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"Newest incarnation of Blizzard Entertainment’s genre-defining action–role-playing franchise returns with dark, visceral gameplay, robust customization, deep loot, and infinite adventures"— Blizzard Entertainment(src)
"The dream continues to haunt me old friend. It always starts with a journey to a distant land. There I find a city in flames. Streets choked with corpses. Unthinkable destruction. I witness senseless slaughter. Brother against brother. Pure hatred. And then, executions. And then suffering surrounded me until my turn comes. It burned my eyes. Break my bones. I wake in terror. There's no-one left to stand against them. You think me mad, old friend. But I know these dreams. They tell of the future. Hell is coming, brother. Hell is coming."(src)
After the destruction of the Black Soulstone, the defeat of the Prime Evil, and the fall of Malthael, Angel of Death, countless lives have been lost and the denizens of Sanctuary find themselves struggling through the darkest of ages. Years have passed and, as some semblance of regular life starts rebuilding, a threat as old as the land itself begins to stir.
Diablo IV takes place many years after the events of Diablo III, after millions have been slaughtered by the actions of the High Heavens and Burning Hells alike. In the power vacuum, a legendary name resurfaces—Lilith, daughter of Mephisto, the whispered progenitor of humanity. Her grip on Sanctuary cuts deep into the hearts of men and women alike, cultivating the worst in its denizens and leaving the world a dark, hopeless place.
Legends of Creation: An old legend has it that Sanctuary was created by the union of an angel and a demon, and that their descendants—humanity—built villages, then cities and empires, spreading across the land to form the world's cultures and civilization.
A Reign of Enmity: Chaos threatens to consume Sanctuary as evil and impiety continue to spread. Depraved demons and corrupted wildlife roam the land unchecked, as terrified townsfolk huddle in dark corners trying to survive one more day.
Cult of Personality: The pious plead for guidance from their faith, but doubts have them feeling that their devotion is misplaced. Lilith's return has spawned a new wave of cultists and worshippers, but regardless of dogma, all prayers remain unanswered.
Daughter of Hatred: The daughter of Mephisto awakens burning urges in the hearts of those around her, be it demon, human or beast. Profound fears, unchecked rage, repressed impulses, sinful desires—all are brought forth violently and irresistibly by her mere presence.
Unstoppable Evil: As darkness returns to Sanctuary, a brave few dare to face this threat. But what fate awaits them in a land forsaken by hope, valor, wisdom, and justice?
"True to the franchise’s roots, Diablo IV will deliver visceral combat, gruesome and varied monsters, an epic hunt for legendary loot, and endless playability and progression. Players will find a lifetime’s worth of adventure scattered across a land rooted in unique ecologies and inhabited by dangerous new foes. They’ll delve into randomized dungeons packed with unpredictable adversaries and unimaginable treasures. While continuing to fully support solo and coordinated party play, Diablo IV will also provide opportunities for groups of players to encounter each other in the same shared world—whether to tackle bigger challenges . . . or possibly even slaughter one another in player-vs.-player combat."— Press Release(src)
Diablo IV utilizes an open world structure with five unique regions. These are Kehjistan (specifically its northern desert region), Scosglen, the Dry Steppes, the Fractured Peaks, and the swamplands of Hawezar. Players will be able to use mounts to traverse across long distances. World Bosses are encountered in the open-world areas. Each of these areas will be 10–20 times larger than even the largest areas in Diablo III. The open-world is fixed, and not randomized. While the game has shared-world elements, it is not an MMO. Towns may become social hubs for a player once key story elements have been completed.
The game has a day-night cycle and dynamic weather effects.
Randomized and Keyed Dungeons are featured in the game. Monster designs are based on "families" of disparate, yet thematically-linked creatures which work well together. Dungeons are always tackled solo. Camps also feature.
NPCs are featured in the game, both friendly and unfriendly ones. For simple interactions with NPCs, the game brings the camera in closer to the characters. This is designed to maintain an isometric feel, but a library of animations are used to deliver the gist of the conversation. For more complex conversations, the game takes a similar camera approach but here the character’s movements and animations are more deliberately hand-crafted. The second storytelling method used is real-time cutscenes. Here, the camera is used to treat the storytelling as being akin to a movie. These cutscenes are reserved for the most important story moments. The player character's armor is carried over to these scenes.
PvP zones feature where players can battle against each other. The game can be played solo or in a group. The game utilizes a shared world system where groups may encounter one another, engaging in both PvE (PvM) and PvP activities. The game will not have an auction house. Players can create clans while in the game.
The game adds an "evade" function, which in the case of the PC version, is assigned to the space bar. It allows players to dodge enemy attacks. Furthermore, the game includes a stagger system for some monsters. Players can induce control effects on bosses, and in doing so, this fills up their stagger bar. When it fills, the boss becomes staggered.
"These three iconic characters honor the legacy of the franchise and exemplify how Diablo IV builds upon the series’ history by preserving the core Diablo fantasy while allowing players to explore untapped gameplay possibilities with fresh inspiration. Players will be able to experiment and discover countless character builds through customizable talent trees and skills, a deep loot system filled with legendary and set items to collect, runes and rune word combinations, and even personalized mounts for traversing the open world."— Press Release(src)
Three classes have been revealed so far, out of five, that will be available on launch are:
"Diablo IV is being developed using modern technology that pushes the franchise to dark, new depths. This technology is at the heart of everything players will see, hear, and feel—delivering much higher fidelity and a more engrossing experience. It opens up countless possibilities for the Diablo series, from smooth character animations, such as the Druid’s fluid shapeshifting, to the seamless, vast overworld players will travel across in search of the next loot-filled underground dungeon. Ultimately, Diablo IV will ground players in a grittier and deadlier world."— Press Release(src)
The roots of Diablo IV lie in late 2013 or early 2014, where Diablo III: The King in the North was cancelled, with the instruction that Team 3 move onto Diablo IV and Diablo Immortal, regardless of what form the game might take. Team 3 was split up, with some of its members transferring to different projects within Blizzard. Those who remained were assigned to provide patch support for Diablo III while simultaneously developing Diablo IV. Development of the game began in 2014. The initial project was referred to internally as Hades. However, Hades was cancelled in 2016, and Team 3 began work on Project Fenris.
"Fenris is, all of our sources have confirmed, the current incarnation of Diablo IV. Blizzard’s Team 3 has been working on this version of the game since 2016, and some who have seen it say they’re optimistic about the direction."— Jason Schrier(src)
Work on Project Fenris began in 2016 after the cancellation of Hades. Sources indicate that Fenris remains the current version of Diablo IV, (a moniker originally held by Hades to some extent). The project's design director is Luis Barriga. Reportedly, Fenris is aiming to harken to Diablo II in its art direction, that many on Team 3 feel that Diablo III had drifted away from former titles in its art style and spell effects. One of Fenris's design pillars "embrace the darkness." Practically, this has resulted in getting rid of anything that was considered cartoony in Diablo III. There has been debate as to whether the game will use the same over the shoulder camera as Hades, or whether it will use a traditional isometric style. As of November 2018, the game is reportedly using the isometric style.
Another pillar of the game is to make it more social, to incorporate so-called "light MMO elements" into the game. The designers have considered something equivalent to the instanced dungeons of World of Warcraft, or the strikes of Destiny. Another idea is whether the game should use a kind of shared world model, with multiple players on the map at the same time.
Monetization options are being considered.
For BlizzCon 2016, the event's "goodie bag" was sent out ahead of the event to a number of individuals. Not long afterwards, a number of sites reported on an apparent printing error with the dice. Where they should read 1-1-1, they were instead been printed as 1-1-4. It has been suggested that this is a code for the date of the event (the 4th day of the 11th month). Likewise, the insignia on the dice bag was not the Diablo III logo, but rather a four-sided compass with four smaller points, with a "D" located inside a square (a four-sided shape). Media speculated that this was a hint at a supposed "Diablo IV" game. No such game was revealed at the event.
In January 2017, Julian Love stated that in regards to another main series installment, "I think everyone wants that." In February 2017, David Brevik stated that "there's no doubt in my mind" that there would be a Diablo IV. At BlizzCon 2017, Brandy Camel confirmed that Blizzard was "exploring what's next" for the franchise, but that they had nothing to show (to the public) yet. Diablo content creators were asked for feedback on what they speculated would be in the works.
"First off we want to mention that we definitely hear our community. We generally don’t comment on rumors or speculation, but we can say that we didn’t pull any announcements from BlizzCon this year or have plans for other announcements. We do continue to have different teams working on multiple unannounced Diablo projects, and we look forward to announcing when the time is right."— A statement from Blizzard on the subject of Diablo IV(src)
Reportedly, 2018 was decided as the year where the game would be revealed. In January, it was planned to have a playable demo released in the year. By May, the game had progressed slower than anticipated, but the decision to reveal the game this year still remained.
In September, Goldman Sachs sent a message to investors advising them of several launch announcements at BlizzCon 2018, including Diablo IV and a Diablo or Warcraft mobile title. In October 2018, a "Reign of Terror" title was leaked via BlizzCon 2018 merchandise. Afterwards, addressing the issue, Blizzard stated "these are names and copy used for some of the new products available at BlizzCon this year, and not direct references to content at the show." In the same month, Blizzard stated that it wouldn't announce all of its Diablo projects at the event.
At BlizzCon 2018, Wyatt Cheng confirmed that in addition to Diablo Immortal, other Diablo games were in development. In an interview with Kotaku, Allen Adham stated that Blizzard had expected some backlash to the game, but "not to this degree" and "that being said, we knew our audience here desperately wants to see and hear about one thing in particular." Nathan Grayson noted that Blizzard had made a blog post that had effectively told fans not to expect Diablo IV, but postulated that some might have taken this as an attempt at reverse psychology. Adham confirmed in the same interview that the blog post had indeed been intended to dissuade fan expectation for Diablo IV. At a BlizzCon 2018 press conference, Adham stated that multiple Diablo games were being worked on, indicating that at least some of them would be playable on PC. In a separate interview, he indicated that the same held true for console games.
A few days after the event, a separate Kotaku article by Schrier claimed that Blizzard had originally intended to reveal Diablo IV at the event, but had pulled the video beforehand. The article was updated after a response from Blizzard, stating that they had made no such plans. However, the Schrier stated that the video had indeed been confirmed to exist, but that the point of contention was as to whether it had originally been meant to be shown, and two separate sources within Blizzard had confirmed its existence. The sources further claimed that the game had been in development since at least 2014, but had changed drastically over the last four years and had gone through two different directors. In a follow-up podcast, he reiterated that he had been in contact with those who had developed, seen, and/or playtested the game. Later in the month, he posted a followup article after talking to 11 (former) Blizzard employees under conditions of anonymity. Reportedly, the game is intended for PC and console release, but as of November 2018, Team 3 has not decided whether the game will have a simultaneous release, or whether one platform will follow the other. It was noted that many of the design decisions of the game are still up in the air, and it was estimated that Fenris would get a 2020 or later release. On the subject as to the supposedly planned reveal of the game, one employee commented that Team 3 was "paranoid" about revealing the game too soon. Reportedly, Titan and StarCraft: Ghost still hang over Blizzard. Ghost was announced and never released. Titan was never announced, but its existence had been leaked, and it had been a huge sink of time and money, even if Overwatch had resulted from it. In a statement from Blizzard, they confirmed that they would not share details with unannounced projects until they were ready, and this included games in the Diablo series as well.
In an interview at BlizzCon, Adham stated that future Diablo PC games would be rated M.
In December 2018, Blizzard stated "we have many plans for Diablo across multiple projects which we'll be revealing over the course of the coming year. We are eager to share more about all of our projects, but some will have to wait as we prefer to show you, rather than tell you, about them."
"I can promise everybody that Diablo 4 is in development. I have talked to many people who have worked on it, or seen it, or played it. The game is being made right now. That's not to say the game won't be cancelled, because we have no idea what's going to happen in the coming years, but the game is in development."— Jason Schreier(src)
In January 2019, Blizzard registered the Diablo4.com domain name.
In February, games journalist Marcus Sellars reported that Activision Blizzard had four Diablo games in development—Diablo IV, a prequel, and two spin-offs. In the same month, Activision confirmed that "several Diablo projects" were in the works. In June 2019, it was reported that staff had been transferred from canceled Blizzard projects to work on the game. In the same month, it was reported that the game had been showcased to Blizzard employees, and that the game would not be released before 2020. In September 2019, a News Corp publication that Blizzard had a Diablo sequel set to be released "in the coming years." In October 2019, a German advertisement for The Art of Diablo listed Diablo IV as being among the games the artbook covered. When asked for comment on the supposed leak, a Blizzard spokesperson stated "we don’t comment on rumors or speculation, but next week we will have exciting news to share so please stay tuned!"
In the same month, Twitch streamer Metro who had previously accurately leaked Blizzard reveals stated that Diablo IV would be revealed at BlizzCon 2019 along with a remaster of Diablo II. The former claim was correct, while the latter was not.
The game's icons initially had a painterly style, in order to keep in with the game's overall art direction. By early 2020, the icons were being redesigned to give them a more realistic look. Every monster returning from previous games has been reimagined in a "darker, more gritty" art style. The redesigns were done from the ground up.
The game is designed to incorporate shared-world elements, while not feeling like an MMO. This was a decision of design, and not one driven by limitation. The developers found that "the game stopped feeling like Diablo" and the world felt less dangerous when they saw other players too often or in too high numbers.
The game's plot was designed to be more grounded than Diablo III. Inspiration was taken from characters such as Wirt and Marius when it came to designing the NPCs. Kings and "high fantasy themes" were avoided.
The following people from the development team participated in interviews at BlizzCon 2019 (alphabetical by last name):
- Allen Adham – Executive Producer
- Luis Barriga – Game Director
- Daniel Briggs – Lead VFX Artist
- Nick Chilano – Lead Animator
- Kris Giampa – Sound Supervisor
- Zaven Haroutunian – Lead Dungeon Designer
- Timothy Ismay – Senior Producer
- David Kim – Lead Systems Designer
- Richie Marella – Lead Artist
- Jesse McCree – Lead Designer
- Matt McDaid – Lead Exterior Artist
- John Mueller – Art Director
- Sean Murphy – Lead Lighting Artist
- Jason Roberts – Lead Quest Designer
- Chris Ryder – Lead Interactives Artist
- Joe Shely – Lead Encounter Design
- Tiffany Wat – Senior Producer
- Gavian Whishaw – Production Director
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 2019-06-26, Diablo 4 Apparently Shown to French Employees. Diablo.net, accessed on 2019-06-26
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2019-11-01, BLIZZCON 2019 OPENING CEREMONY. Blizzpro, accessed on 2019-11-02
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Blizzard Entertainment. (2019, November 1). Diablo IV Unveiled. Diablo Blog. Retrieved on 2019-11-01.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 2019-11-01, BlizzCon 2019: Diablo IV Announced. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2019-11-03
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 2019-11-02, BlizzCon 2019: Diablo IV Gameplay Videos by Livestreamers. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2019-11-20
- ↑ 2019-11-11, BlizzCon 2019 Diablo IV: World and Lore Panel Transcript. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2020-05-12
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 2020-06-25, DIABLO IV QUARTERLY UPDATE—JUNE 2020. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2020-07-05
- ↑ 2019-11-02, Diablo 4 devs talk smashing bosses with stagger, customization with Legendaries, and the fate of the Auction House. Blizzard Watch, accessed on 2019-11-07
- ↑ 2019-11-02, BlizzCon 2019: Diablo IV Gameplay Videos by Livestreamers. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2019-11-20
- ↑ 2019-11-02, BlizzCon 2019: Diablo IV Gameplay Videos by Livestreamers. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2019-11-20
- ↑ 2019-11-13, BlizzCon 2019 Diablo IV Systems and Features Panel Transcript. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2020-06-01
- ↑ 2018-11-06, DIABLO IMMORTAL: CLASSES, ABILITIES, WORLD, AND Q&A AT BLIZZCON 2018. Blizzpro, accessed on 2018-11-13
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 2018-11-22, The Past, Present, And Future Of Diablo. Kotaku, accessed on 2018-11-22
- ↑ 2016-06-29, UNANNOUNCED DIABLO PROJECT NOW HIRING GAME DIRECTOR. Blizzpro, accessed on 2016-07-03
- ↑ 2016-09-30, Diablo 4 job postings filled, Diablo 3 confirmed maintenance mode?. YouTube, accessed on 2016-10-04
- ↑ 2016-07-29, Latest Diablo 4 rumours involve the Blizzcon 2016 goody bag and a misprinted D4. PC Games, accessed on 2016-07-30
- ↑ 2016-07-28, BlizzCon 2016 Goodie Bag: Diablo IV Announcement Conspiracy. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2016-07-30
- ↑ 2016-07-29, Rhykker Discusses the D4 BlizzCon Dice Conspiracy. Diablo Fans, accessed on 2016-07-30
- ↑ 2017-01-04, Developer Insights: 20 years of Diablo. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2017-01-23
- ↑ 2017-02-17, DIABLO 4 Will Happen, According to Diablo 2 Lead Dev David Brevik (Interview). YouTube, accessed on 2017-04-08
- ↑ 2017-11-05, DIABLO III: EXPLORING COMMUNITY. Blizzpro, accessed on 2017-19-11
- ↑ 2018-09-19, Goldman Sachs expects OW expansion at Blizzcon. Reddit, accessed on 2018-09-24
- ↑ 2018-10-12, Diablo 4 Reign of Terror LEAKED via BlizzCon 2018 exclusive merchandise. Daily Star, accessed on 2018-10-12
- ↑ 2018-10-12, Blizzard Denies Diablo: Reign Of Terror Is A BlizzCon Leak. GameSpot, accessed on 2018-10-13
- ↑ 2018-10-17, Diablo at BlizzCon 2018. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2018-10-22
- ↑ 2018-11-05, Diablo Devs Try Again To Convince Fans They're Making A New Diablo Without Saying It. Kotaku, accessed on 2018-11-05
- ↑ 2018-11-05, Blizzard Says It Wasn't Expecting Fans To Be This Angry About Diablo Immortal. Kotaku, accessed on 2018-11-05
- ↑ 2018-11-08, Diablo IV was teased at BlizzCon 2018 Press Conference. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2018-11-09
- ↑ 2018-11-07,Rhykker Reaction: The Diablo Immortal Fiasco at Blizzcon 2018. YouTube, accessed on 2018-11-09
- ↑ 2018-11-06, Blizzard Scrapped Plans For Diablo 4 Video. Kotaku, accessed on 2018-11-09
- ↑ 2018-11-09, Some Theories About The Diablo Immortal Backlash. Kotaku, accessed on 2018-11-09
- ↑ 2018-11-06, 블리즈컨 2018, 디아블로 이모탈 인터뷰 정리!. YouTube, accessed on 2018-11-09
- ↑ 2018-11-29, Another Post from Blizzard on Diablo Projects. Diablo.net, accessed on 2018-12-02
- ↑ 2019-07-06, Diablo Immortal Clone FAILS in China; Diablo 4 Domain Registered by Blizzard; Diablo 1 on Switch.... YouTube, accessed on 2019-07-07
- ↑ 2019-02-21, Marcus Sellars. Twitter, accessed on 2019-03-05
- ↑ 2019, February, Blizzard is hiring more Diablo devs to work on 'several projects'. PC Gamer, accessed on 2019-03-13
- ↑ 2019-06-06, Blizzard rumored to have canceled StarCraft FPS game to focus on Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2. Blizzard Watch, accessed on 2019-06-13
- ↑ 2019-09-02, Business Mag Casually Mentions Overwatch 2 Is Coming. Kotaku, accessed on 2019-09-05
- ↑ 2019-10-21, A German-language advertisement may confirm Diablo 4. Blizzard Watch, accessed on 2019-10-23
- ↑ 2019-10-21, Diablo 4 outed in ad for Diablo art book. Polygon, accessed on 2019-10-23
- ↑ 2019-10-22, Overwatch 2, Diablo 4 Leak -- BlizzCon 2019 Rumor Roundup
- ↑ 2020-02-26, DIABLO IV QUARTERLY UPDATE—FEBRUARY 2020. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2020-02-28
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ 2019-11-11, BlizzCon 2019 Diablo IV: World and Lore Panel Transcript. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2020-04-18