It was quite the weekend for major game leaks. As well as the first ever footage from a very unfinished GTA 6 being plastered all across the internet midway through September, Sunday the 18th also saw a full 43 minutes of the unfinished Diablo IV get uploaded. Footage from the ongoing friends and family alpha test previously appeared last month, but not anything this comprehensive.
This is an odd one, honestly. It’s footage, as revealed on Reddit, of exactly what you’d expect Diablo IV to look like. It’s in ultra-wide, with a very neat, minimized UI in the bottom center, and a compact map and quest list top right. And then the rest of the screen is a character running around in the dark.
It’s definitely not helped that the screen is almost more watermark than footage, but behind all that you can make out some brand new features that look pretty neat, with a Barbarian character showing off some hefty attacks. There’s climbing, there’s jumping across gaps, and there’s loads more detail in the textures that are in place. It looks like exactly what anyone would want: More Diablo.
I do find it funny that features like climbing or jumping really stand out as I watch the footage. It’s completely daft that such staples of gaming feel like special new additions, but this is a series for which change is incremental and glacial. And, if such changes concern you (as they ought—we surely don’t want Diablo becoming a third-person action game), be assuaged by learning that they look like just more interesting ways to go up and down stairs, or move about a level. You’re not timing jumps, just pressing a button when next to a gap.
But, crucially, it shows a game with a lot more verticality than we’ve seen from the series before. Caves feel far more three-dimensional, not restricted to ‘levels’ when going up and down. Combined with what we saw in August of the character creator and class information, honestly, this leak almost acts like an unofficial marketing campaign for an impressive-looking game.
Just as with GTA 6, it’s a fascinating insight into an in-development build. However, this is certainly a lot later in development, the game due at some point next year. It’s rather charming to see the bright green boardwalks and hear it played with stilted AI voiceover placeholder dialogue, though. The worst aspect about this leak is how poor the streaming quality is.
There are some mission spoilers in there, which I won’t share because it benefits precisely no one. It’s worth noting, however, that rather strangely Activision Blizzard has yet to have the original leak’s files taken down. Perhaps, unlike Take-Two, they recognize the incredible free publicity such leaks offer, despite frustrating their marketing plans...No, I’m joking.
It’s a spectacularly stupid leak, as it happens. Whoever decided to stream this to chums (presumably on Discord, given the constant blee-bloops throughout) didn’t carefully vet whoever was watching, and did so playing a heavily watermarked build covered with “PRIVATE TEST BUILD” and then a unique number. Which is to say, just like last time, there won’t be any mystery for Blizzard about who is responsible.
The larger problem, presumably, is how it can effectively run a private alpha test if leaks like this are to be so prolific and extensive. These are very different times in which to be making a video game, compared even to 2012's Diablo III. It’ll be very interesting to see how developers respond with future alpha/beta tests.