Report: Blizzard cancelled the second Diablo 3 expansion
Report: Blizzard cancelled the second Diablo 3 expansion ⚡⚡⚡ Esports and gaming news, analytics, reviews on WePlay! The latest news on WePlay!
Kotaku's editor Jason Schreier, famous for his wonderful insides on the industry's problems, has shared a bunch of shocking details about Blizzard via a recent article on the Past, Present, and Future of Diablo. Jason interviewed eleven current and former Blizzard employees in order to get a clear picture of what is happening at the widely beloved studio.
Let's start with a warming confirmation that Diablo 4 is indeed real and being worked on at Blizzard though it was completely rebooted back in 2016. Sadly, the rest of the information published by Jason is mostly devoted to cancelled projects and rejected ideas. For example, Blizzard had plans to develop another big expansion for Diablo 3 after Reaper of Souls, but the studio executives decided to abandon the idea due to false realization - more like a delusion - that Diablo 3 is underperforming. They claimed the game was a failure and focused on shifting teams towards all-new Diablo 4.
The second expansion was cancelled right before the Reaper of Souls release. RoS helped to get rid of most of the game's issues and escape the hate it got back in 2012. Cancellation was a true shock for the team, and one of the employees expressed his feelings in an interview for Jason:
"What they told the team was, 'You've finished Reaper of Souls, it's really good. But we think the best thing for the IP is to move to Diablo 4 in whatever form that'll be. The overall sense on the team, at least in my impression, was that there was a vote of no confidence from the executives. They thought Diablo 3 was a giant f*ck-up."
As another developer noted, cancellation was hard to deal with, as the expansion was supposed to raise overall Diablo 3 quality even higher. Most of the developers at Diablo team were shifted on different projects, whereas a small core team was left to come up with the ideas for Diablo 4. The brainstorming development was led by Reaper of Souls director Josh Mosqueira, who tried to be really innovative and courageous given the circumstances. The team prepared a great fresh idea of slipping into Dark Souls's shoes with Diablo 4.
The game, codenamed Hades at the time, was expected to deliver a completely different approach to classic Diablo gameplay with a 3rd-person camera. As Jason notes, Blizzard was even in talks to give the project a different name, as it was extremely experimental to be considered a fully-fledged Diablo 4 by hardcore fans. There goes another round of disappointment, because Hades was cancelled as well in 2016. The development process was completely rebooted, and Mosqueira left Blizzard. As the result of this cancellation, the remaining team delivered a piece of new content for Diablo 3 called "Rise of the Necromancer", after which work started on another incarnation of Diablo 4 codenamed this time as Fenris.
"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. They want to make this 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."
As you can see, the interviewed employees express strong enthusiasm in Fenris, as the game has already proved to be dark, grim and gloomy in comparison to cartoonish Diablo 3 thanks to a reasonable art-direction led by Luis Barriga. Still, the game is really far from completion. Jason claims, it's won't be out until 2020 or even further, and many of current features are likely to change in the coming years. There's one continuous talk in particular regarding the camera's perspective. The existing prototypes utilize the classic isometric camera, but the idea of a 3rd-person camera, first introduced in Hades, is yet to be abandoned - or not.
Another idea for Fenris is encouraged by Blizzard's strong belief in social elements like the ones introduced in Destiny. Developers would like to add these elements in Diablo 4 with city hubs populated by other players who you can meet and team up with to go on adventures aside from story. The question, whether this feature will end up in game or not, is still being left without answer. There're also talks about monetization, in what form it should be done, as it is really hard to find the right balance with RPG genre. The California based company should take a look at the way monetization is done in free-to-play Path of Exile, where you can only buy cosmetics.
But again, Fenris is in early stages of development and hasn't been officially confirmed or announced by Blizzard. The announcement could've helped to ease the negative response Blizzard faced after revealing Diablo Immortal. The anonymous employees claim that the announcement was initially planned to happen during 2018, but all we got was a mobile dungeon-crawler. Judging by Jason's sources, Diablo Immortal is not the only project for smartphones by Blizzard. There're a lot of Pokemon GO fans inside company, and their passion has led to starting an experimental project based on Niantic's mobile blockbuster.
It is literally a Warcraft version of Pokemon GO, which has now entered the full development process. Like, don't you guys have phones?