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BlizzCon 2019 Speculation: What's Next for Diablo?
27/10/2019 à 09:36
BlizzCon 2019 is right around the corner, and as is our custom, we're diving into the depths of our imagination to speculate on what might be revealed this year.
is one of Blizzard's oldest franchises which has had something of a tumultuous history; while all three titles received critical acclaim and broke sales records,
problematic launch, the inclusion of an auction house, and questionable design decisions left many fans alienated, and despite many patches, new systems, and improvements by the time the expansion
Reaper of Souls
launched, the lack of following development failed to bring many fans back to the table. BlizzCon 2018 failed to inspire fans with their
announcement of a mobile title
, rather than a new installment in the PC series, despite assurances that PC development was still a priority. That installment, the long awaited
, is first on everyone's mind leading up to BlizzCon 2019.
What's Next? Diablo IV
It's a virtual guarantee that
will be announced at this year's BlizzCon. Even if you weren't following all the
rumors and leaks
, or the reports that
was supposed to be announced at last year's BlizzCon, it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that the game has been in development for quite some time now. The question then is less "will it be announced" and more "what will the announcement entail"?
Despite all of the purported leaks, there's still very little information on what exactly Diablo IV will entail. At the very least, we can be certain it will be a PC game, as that is Blizzard's main focus and we have been told several times that a PC title was in development; that said, the success in porting
to PS4 and Nintendo Switch make it very likely we could see joint or at least future console releases as well. Likewise, it's a very good assumption that it will be another ARPG, rather than trying to pull a
. What we don't know is whether this will be an Elder Scrolls style "coming soon, see you in 5 years" or a surprise "everyone is invited to the Beta starting next week!". We hope the amount of secretive
Coming Soon! panels on the BlizzCon schedule
is an indication that development is closer to the end than the beginning, but it's anyone's guess as Blizzard is famously good at keeping their projects under wraps, even from many of their own employees.
We also don't know anything about the plot. Surely, the titular Lord of Terror Diablo will be connected to the story somehow, though the fate of the Prime Evils is still yet to be discovered. Certainly, there are several unresolved plotlines from
which could lead into the narrative:
The fate of the Greater Evils
: Six of the seven Great Evils were sealed within the Black Soulstone, only to be merged with Diablo into a single being, the Prime Evil. The stone survived Diablo's defeat only to be stolen by the rogue Archangel Malthael who intended to use it to destroy humanity, eventually shattering the stone to absorb its power and inadvertently releasing the spirit of Diablo back into the world.
The Black Soulstone Shard
: A shard of the Black Soulstone was retained by Tyrael, used during the
Reaper of Souls
campaign to track Malthael, though its fate is never revealed. It's very likely this could prove to be a plot point in Diablo IV, either to track Diablo or keep it safe from his grasp.
: The union of Angel and Demon produced the Nephalem, mortal but extremely powerful, they were the forebears of humanity. Driven by fear of their creation, the Worldstone was used to dilute their powers, weakening each successive generation of mortals until their civilization collapsed and the Nephalem became nothing more than myth and legend. The shattering of the Worldstone removed this block, leaving the mortal realm exposed to both Heaven and Hell, and over the next generation and within the next generation power began to return to humanity. The heroes of Diablo III heralded the return of the Nephalem, although several others were captured and sacrificed before their powers became known.
The Archangel Inarius and Demoness Lilith
: Inarus was once an archangel of the High Heavens serving under Tyrael who became disillusioned with the Eternal Conflict against the forces of Hell. Determined to find like minded angels and demons to escape the war, he was injured and captured Lilith, the daughter of Mephisto, who let him go after hearing of his desires. Becoming infatuated with the rebellious demoness, they fell in love, created a following, and used the Worldstone to create a new world for themselves which would come to be called Sanctuary. Theirs and similar unions created the Nephalem which would eventually become humanity; fearing their power, many of the renegades decided to hunt down and destroy their offspring, which in turn drove Lilith to murder her angel and demon alike before Inarius was able to banish her to the Void. She would later return and be banished once again during Sin War, with Inarius handed over to Mephisto to be tortured for all eternity.
These unresolved plotlines will almost certainly play a role in Diablo IV's narrative, although to what degree remains anyone's guess. As stated at the conclusion of
, the return of the Nephalem is a danger to both angel and demon alike, and will likely be the foremost plot device as the Eternal War becomes three sided. Lilith and Inarius are also intrinsically connected to the Nephalem and their clashes with heaven and hell would allow them to fit perfectly into a story revolving around the three factions. Diablo seems equally likely to return, as a Diablo game without the titular character would seem unlikely, although exactly how the Lord of Terror and/or his brothers will manifest themselves this time remains to be seen.
Stylistically, we've also heard that
is intended to be darker than
, moving away from the color and humor present in the latter in favor of a grittier horror theme more closely matching the first two titles. While this is purely speculative and many players still enjoyed the style of
, it was also the subject of criticism from long term fans. Certainly this will be one of the first questions answered in any reveal.
What's Next? Diablo: Immortal
Like it or not, we also know
is on the horizon. The mobile title is set within the 20 years between the events of
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
, focusing on finding the shards of the corrupted Worldstone, exploring the origins of the Demon Hunters, and following the activities of several characters from
including Tyrael, Malthael, Adria, Maghda, and Deckard Cain, with hints that Baal will also be seen before his imprisonment within the body of Tal Rasha. Westmarch is set to be the player hub, with the Barbarian, Crusader, Demon Hunter, Monk, Necromancer, and Wizard as playable classes, although Assassin, Druid, and Witch Doctor have been mentioned as potential additions.
When exactly the game will be released is still unknown, though it's rumored to be near if not already completed, making a BlizzCon announcement and holiday launch
likely. Despite an incredibly tepid response at BlizzCon 2018,
also initially received derision and has since grown into one of Blizzard's most successful franchises, and response is likely to be far better if it comes alongside
reveals, rather than standing on its own. Either way, those who insist on bemoaning the mobile title don't have a choice -
is coming either way.
Speculation: Diablo II Remastered
While we have absolutely no indication this is coming, the idea of a Diablo II remaster has been on wishlists for quite a long time. Still popular nearly 20 years after its release in June of 2000,
has given rise to several fanmade tweaks and overhauls, breathing new life into the aging game. It's biggest weakness in that regard has always been limitations of the base code and engine, despite the wizardry that modders have managed, there are limitations. The success of
and overwhelming positive response of
Warcraft III: Reforged
proves the large appetite for these games, though
exactly they should be remade is the subject of great debate.
was remastered, under the premise of updating audio/visual fidelity and bringing the game up to current standards, without changing either the gameplay aspects or even the look and feel of the game. This is fitting, given Starcraft's successful multiplayer focus and great pains were taken to ensure that
will match in almost every respect as the same client powers both versions.
is being reforged, a notable distinction in that it is being completely overhauled with an upgraded engine, completely new graphics, and several campaign changes. The new game looks much more similar to
Heroes of the Storm
, while characters and locations are remade to more closely resemble their
World of Warcraft
counterparts. The intent is to retain the spirit and story of
, but better connect it to the games and novels, inviting
World of Warcraft
players who never experienced the game to explore the backstory and development of the major characters which shaped it. An updated World Editor is also being made, although care has been taken to both allow Classic and Reforged owners to play together, and allow Classic mods to be playable on Reforged as well.
Both of these titles are done by Blizzard's Classic Games Division, and with
Warcraft III: Reforged
nearing release, it seems inevitable they will turn to a new project.
feels like the natural next step, and also allows the opportunity for an even larger overhaul than
Warcraft III: Reforged
, as multiplayer cohesion and original mod support isn't as high a priority. The art coming out of
Warcraft III: Reforged
, particularly the
chaos and undead models
feels heavily inspired by
, and could prove to have a lot of overlap if the Classic should be remade for a modern age.
What do you think is coming for Diablo at BlizzCon 2019, and what are you most excited for? While we have a good idea of what's to come, Blizzard has repeatedly teased at long term plans, both at
The Future of Diablo
they reiterated that multiple Diablo projects were in the works, some of which may take longer than others. Over the years we've heard several rumors and fantasies, including a Diablo MMO, a Dark Souls-like dungeon crawler, and Blizzard is known for experimentation, even if some of their projects
never see the light of day
. Regardless of whatever else may or may not be in the works, the immediate future of the
franchise looks dark and gritty, and we couldn't be more excited!
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