Leonard Boyarsky

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Leonard Boyarsky
Leonard Boyarsky of Troika Games.jpg
Boyarsky in 2004/2005
Occupation Video game designer, artist
Employer Obsidian Entertainment
Notable work Fallout, Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, Diablo III

Leonard Boyarsky is an American computer game designer and visual artist best known for being one of the key designers of the video games Fallout and Diablo III.

Early life[edit]

After he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Illustration (at Cal State Fullerton) and a bachelor's degree in Fine Art (at Art Center College of Design), he worked as freelance artist for Interplay and Maxis in 1992.

He has cited Wizardy and Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos as being his favorite video games, albeit admittedly he was more into comic books when first entering the industry.

Career[edit]

Interplay Entertainment (1992–1998)[edit]

Boyarsky join Interplay Entertainment as employee number 88.

After some freelance work for Interplay (Rags to Riches: The Financial Market Simulation and Castles II: Siege and Conquest) he was hired as art director, lead artist and designer/writer.

His first work was as lead artist in 1995 was Stonekeep. He was in charge of the conceptualization and implementation of 2D and 3D sprites.

While at Interplay, Boyarsky met Tim Cain and Jason D. Anderson, the future co-founders of Troika Games. Indeed, the three met after work hours to play Dungeons & Dragons and GURPS. Cain eventually send an email around, proposing colleagues to met after work hours over pizza to discuss making a video game based on an engine he had built. The 5 people who showed up, including Boyarsky and Anderson, would become the core team working on Fallout (video game).

Boyarsky recalls suggesting the post-apocalyptic setting, as him and Anderson were both huge Mad Max 2 fans. Boyarsky was adamant about not making a fantasy game, due to the large number of fantasy RPGs in the market.

Two years later, in 1997, he finished his work as art director on Fallout, where he set the recognizable 1950s future graphics style, the humorous Vault Boy Traitcards and also the unusual ending. He also did some polishing on the dialogs for the game. Before leaving Interplay to form Troika Games with Tim Cain and Jason D. Anderson, he designed the overall gameplay refinements and main story arc/quests/areas/characters for Fallout 2 in 1998.

Troika Games (1998–2005)[edit]

Boyarsky had different roles at Troika Games, among others he was project leader, art director, designer/writer and CEO.

On their first project, Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, which was released 2001, he filled similar positions as in Fallout, doing the art direction, dialog writing/editing and story/quest design. He was the project leader and art director on Troika's last released game in late 2004, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. He worked also on an untitled post-apocalyptic game which was never released due to financial trouble. Though, a demonstration video of the engine was later released for the public.[1]

As Troika closed down in early 2005, he took a year off due to burnout syndrome. He was later asked by Blizzard Entertainment to work on the story and RPG elements on Diablo III.[2]

Blizzard Entertainment (2006–2016)[edit]

Boyarsky worked as Lead World Designer on Diablo III and its subsequent expansion Diablo III: Reaper of Souls at Blizzard Entertainment. His role included fleshing out the lore, dialogue and quests in the game. He found it important to build upon the story elements of the Diablo franchise, and covey its intricacies in a more compelling way.

This emphasis marked a shift for Blizzard, who had previously focused less on developing the story elements of the Diablo franchise. This shift was exemplified at 2011’s BlizzCon, where Chris Metzen chaired the first-ever lore panel, with Boyarsky as the main presenter.

Subsequently, Boyarsky would go on make several public appearances and became somewhat of a spokesperson for the lore and story aspects of Diablo III.

Boyarsky was affectively known as ‘LeBo’ in the Diablo fan community. A legendary gem called ‘Boyarsky’s Chip’ can be found in Diablo III as an homage. Its item description contains a reference to Fallout (video game).

Obsidian Entertainment (2016–present)[edit]

In April 2016, Boyarsky joined Obsidian Entertainment.[3] Although the game Boyarsky is working on remains unannounced, Feargus Urquhart has confirmed that him and Tim Cain are working together. Urquhart also stated that the duo are not working on current Obsidian projects such as Tyranny (video game), Pillars of Eternity nor Armored Warfare (video game). Boyarsky has described the project as his “dream game”.

Quotes[edit]

When later asked why he left Interplay, Boyarsky commented that

After the Fallout IP was bought by Bethesda he said (in 2004):

Works[edit]

Title Year Role
Castles (video game) 1992 End screens
Unnatural Selection (video game) 1992 Assistant Artist
Stonekeep 1995 Lead Artist
Fallout 1997 Art Director, original game design
Fallout 2 1998 Main story arc/quests/areas/characters
Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura 2001 CEO, Project Leader, Art Director, Designer/Writer
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2004 CEO, Project Leader, Art Director, Designer/Writer
Diablo III 2012 Senior World Designer
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls 2014 Senior World Designer

References[edit]

External links[edit]