Ever since the reveal of the Diablo Immortal phone game, the popular loot-hack-and-slash series has been on the tips of everyone’s tongues. Is there a Diablo 4? Will there be continued support for Diablo 3? Don’t you all have phones? You do, by the way, but new sources have now spoken on just what is going on with Diablo.
Eleven anonymous sources spoke to Kotaku regarding the “past, present, and future of Diablo”. It’s a fantastic article and one that speaks volumes to the new version of Blizzard that has been created after the Activision-Blizzard merger of 2008.
The biggest piece of information available is that Diablo 4 is in development at Blizzard, but the version being worked on right now is in its second iteration. Development started after the release of Diablo 3’s Reaper of Souls expansion; while work was beginning on a DLC follow-up, higher-ups cancelled in in favour of a full-fledged sequel.
According to the Kotaku article, the original vision for Diablo 4 was to take inspiration from the Souls series. Featuring an over-the-shoulder camera and more crushing difficulty, they weren’t even sure if it would be called Diablo 4, only that it would be in the same universe.
“It would be a gothic, challenging dungeon crawler. Rather than maintain the isometric camera angle of the first three Diablo games, it would use an over-the-shoulder, third-person perspective.” writes Kotaku’s Jason Schreier.
Diablo 4’s development has been restarted and it does appear to be more traditional in nature. Now an isometric game, as per series tradition, the current iteration of Diablo 4 aims to be more like everyone’s favorite Diablo: Diablo 2.
“There’s a lot of people who felt like Diablo III got away from what made DiabloDiablo in terms of art style and spell effects,” a Blizzard employee said to Kotaku. “They want to make this gross, make it dark, [get rid of] anything that was considered cartoony in Diablo III… Make what people were afraid of in Diablo II, but modern.”
According to Schreier, the new version (codename Fenris) is still early in development and may not see release until 2020 or later. The article states that the game will attempt to be more social; central hubs may end up being MMO-like areas where you can interact with other players and go on raids together.
“The question that kept getting asked is, ‘If there’s going to be a ‘strike’ equivalent, where you’re forced into a very story-focused, well-designed level of a dungeon, what does that look like in Diablo?” a source told Kotaku “What if we still had a core Diablo game that just happened to have a bunch of people on the map to do other cool stuff?”
But why didn’t Blizzard announce Diablo 4 at this year’s Blizzcon? Well, the answer lays with Titan, the company’s failed MMO. After over half a decade of development, Titan was canceled by Blizzard and, according to Schreier, they still feel the shame of it. Blizzard no longer wants to announce games early – they don’t want to be ridiculed again.
Kotaku’s Jason Schreier is pretty much the best journalist in the gaming industry right now, apart from myself that is. (Just kidding!) There’s a strong case to build here for Diablo 4, and one that I imagine we’ll hear more about in the coming years. Don’t forget to read Schreier’s original article – it’s a lot more in-depth than this and is also a really good read.