Home Gaming Rumour – Diablo IV is going to embrace the darkness and return the series to its grim design

Rumour – Diablo IV is going to embrace the darkness and return the series to its grim design

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Diablo (1)

BlizzCon 2018 was a bit of a stuff-up for Diablo fans, wasn’t it? Even though Blizzard had told fans explicitly that there would be no Diablo 4 announcement, there was still an odd sense of anticipation in the air that there would be something new to be shown off in the realm of angels and demons. Indeed there was, as Diablo Immortal was announced to rapturous boos, as fans were not happy at the idea of a mobile Diablo game hogging the spotlight at Blizzard’s annual shindig.

That’s a story for another post, but what really rubbed salt in the wound was the fact that Diablo IV is in development. It’s an open secret in the industry, but there’s still very little that’s actually known about the demon-slaying RPG. According to some industry inside news from Kotaku’s Jason Schrier however, not only is Diablo IV going to be a game that includes a few ideas pinched from Bungie’s Destiny games, but it’ll also be returning to its dark and grim visual design roots.

That aesthetic change is a big one, as Diablo IV wants to right the wrongs of Diablo III and its visuals which made the game look like a slightly darker World of WarCraft spin-off when it was first launched. Diablo IV is being designed with a new mantra in mind: Embrace the darkness. “[Design director] Luis [Barriga] has a very strong vision for that game,” a former employee said to Kotaku.

Diablo (2)

There’s a lot of people who felt like Diablo III got away from what made DiabloDiablo’ in terms of art style and spell effects. They want to make this gross, make it dark, [get rid of] anything that was considered cartoony in Diablo III… Make what people were afraid of in Diablo II, but modern.

Currently codenamed Fenris, Diablo IV has been in incubation since 2016 according to people who worked on it, with the danker art style being a key priority. Gameplay is currently aiming at a more social experience, with one Blizzard employee telling Kotaku that “light MMO elements” are in play, giving players a chance to mingle with one another in the various hub cities of Diablo’s world.

“The question that kept getting asked is, ‘If there’s going to be a ‘strike’ equivalent, where you’re forced into a very story-focused, well-designed level of a dungeon, what does that look like in Diablo?” said one person who familiar with the Fenris project.

What if we still had a core Diablo game that just happened to have a bunch of people on the map to do other cool stuff?

Diablo (3)

There’s more to the story linked above that’s well worth a read, but by the sound of things it feels as if Diablo 4 is an attempt to embrace the gory past of the original games and a step forward into a more social future for the franchise. Whether that approach is something that fans will want to see, may be a point of contention. But hey! At least it sounds a hell of a lot better than a mobile game, am I right?

 

Last Updated: November 22, 2018

82 Comments

  1. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/759595e79a13dcc88fb50aa5a3b1cdd6857b492a5106dedd460037278506e49a.gif

    Firstly, I have no issue with the visual design of Diablo 3 (barring the fact that the combination of all three prime evils somehow results in what’s just sexy diablo) and I sure as shit don’t think a vibrant colour palette negates a “grim atmosphere” in any way – nor that returning to a more subdued palette will fix the issue with the tone of the game.

    My issue with Diablo 3 was the writing; characters, script, plot, etc. It was, without exaggeration, intensely uncomfortable at numerous points, and came across as cheesy young adults fiction. This carried over to Overwatch in a big way – the character designs for Overwatch are bloody fantastic, but the writing behind them (and the world)… isn’t.

    I’m not entirely sure their writing team is really comfortable making something similar in terms of the tone of Diablo 2, or at very least they’d be rusty as hell at it. My concern is that they’ll just slap on a dreary visual aesthetic and not go much farther.

    Of course, my criticism of Blizzard’s writing these last few years boils down to taste – I know some who enjoyed the writing of Diablo 3 and Overwatch, and likely won’t be bothered with how future products are written.

    But OOH BOY is it anathema to my own tastes.

    Reply

  2. Dutch Matrix

    November 22, 2018 at 10:01

    If I get to clickety click some hellspawn back to hades, I am game. Dark or not.

    Reply

  3. Alien Emperor Trevor

    November 22, 2018 at 10:10

    There’s already a dark and grim Diablo… Grim Dawn.

    Reply

    • Pariah

      November 22, 2018 at 10:10

      Yeah if you like slow-paced games it’s great. AND there’s more content and WAY more build variety. I’ve spent more hours in D3 though.

      Reply

    • Captain JJ

      November 22, 2018 at 11:25

      Yea, but it might be too good for Diablo fans. *runs*

      Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        November 22, 2018 at 11:54

        Then they can play Torchlight, it’s cartoonier and also better than Diablo.

        Reply

        • Captain JJ

          November 22, 2018 at 12:04

          That game is bloody awesome. And agreed XD

          Reply

    • kieker

      November 22, 2018 at 12:22

      Played a bit of this, it is more like a dark and grim Titan Quest than a dark and grim Diablo. Doesn’t really hold up well for me, and I was a huge fan of Titan Q.

      Reply

  4. For the Emperor!

    November 22, 2018 at 10:10

    If I can’t play it offline and alone, I will not get it. They can make it so that offline characters can never join online games. You know, split your profiles. Rubber-banding when playing solo and dying was crap in Dia-blows 3

    Reply

    • Original Heretic

      November 22, 2018 at 11:05

      Console versions didn’t require online play.

      Reply

      • Captain JJ

        November 22, 2018 at 11:54

        And consoles (naturally) have controller support. I know pc elitists are going to go ape on me for saying that, but I enjoy ARPGs with a controller. So sue me.

        Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          November 22, 2018 at 11:54

          • Captain JJ

            November 22, 2018 at 14:06

            I had a feeling this might summon you XD

        • HvR

          November 22, 2018 at 11:54

          A so you are the PC gamer Computer Mania has in mind when doing their catalogues
          https://media.discordapp.net/attachments/466149058986246166/515093292195512330/unknown.png?width=952&height=512

          Reply

          • Captain JJ

            November 22, 2018 at 12:04

            elitist spotted

          • HvR

            November 22, 2018 at 14:14

            Please tell me you own a maroon beanie and a lumberjack flannel shirt

          • Captain JJ

            November 22, 2018 at 17:30

            Sadly I do not. XD But I have a beard!

          • Pariah

            November 22, 2018 at 17:48

            Do I need to make the obvious joke here?

        • Original Heretic

          November 22, 2018 at 12:04

          They’re fun to play. Which is why I can’t wait for Path of Exile to drop on PS4.

          Reply

          • Pariah

            November 22, 2018 at 14:14

            I hope you don’t like free time. 🙂

          • Original Heretic

            November 22, 2018 at 14:22

            I’ll be fine. I don’t allow games to suck all my time anymore.
            My life is far too busy for that.

          • Pariah

            November 22, 2018 at 17:38

            I think you’re misunderstanding. To do anything near end-game, like getting the items you need for a good build, it takes time. Time to farm. And farm. And farm. Or get SUPER lucky with the drop you need that you may not see in over 1000 hours of play time.

          • Original Heretic

            November 22, 2018 at 17:49

            Well then I guess I have a game that’ll keep me occupied for a while. Plus, I’ve got two mates who I’ll be jamming with. Social gaming fun!

          • Pariah

            November 22, 2018 at 18:18

            It’s about 1500% better with friends. 😀

          • Original Heretic

            November 22, 2018 at 18:28

            As are most games!

          • Captain JJ

            November 22, 2018 at 14:14

            Also no controller support for that on pc. But it’s a great game. I’ve played it a bit.

          • Pariah

            November 22, 2018 at 17:30

            There’s a streamer who plays with controller on PC. Can’t recall his name off-hand, but he keeps up with literally every other streamer without hassle, so it’s both possible and viable to do. Just not natively within PoE.

          • Captain JJ

            November 22, 2018 at 17:49

            Ah, that’s cool. Will try controller companion to see if they have a setting I can try for it.

        • Pariah

          November 22, 2018 at 14:14

          My favourite PC accessory is the Xbox One controller I have plugged in 24/7. It’s the best thing about an Xbox, but on a PC instead. Total winning.

          Reply

          • Captain JJ

            November 22, 2018 at 17:20

            Yea. I’m not on a ONE controller yet. But I do want to get one. Currently using an off-brand one, while my wife has a 360. But they work, so I’m happy. They’re just getting a bit old now. 360 controllers just don’t die though.

          • Pariah

            November 22, 2018 at 17:30

            Yeah I have a few 360 controllers laying about myself. They still work just fine, just need to be charged.

  5. Pariah

    November 22, 2018 at 10:19

    Honestly if they can include some of the cooler features of Destiny like the events where you can team up with people without actually making a team, and the events scale and stuff, all while playing through the game anyway – man I’m so in.

    Reply

  6. Thinus Swart

    November 22, 2018 at 10:19

    Personally, I’m holding out for Wolcen… that game was announced YEARS ago, started out it’s development as a game called Umbra. Some of the latest trailers look SO good: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBuxRGmPPC0

    Reply

    • G8crasha

      November 22, 2018 at 10:28

      The graphics are amazing. It’s on my wishlist with Steam.

      Reply

      • Pariah

        November 22, 2018 at 12:41

        The graphics dont’ really do the game justice – the beta played exceptionally well. It *feels* great to play. I’m really excited for full beta.

        Reply

      • Pariah

        November 22, 2018 at 12:41

        The graphics dont’ really do the game justice – the beta played exceptionally well. It *feels* great to play. I’m really excited for full beta.

        Reply

    • Captain JJ

      November 22, 2018 at 11:25

      Might even pick it up during this sale actually. Been eyeing it for a long time, but not sure about getting into it already.

      Reply

      • Pariah

        November 22, 2018 at 13:37

        I’m going to say wait for the story content. Buying it is fine, but wait a while before you play. Right now the live release is still the alpha release, they’re working on a full beta release, but that won’t have any of the story content in it yet. Mechanically it’s fantastic though.

        I think a lot of people have been jumping in expecting more story or other content, but right now if you install you’re a beta tester, not a player, so keep that in mind.

        Reply

        • Captain JJ

          November 22, 2018 at 16:51

          Yea, probably will rather hold out.

          Reply

    • Pariah

      November 22, 2018 at 12:31

      When this goes full beta it’s going to be pretty good. In the last 2 years the game’s evolved so much, and there’s so much they still have planned for it. It feels great to play as well.

      Reply

  7. G8crasha

    November 22, 2018 at 10:28

    As long as they don’t pull a Fallout 76 – taking a brilliant SP experience and making into some hybrid SP/MP horror!

    Reply

    • For the Emperor!

      November 22, 2018 at 11:05

      Isn’t that called Diablo 3?

      Reply

      • Pariah

        November 22, 2018 at 13:19

        No. Diablo 3 had story content, NPCs and gameplay that worked well when internet wasn’t being a douche. None of that is true for F76. F76 decided story was overrated, so players were responsible for all of that. Also, fun was overrated, so players were responsible for all of that. Also bug fixing is overrated so… Oh wait, no. Just overrated.

        Reply

    • HvR

      November 22, 2018 at 11:54

      Nope they are opting to make a Wolrd of Worldcraft GO!! mobile game apprently

      Reply

    • Pariah

      November 22, 2018 at 12:41

      I don’t think they’re THAT stupid. I could be wrong, certainly. But I seriously doubt it.

      Reply

  8. Original Heretic

    November 22, 2018 at 11:05

    Good. D3 was the poor little bro to D2.

    Reply

  9. Captain JJ

    November 22, 2018 at 11:25

    I don’t know, going mobile is pretty freaking grim.

    Reply

  10. HvR

    November 22, 2018 at 11:54

    Feel like you are skipping way more important parts of the Kotaku article.

    Or are you covering the rest in other articles?

    Reply

    • Captain JJ

      November 22, 2018 at 14:06

      They’re in cojones!

      I mean cahoots!

      Reply

      • Pariah

        November 22, 2018 at 14:14

        What a balls-up of a comment.

        Reply

  11. Daniel Hallinan

    November 22, 2018 at 12:13

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/759595e79a13dcc88fb50aa5a3b1cdd6857b492a5106dedd460037278506e49a.gif

    Firstly, I have no issue with the visual design of Diablo 3 (barring the fact that the combination of all three prime evils somehow results in what’s just sexy diablo) and I sure as shit don’t think a vibrant colour palette negates a “grim atmosphere” in any way – nor that returning to a more subdued palette will fix the issue with the tone of the game.

    My issue with Diablo 3 was the writing; characters, script, plot, etc. It was, without exaggeration, intensely uncomfortable at numerous points, and came across as cheesy young adults fiction. This carried over to Overwatch in a big way – the character designs for Overwatch are bloody fantastic, but the writing behind them (and the world)… isn’t.

    I’m not entirely sure their writing team is really comfortable making something similar in terms of the tone of Diablo 2, or at very least they’d be rusty as hell at it. My concern is that they’ll just slap on a dreary visual aesthetic and not go much farther.

    Of course, my criticism of Blizzard’s writing these last few years boils down to taste – I know some who enjoyed the writing of Diablo 3 and Overwatch, and likely won’t be bothered with how future products are written.

    But OOH BOY is it anathema to my own tastes.

    Reply

  12. Kromas

    November 22, 2018 at 13:30

    • Dresden

      November 22, 2018 at 23:15

      That is pure gold.

      Reply

  13. Dresden

    November 22, 2018 at 23:25

    Oh, the irony. I just got gifted the Diablo 3 Battle Chest and now I’m reading so many comments shitting on the game :/

    Reply

    • Pariah

      November 23, 2018 at 08:23

      Ok I enjoy D3. I really do. The only thing I don’t like is the lack of NEW content. But give it a playthrough, get the story done, play some adventure mode, try max out a character, push GR. It’s fun. It’s a great game mechanically. It just doesn’t have longevity – you’re not going to keep coming back to it.

      Reply

      • Dresden

        November 23, 2018 at 13:27

        That’s fine. Perfect, actually.

        I got bored of PoE because of the fact that you had to grind the living daylight out of the game… and that’s not for me.

        Reply

        • Pariah

          November 23, 2018 at 13:46

          Seems we’re in the same boat. PoE is just a time leech that never lets up.

          Reply

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