We’ve known that Diablo IV has been coming for three years now, and Blizzard has finally announced a release date for when we can all literally go to hell. Oh, and Halsey was there too. Here’s the cinematic trailer from The Game Awards:
Like its predecessors, Diablo IV will see you battling countless hordes of demonic minions, though this time in a more open-world setting. Journalists who recently got their hands on a preview build noted that the game takes design cues from both Diablo II and III while giving players more flexibility in how they choose to build their characters’ abilities. Judging from these previews, the sprawling skill trees might be the most exciting aspect of Diablo IV, which doesn’t lock you into your existing build.
“We know that as you’re engaging with the game, especially early on, you don’t have a full understanding of the game. You’re going to want to experiment and try things out,” Diablo IV game director Joe Shely told GameSpot. “When you look at our respec systems, which apply to both our skill tree and Paragon for later levels, which is our endgame progression system, we really tried to approach it in a way that yes, gives that sense of making a choice that matters and [that] your character is not the same as everyone else’s character.”
There was initially some controversy over whether or not it would be free-to-play like mobile spin-off Diablo Immortal. The backlash was so severe that a community manager had to clarify that the latest mainline game would not be like its mobile predecessor.
Diablo IV was originally slated to come out at an earlier date, but the game was delayed following several setbacks. Game director Luis Barriga departed Blizzard this summer in the midst of the company’s reckoning with a gender discrimination and harassment lawsuit.
The Washington Post, hours before The Game Awards kicked off, published a report about crunch and toxic work conditions on the Diablo IV team. Current and former employees said that the team had been bleeding developers because of low pay and working conditions. Developers are expecting to work significant overtime in order to meet the reported release date of June 6, 2023.