One of the biggest events this month, but not in a good way, turned out to be the announcement of Diablo Immortal, the mobile version of the popular franchise. Fans of the series didn’t take kindly to the announcement, to say the least. Emotions were somewhat soothed by reports that Blizzard is also working on a full-fledged Diablo 4, but encountered problems during the development, and that’s the reason why the company isn’t ready to officially reveal the game. Now, thanks to an article by Kotaku, we’ve learned a lot more about the fourth part of the series.
Cancelled Diablo III expansion and project Hades
To understand the current circumstances of the franchise, we must go back to Diablo III. The game sold well, but it had a lot of problems. Most of them were fixed by patches and the warmly received expansion, Reaper of Souls. However, the studio’s boss decided that there was no point in investing further in this title, so the work on the second DLC was abandoned. Some of the employees left, others moved to other teams. The rest of the developers started working of the fourth part, which was given the code name Hades.
Hades was very different from what the fans of the series had become accustomed to. Instead of an isometric hack'n'slash, we were to receive an action RPG in the vein of the Dark Souls series, where the camera would be placed behind the protagonist's back. The changes were so big that many people in the studio doubted whether the project could even be released as a new installment of the long-standing franchise. Eventually, after two years of production, the game was put on hold, as it had no chance of achieving the quality required from a Blizzard game.
Fenris a.k.a. Diablo 4
After cancelling project Hades, the studio returned to the third part of the franchise, creating the Rise of the Necromancer DLC. Then the team started the development of the fourth installment, which is now known under the code name Fenris. The authors abandoned the cartoonish style of Diablo III and focused on dark atmosphere, inspired by Diablo II – with a lot of brutality and even scenes that could cause disgust.
Fenris is at an early stage of production and we will have to wait for the release at least untill 2020. The current version of the game employs a traditional isometric camera, but the team is wondering whether this should be changed. The MMO elements have been strengthened, drawing inspiration from the Destiny series. Cities play the role of hubs, where you can meet other players and form a team, and then set off on more traditional instances.
The question arises as to why Fenris was not revealed during BlizzCon, which would help to alleviate the negative reaction caused by Diablo Immortal. The studio is supposedly cautious after its experience with the deleted MMO Titan. Of course, eventually, a hit – Overwatch – was created on its ruins, but still, abandoning a project many years after its announcement is something that the developer doesn't intend to repeat. That's why Diablo 4 will be officially announced only when Blizzard is sure that the game will be finished, and fans won't have to wait too long for it.
- Blizzard Entertainment official website