During the opening ceremony of Blizzcon 2019, Blizzard Entertainment confirmed the most unsurprising game reveal in the company’s recent history: Diablo IV.
“We’ve had Diablo IV in development for some time,” Blizzard President J. Allen Brack said, following its reveal (which we already suspected). He added that the company wanted to be sure the game was in a playable state before announcing it to the world. Hence, Diablo IV‘s reveal included a lengthy gameplay trailer and a promise that all conference attendees could play the game’s demo during the weekend-long event.
The reveal included confirmation of the week’s many leaks: that the game would revolve around the return of Diablo II‘s villain Lilith; that the new game’s art style would return to a black-brown-and-red motif, a la Diablo II; and that its first three revealed classes would be the barbarian, sorceress, and druid. Game Director Luis Barriga pledged to fully support a more “brutal” take on player-versus-player (PvP) combat, but he didn’t go into further details on how that will operate.
Though Barriga wasn’t ready to reveal a release date or window, he did confirm the game will launch on Windows PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. That chosen series of platforms may peg the game’s launch before 2020’s holiday season, when we expect to see new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Scarlett consoles… or it may simply be a placeholder announcement before Diablo IV winds up on newer consoles, anyway.
Diablo IV‘s gameplay trailer included hints of new mechanics, particularly the ability to ride horses—and then chain attacks off of horseback, so that a hero can explode in a lightning burst off of its mount to attack nearby enemies. It also included clear callbacks to Diablo II, particularly the animations of loot and gold exploding from dead bodies, not to mention the obvious emphasis on the older games’ color palettes. The trailer’s mix of indoor and outdoor zones still made the most of that limited color palette in terms of biome diversity, while each revealed class already appears to have a mix of screen-clearing and zone-slashing powers, so that each can clear a room of diabolic baddies on its own.
Ars Technica has boots on Blizzcon’s floor, and we’ll be back in the coming days with impressions of how Diablo IV feels compared to other classics in the series. We’ll also see if Blizzard has anything to say about Diablo Immortal, the smartphone-only fork of the series that was revealed to a tepid fan reaction at last year’s Blizzcon event. (Update: The Blizzcon keynote ended without a single mention of Diablo Immortal, though it may receive mentions at various panels through the weekend-long event.)
Listing image by Blizzard Entertainment