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Kevin Kanai Griffith

"Rest in peace, Kanai"

92

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by 1 Jurors

Kevin Kanai Griffith was a game designer at Blizzard Entertainment, who lost a battle with a rare form of cancer known as Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma (ASPS) with no cure and no clear treatment path.

Kevin joined Blizzard as an artist on the World of Warcraft team in 2005 and his work can be seen in the Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, and Mists of Pandaria expansions, as well as the World of Warcraft trading card game. As the Diablo III team came together, Kevin joined and made his mark on the original game, crafting a plethora of diverse and moody environments that you’re certain to recognize. He was always an active member of the community both inside the company and out, whether it was by organizing weekly sketch groups, or encouraging his friends to team up and play games together. 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.

Kevin kept his spirits high throughout the grueling treatment process and continued to work on Diablo III as much as he was able, pioneering environmental features such as the weather and night/day cycles experienced in Adventure Mode. Though he fought valiantly, he died on October 17, 2014.

Blizzard's Diablo team named the successor to Horadric Cube the Kanai Cube in memory of Kevin Kanai Griffith.

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Those who are still keeping up with Diablo 3 probably have already heard of the upcoming item called the Kanai Cube. What we didn't know is the tragic story behind the Cube.

A blue posts explain what Kevin Kanai Griffith means to Blizzard.

There is more to Kanai’s Cube than lore and functionality. While we always knew that we wanted to implement a form of the Horadric Cube into Diablo III, we never anticipated the events that would lead to it becoming Kanai’s Cube. Kevin Kanai Griffith was a beloved member of the Blizzard family and a longtime Diablo fan. He joined Blizzard as an artist on the World of Warcraft team in 2005 and his work can be seen in the Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, and Mists of Pandaria expansions, as well as the World of Warcraft trading card game. As the Diablo III team came together, Kevin joined and made his mark on the original game, crafting a plethora of diverse and moody environments that you’re certain to recognize.

Kevin at Blizzcon's artist panel

evin continued producing gorgeous environments and Diablo holiday art throughout the launch and beyond the release of Reaper of Souls. (He was responsible for creating zones such as the Festering Wood and the Fields of Slaughter/Edge of the Abyss. His focus was level/zone art but he also worked on some layout, lighting, textures, icons, skyboxes and assisted with a few of the scripted sequences for the game.)

You might also remember him from footage of his Diableard being shaved live on stage at the 2011 launch of Diablo III, his Artist’s Stage Demo at BlizzCon 2013, or our second anniversary livestream.

He was always an active member of the community both inside the company and out, whether it was by organizing weekly sketch groups, or encouraging his friends to team up and play games together. 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.

Tragedy struck in February of 2012 when Kevin was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer known as Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma (ASPS). Kevin kept his spirits high throughout the grueling treatment process and continued to work on Diablo III as much as he was able, pioneering environmental features such as the weather and night/day cycles experienced in Adventure Mode. Though he fought valiantly, we lost our coworker and dear friend on October 17, 2014. 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.

We miss you, Kevin. This Cube is for you.

Everything suggests Kevin was a wonderful artist as well as a human being. He once met a hardcore Starcraft fan in a hospital in Germany and drew him this:

This was a drawing I did for Jussi who I met while I was at the hospital in Coswig, Germany (first trip in July 2012). He's a huge fan of Starcraft 2 who frequented the Master League during that time..very impressive. The Team 1 folks later sent him a big box of goodies, which he appreciated.

We'll miss you, K2G.

on August 2, 2015

Naturalist Jon From Blizzard with love. Sad.

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Kevin Kanai Griffith

Rest in peace, Kanai
Book rating: 92 out of 100 with 1 ratings