It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Diablo 4 is one of the most anticipated games at the moment. The third entry in the series launched over seven years ago so it’s clear that a sequel is overdue. Although Blizzard has yet to make any official announcements regarding the game, there is some evidence to suggest that the company is indeed working on it. In fact, the developers have probably been working on it for some time.
Game Has Been in Development Since 2016
Back in November, Kotaku published an article in which it was revealed that the development of the new version of Diablo originally began way back in 2014. Interestingly enough, the project was codenamed ‘Hades’ and was initially meant to be very similar to a Dark Souls game. It’s unclear why but Hades was quietly canceled in 2016. Moreover, the developers eventually decided to go back to the traditional formula.
The same article also mentions that the game was rebooted the same year. According to Kotaku’s sources, the current version of Diablo is being developed under the codename ‘Fenris’. This new incarnation is said to feature an isometric perspective and will apparently be darker than its predecessors. The Diablo series already deals with some pretty dark themes but the games also have some cartoony elements. That will no longer be the case with the next entry.
We don’t know much else about Fenris at this time. However, it seems likely that Blizzard is interested in adding more social features than in the past. The company has wholeheartedly embraced the “live services” model with all its recent games and this trend will probably continue. As such, expect Diablo 4 to feature more long-term monetization options. That’s not exactly good news but it would mean more expansions and DLCs, which is something certain players may want.
Multiple Diablo Projects on the Horizon
Rumors aside, we know for a fact that Blizzard has been working on multiple Diablo projects for some time. The developers said as much back in August 2018 when discussing the future of the franchise. At the time, Community Manager Brandy “Nevalistis” Camel stated in a video that one of these projects was going to be revealed later in 2018. As it turns out, a Diablo game was indeed announced at Blizzcon 2018. Unfortunately, it’s wasn’t the one fans was expecting.
Video Source: Youtube/Diablo
Diablo Immortal’s reveal at Blizzcon shocked the community and not in a good way. Long-time veterans of the series were understandably awaiting an announcement related to new game. Or at the very least a remake of one of the first two titles. Instead, Blizzard announced a mobile game of all things. Needless to say, that didn’t sit well with people. The Blizzard developers present on stage were promptly ridiculed and even booed as a result.
The good news is that now we know that Diablo Immortal was one of the projects teased before the event. It’s unlikely the company would be working on another mobile game or some other sort of spin-off. Even if it did, such a project would have likely been canceled swiftly following the uproar at Blizzcon 2018. That would indicate that one of the other projects is probably the next main entry in the series. Or possibly a remake. Or both. The developers did mention working on “multiple projects” and we’re not quite sure how many there are.
Blizzard Claims Mobile Will Not Become Its Main Focus Going Forward
It’s clear by now that Blizzard has increased interest in developing mobile games. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the company lost sight of the platform that made it famous in the first place. Earlier this week, Blizzard President J. Allen Brack said in an interview that the company is still committed to developing for PC. Brack stressed that Blizzard will not become a mobile-only company even though there are hints that there might actually also be another mobile game in the works based on World of Warcraft.
Brack’s recent statements don’t tell us much about the new game. But they are small comfort for those who believe the game will never be made because the company might be focusing all its resources on mobile titles now. Diablo Immortal is mainly developed by Tencent. In other words, it looks like the mobile game might not be Blizzard’s main priority right now.
Back in February, Activision-Blizzard COO Coddy Johnson reiterated that the developers are still working on “several projects” related to the series. Moreover, he suggested that Diablo Immortal wasn’t one of them. Or at the very least, he wanted to make it seem like the mobile game wasn’t as important as the other unannounced projects. That’s another good indication that Blizzard is taking the development of Diablo 4 serious. Unfortunately, that doesn’t tell us much about when the game might be coming out.
Potential Release Date
Blizzard generally doesn’t attend many gaming expos and chooses to make all the big announcements at its own yearly even, Blizzcon. It’s a pretty safe bet that the fourth entry in the series will be revealed at Blizzcon. However, that’s not going to happen this year most likely. The company already announced in February that it has no plans to announce any new games this year. We do know that Diablo Immortal and Warcraft 3 Reforged are both scheduled to launch in 2019 but it looks like that’s about it.
So if not this year, when? Given that the game has been in development since 2016, we probably won’t have to wait too much longer. Blizzard has been hiring new developers to work on an announced Diablo project since at least 2018. We already mentioned that Diablo Immortal is mostly developed by Tencent so these listings are most likely for Diablo 4. The listings are certainly an encouraging sign but they also mean the game isn’t close to being finished just yet.
While there’s no definitive way of telling when the game might launch, it seems like it shouldn’t take more than 2-3 years. After last year’s Diablo Immortal disaster and an uneventful 2019 with no new announcements, Blizzard has to bring the big guns and do it fast. If it wants to stay in the community’s good graces that is. Hopefully, this means a new version of the game will soon become a priority. And, with any luck, we’ll be able to get our hands on it by 2020 or 2021 at the latest.