Saturday, February 23

DIABLO IV ON THE HORIZON?

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It’s been six years since Diablo III, if we don’t count in the expansion packs Reaper of Souls and Rise of the Necromancer released in 2014 and 2017, respectively. But Blizzard is known to break the news about new projects through job ads, and this time it wasn’t any different.

The Job Openings page on the Blizzard’s website lists an open position for Dungeon Artist, Technical Artist, Environment Artist and other eight openings on the new Diablo project. For now, they keep it all under the cape of secrecy and even the ad states it’s the matter of unannounced Diablo project. However, the ad does state one small detail about the upcoming project that should go without saying, but it still makes the fans’ knees flutter.

Every job ad starts with the following:

“We Need You

The minions of Hell are growing stronger…

We’re working on a new, unannounced Diablo project.”

Then they continue to list all the requirements they look for in a candidate, among which it’s pretty clear that a fan of the game would be preferable.

“The ideal candidate works well in an environment of peers who are passionate about working on the dark gothic world of Diablo, making great games, killing millions of monsters and getting loot!” says the Dungeon Artist job opening.

However, the rumors about the new project were out there since game director Josh Mosquiera left Diablo III in 2016. But the number of job openings for an unannounced Diablo project has started to grow quickly, and we can’t stop hoping that soon the news about Diablo IV will be official. Blizzard already found a production director and senior game producer although they are still silent when it comes to specifics.

The company is famous for taking a long time to develop certain projects, like it was the case with StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. Namely, it took Blizzard 12 years to release a sequel to one of their most popular games and fans often jumped at any information that appeared, even a job opening.

Just a little bit of history

Diablo is an action RPG which was released in 1996. The game revolves around a hero who has to beat Diablo – the Lord of Terror to save the world. You can choose from the three character classes: Sorcerer, Rogue, and Warrior. Multiplayer mode was also available for up to four players, although the types of connection are basically archaic compared to the ones we use today.

Diablo’s creator David Brevik had his own studio Condor Games which will later become Blizzard North. Brevik pitched the idea to several studios which rejected it saying that “RPGs are dead” and outdated. When Brevik came to Blizzard, they already had success with Warcraft: Orcs & Humans (1994) a real-time strategy. Based on that experience they asked Brevik to fulfill two conditions: to change Diablo into a real-time game and add a multiplayer mode.

“One of the things that we were trying to get with Diablo was ease of gaming. The NHL series was really good at this, where you just click and you’re in the game. Before Diablo, when you created a character, you had to answer 53 questions about this that and the other; you had to name it, give it a backstory and so on. We just wanted to get in and start smashing things,” said Brevik in 2015 for the video game magazine Edge.

Brevik and his fellow developers found inspiration in the video game Dungeons of Moria which was based on The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. Other games that are mentioned as having influenced the development of Diablo are The Legend of Zelda, Telengard and, of course, the success of Warcraft: Orcs & Humans.

Diablo’s success with over 500,000 copies sold as pre-orders was followed by the expansion pack Diablo: Hellfire released in 1997. Electronic Arts were granted the exclusive rights to develop a console version in 1996, as well as to publish and distribute it.

The PlayStation version appeared in 1998, but it didn’t have online capabilities and some other things were changed due to the different gaming platforms. However, an important in-game change was that the story was told by the narrator instead of through the books like in the PC version.

Diablo II was released in 2000 and it continued with the dark fantasy theme from the previous game. The game offered five character classes: Necromancer, Amazon, Sorceress, Paladin, and Barbarian. It also offered free access to the Blizzard’s online server Battle.net which only helped its success. It included four Acts with quests taking the player deeper into Hell.

The plot continues directly from Diablo, with the hero who defeated Diablo being corrupted by his evil essence and spreading it across the world. The group of adventurers decides to look for this source of evil and save the world.

An expansion pack Diablo II: Lord of Destruction was released in 2001 which included Act V of the game and two new character classes: Assassin and Druid. Additionally, it also had considerably improved solo and multiplayer mode compared to Diablo II.

Since Battle.net offered access to the multiplayer mode for free, it was obvious from the start that Diablo II was developed primarily for playing online. Certain spells proved to be more efficient when used in party, like war cries for example. Since they had their share of cheating in Diablo, the developers decided to create Open and Closed realms on Battle.net. That way characters in closed realms were protected from cheating and expired after 90 days of inactivity, while open ones were for single-player mode.

Diablo III was released by Blizzard Entertainment in 2012 for Microsoft Windows and macOS, while console version came out in 2013 and 2014. This time, the player can choose one of seven character classes: Crusader, Demon Hunter, Monk, Barbarian, Necromancer, Witch Doctor and Wizard.

The plot takes place 20 years after Diablo II, and once again your main quest is to defeat Diablo who was resurrected with a Black Soulstone. The game sold over 3.5 million copies in one day, which was a record for a PC game. In one year, the game reached an impressive number of 12 million copies sold worldwide.

The first expansion pack Diablo III: Reaper of Souls was released in 2014 and the second one Diablo III: Rise of the Necromancer in 2017.

All in all

In 2012, Kotaku website published an article on 40 most powerful people in video games. Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard was among them at number 4, proclaimed by the same website as “the longest-serving head of any publicly traded tech company.” Another name on the list was Mike Morhaime, President and CEO of Blizzard at number 5. The very fact that two people from Blizzard are at the top of the list and still on their position to this day speaks of the company’s success in the gaming industry.

Therefore, the fans shouldn’t worry if there will be Diablo IV, but follow the news in order to see when it will show up. Knowing Blizzard Entertainment and the mentioned evolution of Diablo’s gameplay, we will certainly have a lot to look forward to.

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