For many, the sting of Diablo: Immortal‘s disastrous debut is subsiding. Hardcore fans won’t be following the franchise to mobile, and they’re awaiting official confirmation of a proper entry in the franchise. While Blizzard still hasn’t said Diablo 4 out loud, it has confirmed something big for the future. However, due to a recent interview, we have a speculative idea of why the sequel is taking so long and where the project has been in the past.
Diablo 3 has had a rocky history, to say the least. It launched with a real money auction house that skewed loot in unenjoyable ways. This was all fixed with the game’s first expansion, Reaper of Souls. The team behind that felt great about their future, but Blizzard as a whole felt differently. It canceled any further Diablo expansions and moved work onto a new entry in the franchise. According to a few interviews conducted by Kotaku’s Jason Schrier, one Blizzard staffer said that the team felt “stunned” that the company would move one without even seeing how Reaper of Souls performed on the market. Several members of the team scattered to other divisions within the company, and those who remained got to work on Hades.
This was to be the next great entry in the Diablo franchise. Led by Josh Mosqueira, the Canadian who helmed the Diablo 3 revival and Reaper of Souls, Hades looked a lot different than you’d expect. The game was to be an over-the-shoulder third-person game, taking heavy inspiration from Dark Souls. It was so different than Blizzard wasn’t even sure if it a spinoff or a proper entry in the series. This iteration of the game progressed for two years, from 2014 to 2016. Then, like the second expansion, Blizzard canceled development.
Since then, Josh Mosqueira has left Blizzard. The rest of the Diablo team are reportedly working on Fenris, the second version of Diablo 4. It’s still early in development according to several current Blizzard employees. Blizzard hasn’t ruled out the third-person perspective for their new game. Whether it ends up more traditional or something new, we won’t know for several years. The interviews also touch on several other topics, including the future of Blizzard after the recent departure of their longtime president.