Computer game designer
Video game designer, artist
Tim Cain, Feargus Urquhart, Chris Avellone
SINFO 24 - Leonard Boyarsky (with Slides)
- SINFO 24 Leonard Boyarsky with Slides
- Matt Chat 397 Leonard Boyarsky on Arcanum Diablo 3 and VTM Bloodlines
- Early life
- Interplay Entertainment 19921998
- Troika Games 19982005
- Blizzard Entertainment 20062016
- Obsidian Entertainment 2016present
Matt Chat 397: Leonard Boyarsky on Arcanum, Diablo 3, and VTM: Bloodlines
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 Wizardry 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.
Interplay Entertainment (1992–1998)
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. The three met after work hours to play Dungeons & Dragons and GURPS. Cain eventually sent an email around, proposing colleagues to meet after work hours over pizza to discuss making a video game based on an engine he had built. The five people who showed up, including Boyarsky and Anderson, would become the core team working on Fallout.
Boyarsky recalls suggesting the post-apocalyptic setting, as he 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 Cain and Anderson, he designed the overall gameplay refinements and main story arc, quests, areas, and characters for Fallout 2 in 1998.
Troika Games (1998–2005)
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.
As Troika closed 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.
Blizzard Entertainment (2006–2016)
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 affectionately 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.
Obsidian Entertainment (2016–present)
In April 2016, Boyarsky joined Obsidian Entertainment. Although the game Boyarsky is working on remains unannounced, Feargus Urquhart has confirmed that he 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 or Armored Warfare (video game). Boyarsky has described the project as his “dream game”.
When later asked why he left Interplay, Boyarsky commented that