Space! When we're not jumping from the edge of it, we're setting our games in it. And when we're not setting our games in it, Blizzard are at the very least prototyping Diablo clones in it. So says David Craddock, author of unofficial Blizzard biography Stay Awhile and Listen. Starblo, as it was delightfully codenamed, would feature new and exotic planets instead of acts and dungeons, bizarre alien wildlife instead of skeletal demonlords and lasers instead of swords. It was sadly - much like the Game Boy port of Diablo - consigned to the hack 'n' slash history books.
Speaking with Shacknews, Craddock revealed that Starblo was a project worked on by the same prototyping team that almost brought us that handheld Diablo spin-off. "After D2, the company split into separate teams: a Diablo team, and a 'We love Diablo but it's time to try something new' team," Craddock says. "They started and scrapped more than half a dozen ideas before a few team members suggested making a Diablo clone, but set on a space opera stage.
Starblo featured familiar degrees of killing and looting, but with a sci-fi twist. It also would've featured customisable spaceships, which Diablo 3 definitely didn't have.
"The project earned the nickname Starblo for its mix of a space setting and the action-RPG formula that made Diablo so successful. Like Diablo 2, Starblo would take place over several acts, but rather than journey across a single world, players would board their customizable spaceship and travel to new planets, killing and looting the space creatures they found there."
Apparently, according to Craddock, a playable version of Starblo could exist somewhere in the world. "By the time Dave Brevik and the Schaefers left Blizzard North in summer 2003, the Starblo team had produced a few playable builds of the game, but still hadn't come up with a proper name."
How is Starblo not a proper name?