Erich Schaefer, one of the co-creators of the popular action role-playing game, Diablo, has joined Moon Beast Productions. The game industry veteran will serve as the studio’s Chief Creative Officer and, as a result, determine the creative direction of the company’s unannounced action role-playing game.
Alongside the company’s founders, Phil Shenk and Peter Hu, he will look to redefine the action RPG genre.
During an interview with Gamesbeat, Schaeffer revealed his motivation for joining the company, saying:
I'm extremely energised to be teaming up with Peter and Phil again. At this stage in my career, I'm pretty choosey. I want to work on projects that are fun and genuinely try to do something different. It’s impressive what the Moon Beast team has built in such a short time. It fired up my imagination with possibilities, and that's a huge part of why I wanted to come aboard.
While speaking about their unannounced RPG project, Shenk revealed that their ideas for revolutionizing the genre include a different approach to progression, as well as attempts to solve problems associated with player versus environment (PvE) games.
Hu stated that they – himself and Shenk – started Moon Beast to approach action RPGs from a different perspective. He revealed that many of the games in the genre can be traced back to the original Diablo title and that reinventing the genre with Schaeffer is a dream come true for him. He further revealed that in the little time that Schaefer has come onboard, they have already generated incredible ideas.
Despite their grand plans for the action-RPG genre, the Moon Beast team does not intend to change the genre completely. In Shenk’s words, "We want something that is familiar, but feels fresh and innovative. And it should be easier to operate as a service, with the best of both worlds."
Before his appointment at Moon Beast, Schaefer co-founded four different studios – Blizzard North, Runic Games, Double Damage Games, and Flagship Games. His most recent experience was at Runic Games where he operated as a Designer starting in 2008. His first foray as a founder was in 1996 when he co-founded Condor, Inc. with his brother Max Schaefer and friend David Brevik before it was renamed Blizzard North after its acquisition by Blizzard Entertainment.
Schaefer served as a Project Lead, Design Lead, and Art Director on the first two installments of Diablo but he wasn’t involved in the latter games in the franchise. While the action RPG title is his most popular project to date, he has also worked on other popular games, including Hellgate: London, Rebel Galaxy, Rebel Galaxy Outlaw, and Torchlight.
Before the announcement of Schaefer’s appointment, Moon Beast Productions hadn’t revealed that it was working on an action RPG project. Now, even though it has revealed its plans, the studio has refused to provide further details.
In other Diablo-related news, Blizzard recently revealed the minimum and recommended requirements for the fourth installment of the franchise ahead of its June 5 release. The game development studio has also confirmed that the early access beta for the title will start on March 17 while the open beta will kick off a week later on March 24.