It’s been over seven years since the initial release of Diablo 3, so obviously we’re champing at the bit to start another monstrous loot hunt in Diablo 4.
After months of rumors, the title has been officially confirmed by Blizzard at Blizzcon 2019 – and we now know that Diablo 4 is an isometric action RPG which sees the return of Lilith, the daughter of Mephisto.
It will feature an open world map with five regions, day/night cycles and a non-linear campaign. You’ll smash and loot your way through this world with one of five customizable classes, three of which are already announced.
Finally, it’s being designed in a brand-new engine for PS4, Xbox One and PC, with plans to simultaneously release it on all platforms.
Want to know more? Here’s everything to know so far about the long-awaited Diablo 4.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next instalation in the veteran action-role playing dungeon crawling series, Diablo.
- When can I play it? We’re not entirely sure, but ‘not soon’ is what Blizzard says.
- What can I play it on? Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
Diablo 4 trailers
Diablo 4 was officially announced at Blizzcon 2019 where we got the chance to see both the announcement story cinematic, and the first gameplay trailer.
Diablo 4 release date
Bad news here: Diablo 4 probably won’t be released anytime soon. At a Blizzcon deep dive on the game, the game’s director said that he doesn’t expect the game to be finished anytime soon, “even by Blizzard’s standards of soon.”
That said, the fact that the team is developing the game for PS4 and Xbox One heavily implies that the game will be released within the next two to three years – as the lifespan of those consoles will be coming to an abrupt end after the launch of new consoles in late 2020.
Diablo 4 news, previous leaks and features
Blizzcon 2019 Unveiling
Diablo 4 was officially confirmed at Blizzcon 2019 on November 1, where it was revealed the game would focus on Lilith – the daughter of Mephisto.
Like its predecessors, the game is an isometric, action RPG and will have PVP zones in the overworld – with the first three classes being barbarian, sorceress and druid. It’s also being developed for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
Story and setting
For those who haven’t been following along in the in-game events, Diablo 4 will be set after Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls. At this point, the gates of heaven have been closed after Malthael, the Angel of Death, destroyed much of Sanctuary.
It’s through Heaven’s ignorance of the events transpiring in Sanctuary that Lilith, the daughter of Mephisto and canonical mother of humanity, is set lose from her prison.
What we know about the overworld right now is that it’s all open, with five unique regions and both a day/night cycle and ever-changing weather. Missions are non-linear and according to the game’s director, you’re free to take them on however you’d like.
Dungeons and loot
Like previous entries, you’re going to spend a lot of time in dungeons – all of which will be randomly generated in a similar way to Diablo 3. According to the game’s director, there will be ‘hundreds of dungeons’ in the game to explore ‘in which you’ll find hundreds of legendary items to equip’.
Which classes are available?
At launch, Diablo 4 will feature five classes – three of which we already know about. The Barbarian, a series staple will return in Diablo 4 and will be available to wield both double- and single-handed weapons in a single build, and will have four weapon slots.
The Sorceress, another returning favorite, will have AOE attacks that control the battlefield and will be able to turn into a ball of energy to incinerate enemies, while the Druid has both animal companion NPCs and the ability to shapeshift.
The Art of Diablo may have revealed Diablo 4 – confirmed
German magazine Game Star found a listing for a glossy new book called The Art of Diablo. Taking a behind-the-scenes look at the art of the franchise, it’s set to contain “more than 500 artworks from Diablo 1, Diablo 2, Diablo 3 and Diablo 4.” Yep, Diablo 4, being mentioned in relation to a book officially associated with the developer Blizzard. Though the book is a little way off from release yet, the mention (likely unintentional) all but confirmed that Diablo 4 was on the way.
New hires – confirmed
Tongues started wagging after nine job listings for an “unannounced project” in the Diablo franchise were spotted on the Blizzard Entertainment careers page. The company was looking for key roles, including lead character and concept artists, software engineers, a lead narrative designer and an executive producer.
While it’s not certain that the listings were for Diablo 4, the game has since been announced.
More development focus
Reports have stated that Blizzard is no longer working on a StarCraft shooter and has decided to shift development focus over to Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2. This is good news for those waiting with bated breath for Diablo 4 updates as it shows Blizzard is entirely focused on the game. With a larger team behind it could we see more updates soon? Given Blizzard didn’t attend Gamescom 2019, it could still be some time.
Blizzard wasn’t at Gamescom 2019
We knew Blizzard wouldn’t be attending Gamescom 2019 as, in a news post from Blizzard Entertainment, the developer confirmed that it wouldn’t be attending. But why?
“As part of a renewed effort this year to maintain our focus on development, for our current games and our future projects, we won’t have a booth at Gamescom 2019,” the post reads. “The show is an important one for the European and global gaming community, and we’re going to miss meeting players in Cologne this year.
“We’re also looking forward to sharing more details about the projects we’re currently working on when the time is right.”
Diablo Hades and / or Diablo Fenris
Game development is often iterative. Diablo 3 was in the works for many years and prototyped in many different ways before becoming the game we know today – and even then, it’s changed dramatically since its (somewhat shaky) initial launch.
Diablo 4 will likely be no different, and an incredibly interesting report from Kotaku back in 2018 pointed to multiple iterations of Diablo being in the works at Blizzard – one that has now ceased experimentation and has been shelved, the other what is reportedly now the foundation of Diablo 4.
Note that these rumors come from sources we’ve not been able to independently verify, but, working alongside the Kotaku UK team and being able to vouch for their integrity, we’d say there’s legitimate information here that could point to the direction that Diablo 4 is headed towards.
– Hades (or ‘Diablo as Dark Souls’
The first of these projects was codenamed ‘Hades’. Sources speaking to Kotaku described a game not dissimilar in approach to Dark Souls – an over the shoulder, hardcore dungeon crawler. Work on Hades spanned 2014-2016 reportedly, and included top Blizzard talent including Diablo 3 director Josh Mosquiera. Given the popularity of Dark Souls, broadly similar RPG mechanics and the shared gothic aesthetic of the two, this would have been an interesting and fresh direction for the series to take. However, sources state that the game just wasn’t gelling, with the team eventually going on to make the excellent Rise of the Necromancer DLC for Diablo 3.
– Fenris (a return to Diablo 2’s darkness)
The second (and reportedly ongoing) effort to make Diablo 4 was codenamed ‘Fenris’, and was worked on by the same team that canned Hades. It would be a more traditional isometric Diablo title, and would see the caricature, colorful aesthetic of Diablo 3 ditched in favor of a darker, grimier, more horrifying look that bring the creepy dread of the first two Diablo games up to date.
“There’s a lot of people who felt like Diablo 3 got away from what made Diablo Diablo in terms of art style and spell effects,” one unnamed Blizzard employee told Kotaku. “They want to make [Fenris] gross, make it dark, [get rid of] anything that was considered cartoony in Diablo 3… Make what people were afraid of in Diablo 2, but modern.”
Fenris is also discussed in highly social terms, taking cues from the likes of World of Warcraft and Destiny. While it wouldn’t be an MMO, it could well be a ‘live game’, with social areas that players can meet in before heading out into instanced dungeon raids.
Could it be that the Diablo franchise is about to experience a schism? One that sees the more approachable stylings of the Diablo 3 era be carried as the mobile Diablo Immortal experience, freely monetizable away from the ire of the hardcore Diablo fan, while Diablo 4 goes back to the horror-infused roots of the earlier games in the series, as being worked on with the Fenris project? It’s a reasonable idea.
Whatever happens, we’ll have all the most up to date information on Diablo 4 here. So keep checking back as we delve deeper into the growing darkness at the heart of Sanctuary.