DEMON hunters across the world were given a treat today when publisher Blizzard announced the newest installment in the popular Diablo series.
Entitled Diablo IV and coming to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Blizzard unveiled the game at BlizzCon in Anaheim, saying the new title “draws players into a grim story line and gives them the freedom to explore and forge their own path across the most expansive and intense vision of the world of Sanctuary—a bleak and shattered hellscape bereft of hope and beset by demons”.
The official announcement went on to say “true to the franchise’s roots, Diablo IV will deliver visceral combat, gruesome and varied monsters, an epic hunt for legendary loot, and endless playability and progression.”
“Players will find a lifetime’s worth of adventure scattered across a land rooted in unique ecologies and inhabited by dangerous new foes. They’ll delve into randomised dungeons packed with unpredictable adversaries and unimaginable treasures,” it said.
Blizzard have also said Diablo IV will not only support solo and co-ordinated party play, it will all have opportunities for groups of players to encounter each other in the same shared world, hinting at the possiblility of co-op and PvP opportunities as well.
Blizzard president J Allen Brack said Sanctuary had been a home to Diablo players for more than 20 years, and it was with Blizzard’s own deep passion for the series and a deep appreciation of the community that we announce were announcing Diablo IV today.
“We’re excited to be returning to the dark, quintessential Diablo gameplay that players love while expanding the world and story in new ways, and we can’t wait for more people to be able to experience it,” he said.
The game announcement said Diablo IV players would attempt to bring hope back to the world by “vanquishing evil in all its vile incarnations—from cannibalistic demon-worshipping cultists to the all-new drowned undead that emerge from the coastlines to drag their victims to a watery grave”.
“For the first time in the series, Sanctuary will be a contiguous, seamless landmass comprising diverse regions ranging from the burning desert of Kejhistan, to the verdant werewolf-infested forests of Scosglen, to the harsh and rugged wilderness of the Dry Steppes,” the announcement said.
The first three confirmed classes for the game, as per the official game announcement, are:
The Barbarian, known for their unparalleled strength and brutal melee combat, utilises a new and more powerful system in battle, Arsenal, which arms them with the ability to carry and rapidly switch between four different weapons at a time by assigning them to individual attacks.
The Sorceress hearkens back to their Diablo II roots and shapes the elements to obliterate their foes by impaling them upon jagged spikes of ice, electrocuting them with bolts of lightning, or raining flaming meteors from the sky.
The Druid is a savage shapeshifter whose updated playstyle empowers them to fluidly transform between werewolf, werebear, and human form to unleash the raw power of nature’s furyon the forces of the Burning Hells.
Blizzard say the characters honour the legacy of the franchise and exemplify how Diablo IV builds upon the series’ history by preserving the core Diablo fantasy while allowing players to explore untapped gameplay possibilities with fresh inspiration.
“Players will be able to experiment and discover countless character builds through customisable talent trees and skills, a deep loot system filled with legendary and set items to collect, runes and rune word combinations, and even personalised mounts for traversing the open world,” the announcement said.
Unsurprisingly, Diablo IV is being developed using up to date technology which promises a greatly enriched and more immersive experience.
Blizzard say it will open up countless possibilities for the Diablo series, “from smooth character animations, such as the Druid’s fluid shapeshifting, to the seamless, vast overworld players will travel across in search of the next loot-filled underground dungeon”.
While no details of a release date have been announced, the news has been considerably better received than the announcement of Diablo Immortal – a mobile game – at last year’s BlizzCon, where one attendee famously asked if the announcement was a joke.
For what it’s worth, I actually played Diablo Immortal at BlizzCon that year and it seemed like a perfectly solid mobile phone game which was clearly part of the Diablo universe – although unlike Diablo IV, it wasn’t the game people wanted to hear being announced.
Blizzard have promised more details on Diablo IV as development progresses, and given the popularity of the series, there are almost certainly going to be a lot of people following any news on the game with great interest and excitement.