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Diablo III Kanai’s Cube doubles as tribute to Blizzard artist who died of cancer

Diablo 3

Kanai’s Cube is the powerful new Diablo III artifact Ben wrote about on Tuesday. Like the Horadric Cube of Diablo II, it’s a transmutation device that promises to change the way players look at items as they drop.

But its name isn’t taken from an obscure corner of Diablo lore – rather a Blizzard staffer who’s sadly no longer with us.

“While we always knew that we wanted to implement a form of the Horadric Cube into Diablo III,” wrote Diablo assistant community manager Brandy ‘Nevalistis’ Camel, “we never anticipated the events that would lead to it becoming Kanai’s Cube.”

Kevin Kanai Griffith was a Diablo fan who joined the WoW team as an artist in 2005. His work can be found in Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Mists of Pandaria and the WoW trading card game. And from the beginning of production on Diablo III until after Reaper of Souls, he contributed “diverse and moody” environments.

“Kevin was an amazing mentor to everyone around him and a wonder to work with,” said Camel. “You couldn’t help but get passionate and pumped about your job when he was in the room.”

Griffith was diagnosed with the very rare Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma in February 2012, but continued to work on Diablo III when possible during treatment. His weather and day/night cycles show up in Adventure Mode.

“Though he fought valiantly, we lost our coworker and dear friend on October 17, 2014,” wrote Camel. “His spirit and legacy will always live on in the many games he’s touched with his stunning art, as well as the hearts of every individual who had the honor of knowing him.

“We miss you, Kevin. This Cube is for you.”