According to a series of anonymous interviews with Blizzard's employees, not only has Diablo 4 been in development for a while, it was intended to be a dungeon crawler in the vein of Dark Souls before the idea was ultimately abandoned.
Codenamed Hades, Diablo 4 development technically started in 2014 with Josh Mosqueira at the helm. Fast forward two years later and both Mosqueira and Diablo Dark Souls edition were gone, paving way for what's to become the actual game. Well, actual.
Blizzard resurrected the project a few months later, handing over the reins to design director Luis Barriga and code naming it Fenris after a mythical giant wolf from Norse mythology. Barriga's creative direction focused on making Diablo 4 a much darker and grosser version of its predecessor, removing anything and everything that was considered cartoony.
The interviewed employees agree that Diablo 4 won't be coming out before 2020, which is the earliest possible window, since Blizzard are yet to decide on a few things that may have a profound impact on the game. Firstly, and I personally can't believe this is even a choice, the company is unsure whether to stick to Diablo's isometric tradition or switch to third person perspective.
At the same time, Blizzard wanted to make Diablo 4 more social, with some "light MMO" elements akin to Destiny or even World of Warcraft. What the team aimed for is a classic Diablo experience with a bunch of people on the map.
Of course, this leaves the obvious question of monetisation and we honestly hope Blizzard will have enough sense to steer clear of Activision's Destiny 2 model, for their own sake. If there's anything they could learn from Fortnite, and it's not like they haven't been watching, is that you don't have to charge more to make more - you just need a better game.
Employees are reportedly under pressure to deliver Overwatch's launch numbers year in, year out, and it's been getting worse since Mike Morhaime left. "He just wants employees to be happy, and he just wants to make good games and keep the community happy", one person said, which was in sharp contrast with the company's new policy.
Coincidentally or not, Diablo's creator recently delivered an inebriated rant against Blizzard that very much said the same thing, except for pointing out it's entirely hypothetical. Well, it was.
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