Lilith, the daughter of hate, takes center stage in Diablo 4. As revealed in Diablo 3 through documents scattered around the high heavens, she has returned to the Sanctuary to establish herself as the mother of all creatures. Players were given a glimpse of her overwhelming presence in Sanctuary during Diablo 4’s open beta and stress test, with several scenes showing how her presence affected the entire world.
Sean Copeland, Senior Director of Lore at Blizzard, took the opportunity to sit down with us at IGN to explain what makes Lilith a compelling opponent for Diablo 4, and what her reappearance in Sanctuary means for the world of Diablo.
“Metaphorically, Lilith is a threat,” says Copeland. “While I might say ‘This is just life in the asylum!'” This is one of those threats that you can’t ignore. Copeland elaborated on what Lilith’s appearance means in the grand scheme of things.
“It’s not just coming to build a kingdom and impose hegemony like we saw in West March… We’re witnessing a threat that will affect everyone everywhere. This is like the Reaper of Souls. No one can escape what’s going on here. So while it’s a great moment, yeah, The Creator is back, but again, “What does this Creator want from us?” And what losses will the world suffer?”
Her role as the primary antagonist in this entry in the Diablo series may be more multifaceted than Blizzard allows. While Lilith herself is an imposing figure, summoned from a gruesome ritual seen in the “By Three They Come” trailer, there was a glimpse of something more human and more gentle than what we’ve seen in antagonist Diablo so far through the open beta period.
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In Diablo IV, Lilith mourns the death of her only child—Rathma, the founder of the Sanctuary’s necromancy—her intentions stemming from an intrinsic emotion: hate. Copeland stressed that hate is part of Lilith’s DNA. But the hate in Diablo is more multifaceted than one might think and is not defined in traditional terms.
When we talk about hate, we are not talking about anger. You know, something as raw as two people against each other. We are talking about the wrath of kingdoms against each other.” And in the case of Lilith, her role as the daughter of Hatred is integral to understanding her character. Even in the case of her childbearing, creating sanctuary in itself.
However, once these children were born, their lives were immediately threatened. Described by Copeland as “God-level beings,” children born from the experience of demons and angels were a threat to the High Heavens, harming the rebels who had been hiding in Sanctuary to release themselves from eternal conflict at first. In a panic, the leaders of this rebellion banded together to try to decide the fate of what would become humanity, and whether their lives were actually worth their peace. And Lilith will have none of that.
“Demons are about destruction and hate.” Copeland said. “And when this creation was threatened, she turned back to become full of rage. Described as ‘Fang’, ‘Claw’ and ‘Sheer Fury’, she goes to the hiding places of every rebellious leader and denies them the decision to kill her children.” Lilith’s devotion to Sanctuary and her children is certainly admirable. But nothing is ever clean with Lilith according to Copeland.
“You think that would make sense, a mother protecting her children. That’s very understandable, but she’s the daughter of hate, and there’s this DNA in her that has to play the bigger game and be that bigger part.. She found these weapons (her children) and thought something he wouldn’t have thought of.” Any other demon… what if we win?”
Because this is one of the most integral pieces of the puzzle that makes up the personality and motives of Lilith as a whole. It is about the eternal struggle and the role played by Inarius and Lilith. Diablo 3 He reported from both parties, each with different feelings and created unique narratives from the perspective of the creators of the sanctuary and humanity itself. Copeland describes Enarius as a “tool” used by Lilith in her escape from the conflict, which paints a different picture than one might imagine from earlier bits of knowledge.
“When it comes to Lilith, there’s very little information about her in the world, unless you have the power to know her. So there’s this unreliable narrator. While it’s not great for people to date, it’s great for telling stories. Because when you see Lilith, there’s no denying what she’s for. And seeing more in the first act, it just adds to that extra layer and complicates things.”
Lilith may be the Mother of Sanctuary, but more importantly, she could prove to be one of the most dynamic and interesting antagonists the Diablo series has seen to date. While her motives may not be completely transparent, there is enough mystery to beg the question of just how far Lilith would go to see the end of the eternal conflict, and how deeply the player character would interact with her. Can she end the centuries-old war that has raged in the world of Diablo since time immemorial, or will she transform into a more benevolent character and, despite her hatred, shower us with the adoration a mother might lavish on a cocky child? However, Copeland says it best:
“Mother knows best, but Mother may not have the best intentions for us.”
Kazuma does odd jobs across all sectors of the industry from translation, narrative design, and consulting, and spends his time playing a variety of games ranging from farming simulators to classic CRPGs. In his spare time, he speeds up games from the Resident Evil series as a VTuber on his Twitch channel, and raids with friends on Final Fantasy XIV and Lost Ark. You can find him on Twitter at @employee
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