The announcement of the mobile-only Diablo Immortal at BlizzCon 2018 is a sure fire sign of this; however, response to that particular news makes it abundantly clear that fans are bellowing out for the next mainline entry, presumably titled Diablo 4.
In keeping with Blizzard’s tendency to keep its cards vehemently close its chest, verified details about Diablo 4 are hard to come. To put it into perspective, no official confirmation of the game exists other than vague assurances from Blizzard that ”multiple unannounced” Diablo projects are in the works.
With this in mind, we’ve assembled everything we know and don’t know about Diablo 4 in this article.
Diablo 4 Release Date
For an unannounced game, it figures that Diablo 4 has no release date.
Donning our smartest sleuthing hat, a quick gander at Blizzard’s past release pattern doesn’t bode well. Although Diablo and Diablo 2 were released in relatively quick succession in 1996 and 2000 respectively, with one DLC apiece the following year, a twelve-year gap separates the release of the Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction expansion and Diablo 3.
To boot, even though Blizzard has busily released two expansions for Diablo 3 since 2012, the latest arrived in June 2017. If we presume the same team is or will be working on Diablo 4, this only opens up the possibility of fewer than eighteen months of focused Diablo 4 development.
Thankfully, Chinese mobile gaming powerhouse NetEase is developing Diablo Immortal with an allegedly hands-on supervisory role for Blizzard. The chances are NetEase will oversee the majority of the process especially if allegations of Diablo Immortal gameplay having an uncanny resemblance to NetEase-developed Crusaders of Light are exact.
To the detriment of the reputation of the Diablo franchise, Diablo Immortal may be nothing more than a thinly-veiled reskinning job aimed at establishing Blizzard’s stake in the murky waters of predatory microtransactions.
The Diablo team can, therefore, hone its attentions on Diablo 4 unperturbed by other projects. That is if Blizzard isn’t planning another Diablo 3 expansion or a remake of Diablo 2 for example.
As for when we might hear more; E3 or BlizzCon are among the best bets for an announcement. But, as successive follow editions have revealed, notably BlizzCon 2018 touted as the year it would happen – with dubious rumors circulating that Blizzard pulled the announcement at the last moment – we can hold our breath to the point of asphyxiation.
The writing on the wall is clear; the release of Diablo 4 is fairly few years away at best, if not more unless Blizzard has conjured up the most elaborate farce ever to befall the gaming world and release is closer than we think.
Platform-wise, Blizzard doesn’t discriminate and tends to distribute its games to all consoles and PC alike. For example, Diablo 3 is available on PC, macOS, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and more recently on the Nintendo Switch. We anticipate the same cross-platform release for Diablo 4, although emphasis will be on the PC version.
Diablo 4 Trailer
With no official announcement on the horizon, there’s no Diablo 4 trailer to speak of, although conniving uploaders have littered YouTube with misleading videos hoping to convince us otherwise. These invariably turn out to be trailers for other games such as World of Warcraft: Cataclysm among more creative displays of trickery.
If, and when, Blizzard finally announces the game, we’ll undoubtedly receive a trailer worthy of the occasion.
Diablo 4 News
News surrounding Diablo 4 is at best anecdotal, but among purported rumors are tangible signs the game is well and truly in the works.
Among these, the most striking is a constant string of job openings on Blizzard’s website linked to ”unannounced projects” ranging from character and concept artists to level designers and gameplay engineers. A prominent developer of the ilk of Blizzard doesn’t hire new blood if it isn’t working on something significant and the most likely candidate is Diablo 4.
Of equal note is a short video that popped up back in August 2018, titled ”The Future of Diablo”. In said video, the associate community manager for everything Diablo revealed that multiple Diablo projects were being worked on and to expect news before the end of 2018. Diablo Immortal turned out to be the aforementioned news.
Diablo 4 Rumors
Diablo 4 rumors are available a dime a dozen with the primary source being, unsurprisingly, hotbeds of speculation Reddit and 4Chan.
Among the most thrilling was a post on Reddit in early October 2018 penned by a Redditor claiming to have insider info on Diablo 4 thanks to friends closely associated with Blizzard. The link is tenuous, but the details provided are tantalizing.
We’ve picked out the juiciest details below, but must qualify in no uncertain terms that the following is mere rumor and is in no way corroborated or confirmed by Blizzard.
Firstly, Diablo 4 will be a dynamic open-world game in the same vein as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey or Fallout 4 where every nook and cranny is explorable and peppered by quests, dungeons, and sandbox events. It will, however, retain the isometric viewpoint of previous Diablo games.
It will be a sequel with single player, co-op, and multiplayer components with an MMO feel and PvP following a game-as-service model like Overwatch and World of Warcraft.
Diablo 4 runs on a new engine developed by Blizzard. Graphical quality is significantly better than Diablo 3 with plans to launch the game on the next generation of consoles as well as PC.
The Dice Conspiracy
Although this snippet is now a vestige of Blizzard’s long-running will they won’t they charade, it’s a fun anecdote that’s now become part of Diablo history, remaining to this day a controversial topic.
Blizzard has a reputation for forking out high-quality goodies to influencers, Twitch streamers and the like, notably in goody bags handed out in the lead up to events and releases.
In July 2016, Blizzard sent out one such bag, and it caused quite a fuss because of its contents.
Among a selection of items, including a BlizzCon stein and logoed coaster, was a sack of Diablo die. One dice was four-sided, known in tabletop gaming circles as a ”D4”. Many pointed to a not so subtle Diablo 4 reference. That’s not all, the dice had a printing error on one side, which read as 1-1-4 instead of the standard 1-1-1.
Eager fans and budding conspiracy theorists were adamant 1-1-4 referred to a particular day, specifically 11/4, or November 4th – one of the dates on which BlizzCon 2016 was scheduled to take place. Countless fans expected a Diablo 4 announcement on that date.
Nothing happened on November 4th, 2016, but the story resonates to this day. Was this an intentional mistake on the part of a trolling Blizzard whose production standards are usually of the highest order? Or was it a mass-production slip up during the manufacturing process? The coincidence veers a little too much towards the unlikely to be merely an error.
Blizzard has remained schtum on the matter, and chances are we’ll never know.
The Final Word
In all likelihood, Diablo 4 will happen. It’s just a matter of time at this point. An announcement would quell years of speculation and satiate the press and players alike.
From the outside, Blizzard’s actions beggar belief, and it is increasingly hard to decipher what exactly is the plan of action when it comes to Diablo 4.
As Blizzard traipses into the dangerous territory of money-grabbing mobile spin-offs bound to tingle the ire of devoted Diablo aficionados, Diablo 4 may turn out to be the redeeming beacon of light the developer desperately needs.
The UK-based journalist and gamer, Thomas, describes himself as a man of few words with an unhealthy obsession for everything wonderful about the world of gaming. Thanks to his experience in the gaming industry, he brings a wealth of talent into GamingScan.