It was no coincidence that Diablo II first arrived at the height of the nu-metal phenomenon, when crunching sounds were ruling the charts and invading the mainstream. “I remember being in college around that time,” says Dustin. “You could see metal beginning to influence developers. Composers were using rock and metal albums as the influence for the entirety of their game scores, drawing from that ambience and mood. Then you had the more aggressive aspects of metal coming through in marketing materials. Diablo II was definitely part of that.”
When it came to the remaster, Dustin and many of his colleagues would turn to metal as a soundtrack from which they could draw inspiration. Having grown up just across state lines from their Richmond base, Virginia’s Lamb Of God are one of his favourite bands, along with deathcore outfits like Aborted and Shadow Of Intent. Listening to Lorna Shore’s To The Hellfire, he feels, perfectly matched the OTT approach to the imagery in Diablo II: Resurrected. “We went more blood, more gore, more fire, more pentagrams. We really juiced it up.”
Dustin enthuses that given the chance, he’d love to see the “moody” mid-paced sounds of Ghost layered over Diablo, while Cradle Of Filth would also be a darkly delightful match: “The screams? The shrills? The mood? The atmosphere? It’s all Diablo.” Even getting to do an interview like this to introduce the team’s work to a specifically metal audience, he tells us, is a genuine privilege.
“As a lifelong metal fan, getting to work on this title – and getting to talk about it with Kerrang! – feels like everything coming together. I would definitely say that Diablo II is the most heavy metal game ever…”