Kevin Kanai Griffith passed away last year in October from a rare form of cancer. He was a long-time employee of Blizzard Entertainment, having started as an artist in 2005. He worked on several World of Warcraft expansions, the accompanying trading card game, and finally Diablo III in 2012, the same year as his diagnosis.
Yesterday the Diablo team rolled out an update that included a tribute to Griffith—Kanai’s Cube. Like Diablo II’s Horadric Cube before it, Kanai’s Cube will offer item customization. It will also be able to extract a Legendary power from an item. The Horadric Cube was an iconic part of the Diablo universe, being essential to the story.
In the game, Kanai’s Cube will be revealed as he precursor to the Horadric Cube. Built by the legendary Horadrim order, it was intended to be used as a tool in hunting down the Three Prime Evils, the primary enemies in the Diablo series. “However, its creation was marred by dark methods and disastrous results, resulting in the order quickly determining that it was too dangerous for anyone to continue using. Creating the weaker Horadric Cube in its stead, they entrusted the first Cube to a secret organization of barbarians on Mount Arreat, who kept it safe from everyone, including the rest of their tribe.”
The story continues: “Throughout the years, these barbarians served as guardians over the Cube, keeping it safe from prying eyes and those who would use its powers for evil. The last of these guardians, the great Chief Elder Kanai, perished when the demon lord Baal destroyed Sescheron during the events of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction. The barbarians have always believed their warriors must be put to rest on the slopes of Mount Arreat but, after the destruction of the Worldstone and the mountain that housed it, Kanai’s spirit was unable to rest. Now doomed to stand eternal vigil over his home and greatest treasure, he awaits a powerful and honorable individual to whom he might pass on his task.”
Griffith was well-known in both in the company and out. “Kevin was an amazing mentor to everyone around him and a wonder to work with: you couldn’t help but get passionate and pumped about your job when he was in the room…his spirit and legacy will always live on in the many games he’s touched with his stunning art, as well as the hearts of every individual who had the honor of knowing him,” Blizzard wrote. “We miss you, Kevin. This Cube is for you.”
Griffith was a Diablo fan even before he joined Blizzard.