Diablo 3 music

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The sound effects and music in a computer game might not be as important as the visuals, but they are a major factor in the player's enjoyment and immersion in the experience, especially when done right. 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.

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. Also, reports from players who have gotten their hands and ears on the game have been quite positive.

Diablo III Audio Team

A few of the key creators for Diablo III's sound and music.

  • 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.

Diablo III Music

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

A forum-user by the name of FlamangoHellfire assembled all of the samples available as of late 2009 and shared them in a forum thread. [1] The only full orchestral piece is the World of Sanctuary, which Blizzard released as a preview via iTunes.

Atmospheric Soundscapes

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:

Diablo III Movies

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

Diablo's Musical Influences

Russel Brower replied to a fan's email about the Diablo III music with some great details. A partial quote. [2]

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.

Diablo III's Sound Integration

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

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

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.