As part of today’s Blizzcon 2019 opening festivities, Blizzard made the following announcement to the general video game public: The devil’s daughter is here, and we’re all completely boned. Such is the tale of Diablo 4, newly announced after years of speculation and, more recently, leaks from a Germany. As can be seen in the gorgeous nine-minute trailer below, Mephisto’s daughter Lilith has been summoned back to Sanctuary from her apparent exile, and this is as bad as news bears tend to get.
Diablo 4 has no release date as of yet. It doesn’t even have a release window, but we do know that Blizzard wants the game on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 when it does finally crawl out of hell. I wouldn’t be too surprised if the game also finds its way to Xbox Project Scarlett and the PlayStation 5, but until Blizzard says one way or the other, we can only speculate. Likewise, one must speculate on the existence of a Nintendo Switch port, though I think the chance of that happening is a might bit slimmer.
This iteration of Sanctuary is hailed as an “expansive open world” in the Diablo 4 materials provided to press by Blizzard, with promises of “smarter, deadlier, and more diverse monsters,” as well as “massive, multi-phase world bosses.” Players will have to overcome “deadly monster ‘families’ of disparate, yet thematically-linked creatures that work together to present players with interesting strategic challenges.” Like, sudoku? That’d be pretty interesting, if a monster in a Diablo game made me do a sudoku in order to get a new axe or whatever. That’s probably not what Blizzard is talking about.
Players will explore Sanctuary as one of five classes, three of which were announced today: Barbarian, Sorceress, and Druid. (I’ll wait for you to collect yourself after being confronted with these truly shocking class options.) Barbarians will be able to assign up to four different weapons to different attacks, rapidly switching between them in battle as part of Diablo 4‘s new “Arsenal” system.
Sorceresses and Druids — both absent from the series since Diablo 2 and its expansions — appear to retain their trademark suites of elemental spellcasting and shape-shifting abilities, respectively. As for the other two classes available at launch, Diablo has a very rich history to pull from, so we might see the return of a classic like the Necromancer, or a deep cut like the Bard. However! Every numbered Diablo entry has introduced at least one brand-new class, so we may end up with something totally unexpected. Diablo 4 could launch with “Haberdasher” and “Funko Pop” classes for all we know.
Blizzard wants to send Diablo 4 back to the series’ gruesome dark fantasy roots, which were a bit softer around the edges in 2012’s Diablo 3. Announcing three classes from Diablo 2 is a good way to signal this to fans, as is the beautifully macabre cinematic trailer. (Which, by the by, once again shows that Blizzard’s cinematics department is functionally peerless in terms of art direction and fidelity, and it should be allowed to do more than make one trailer every few years. Just a thought!)