not the first Barbarian abilities created, actually first in the game entirely, and they were working on it and working on it, and just never really happy with it, and then one day the sound came back for it and they got it all working in game, and finally it all came together. It became this stunningly powerful feeling ability. I think that speaks volumes (nyuk nyuk) about how important sound is to the feeling of a game.

That same lesson is true through the development of the game. A new skills goes in and it seems awesome, it looks cool, but until you get the sound attached it just seems incomplete.

Just because a lot of the sounds are early renditions though, as amazing as they are, we’d need to make sure the audio engineers are far enough along where they’d want to showcase them. They’re perfectionists. So hopefully a sound feature is something we can do, but if I had to guess it won’t be for a while yet.

Sound Effects[edit | edit source]

Elsewhere, Bashiok confirmed that the sound effects were still being created in-house, in the state of the art sound studios in Blizzard's headquarters in Irvine, California: [4]

As far as I know we do all of our own foley work, and while we do have professional voice actors we have some employees that regularly lend their voices to the games.

Diablo II's Music[edit | edit source]

See the Sound page in the Diablo 2 section of this wiki for more details, including download links for the entire Diablo II soundtrack with commentary from composer Matt Uelmen.