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Is Diablo 4 replacing Diablo 3’s Second Expansion?

by - 3 years ago

Last August I wrote an article that it appeared that Blizzard had started development toward Diablo 4. In that article I had assumed they were already working on the second expansion for Diablo 3 and it would be announced at BlizzCon 2015. As we all know, Diablo was fairly absent at BlizzCon last year with no announcements – but instead just small developer talks that weren’t live streamed.

For those who have been visitors at Blizzard Campus and have gone on tours there, you’ll know that the Diablo development area has been locked down and set off limits to visitors since 2015 and is still in lock down. If you’ve been keeping a keen eye on the Blizzard’s career page you’ll also have seen more job openings pop up in the last year for the “Unannounced Project” on Team 3 (Diablo’s development team). They’ve hired their art director and several other positions. The ones currently up right now are for Senior Concept Artists, Senior Character Designer, and Senior VFX Artist. It’s still obvious that their next game is still in the early stages and at this point it would be ridiculous to assume that these positions are for expansion related material.

So are we going to see a second expansion for Diablo 3? The answer is very likely not. Not only has it not been announced yet, but yesterday we learned about several Diablo 3 developers leaving the team (although some might be temporarily). Leonard Boyarsky, the Lead World Designer for Diablo 3, has left Blizzard and is now working with Obsidian. John Yang and Don Vu have both been pulled from the Diablo team to go help with World of Warcraft: Legion for the time being. That is starting to leave quite the skeleton crew left for Diablo 3 and likely shows that Blizzard’s plan for the game moving forward will be to focus on patch material as opposed to releasing a new expansion for the game.

So what do we know about this unannounced project (which I am very much assuming is Diablo 4 at this point)? Not much, other than it’s in it’s early concept and design phases. With people like Yang and Vu leaving the team, it’s likely they are still in high concept stages and not getting down to the details yet. It’s also unlikely we hear any kind of news from Diablo this year and Diablo fans could be in for another year of disappointment at BlizzCon.

However, if you look a little bit deeper in the details of what they are hiring, something has caught my attention. For the artists they are wanting people who “Demonstrated proficiency with current surfacing techniques and PBR workflows”. What is PBR, you ask? It stands for Physically Based Rendering, which is a technology a lot of modern games are starting to use to create photo realistic objects in their game. It was a big deal when Star Citizen implemented PBR in their game to give you an example. This isn’t something that Diablo 3 is currently using, nor would it be something Diablo 3 would even need. It’s no secret that Diablo 3 is running on an engine that is nearly ten years old even though the game is only roughly four years old itself.

So to sum things up, I would say at this point, don’t expect a second expansion for Diablo 3; instead expect patches like they have been doing for the last year or so. Don’t expect any major announcements at events this year for Diablo. I know this is a tough pill to swallow for Diablo fans, but it sounds like you have something pretty cool in the works to look forward to for an announcement come 2017.


posted in News
JR Cook

JR has been writing for fan sites since 2000 and has been doing Blizzard Exclusive fansites since 2003. He helped co-found BlizzPro in 2013. You can hear JR every week talk about Hearthstone on the Well Met Podcast published on iTunes.


43 responses to “Is Diablo 4 replacing Diablo 3’s Second Expansion?”

  1. Clown Car says:

    “the Diablo development area has been locked down and set off limits to visitors since 2015 and is still in lock down.” Can you explain what this means and what the layout of the actual development teams are on the campus? I’ve seen a lot of tour videos about the campus but its usually the same thing, they have like an art gallery and a library and a courtyard and that’s all they show. Whats the actual layout for the teams like?

  2. Dougfulll says:

    Do not know!! Diablo 4 may take a …
    I think they should launch an expansion that is faster.
    And Diablo 3 is running out of content, I would find better expansion then another game …

  3. Goodbrew says:

    D4 is going to take at least 4 or 5 years for them to complete. I’d be surprised if they didn’t produce another expansion in the mean time to keep even a bit of revenue coming into the franchise.

    • Jack Bandit says:

      As far as money making projects go I would imagine Starcraft and Diablo must be near the bottom.

      • kd1zzy says:

        Wrong, read above. Literally one of the best selling games of all time.

        • Jack Bandit says:

          Compared to HOTS, Hearthstone, and WoW? I seriously doubt it. It may have sold a lot, but it’s and one time price and it can’t compare to the ongoing price of those 3 games.

          • mosti says:

            ??? Are you retarded? It’s the facts….its one of the highest selling games of all times whether you do or don’t doubt it? geesh.

          • Jack Bandit says:

            Yeah it’s just that Wow, HoTS, and Hearthstone, all blizzard games, have an ongoing fee to play where as Diablo 3 is a one time sale. It could have sold the most copies, but I don’t think it brings in as much as these other games. Show me some hard numbers to support your claim. Telling me “it’s one of the highest selling games” of all times doesn’t tell me a single thing about how much money it brings in, especially not compared to the other 3 games I mentioned.

            Diablo also costs more to produce than these games, or at least HOTS and Hearthstone so that also cuts into profit.

          • Brian N Eriksen says:

            HoTS and Hearthstone have an ongoing fee to play ???? WHAT,, i play those games and ive never spent a single penny

          • Jack Bandit says:

            You play those games so you should be able to figure out what I meant. Look I’m simply saying that I don’t think Diablo 3 makes as much money as blizzard’s others games. Feel free to disagree or show me numbers proving otherwise. Otherwise you guys need to chill out.

          • David Ondrus says:

            you probably forgot about RMAH right ??? can you imagine how much money RMAH could earn for blizzard? HOTS or Heartstone will never earn so much, never

          • 82fire28 says:

            Last I played RMAH was closed down. Anyway I get what Jack Bandit is saying, he is not saying don’t make the other games he is just correcting the assumptions some have that one of top 10 best selling games is the same in revenue as a sub or micro transaction game. WOW for example even with current subs is reportedly making around 900 million per year without counting their store for in game pets etc.

            So while Diablo 3 might have made nearly 2 billion by selling 30 million units, when it sold it was a one time thing vs WOW every year bringing nearly that in and WOW used to do that yearly. All HOTS and HEARTH would need is around 200-400 per year to top Diablo 3 constant revenue not sales.

            1. So Diablo 3 around 30 million units sold = roughly 1.8 billion once

            2. WOW current subs reportedly around = 900- 1 billion million yearly ( still number 1 MMO 4 times over btw)

            3. HOTS and Hearthstone possible numbers due to sketchy details = 400 million in revenue

            These rough numbers alone say all beat Diablo 3 in revenue not actual sales.

          • RMFan4Life says:

            Even if let’s say Diablo doesn’t bring as much money as wow or hearthstone it still brings them a lot of profit.

            What you said sounds like this : “I don’t want to make another 100 million bucks because I already made 400”

            Or a restaurant not making use of 1 quarter of it’s space (leaving it collecting dust) just because 3 quarters of it turn a good profit.

            Which in itself is seriously amusing.

          • Jack Bandit says:

            Well I’m speculating that Diablo doesn’t make as much money for blizzard as some of their other franchises. Don’t understand why all these people is flipping out.

          • Volstag says:

            No matter how you slice it, 600M+ is a non-trivial sum. Whether HoTS or Hearthstone out perform D3 financially is totally irrelevant. That amount of profit all but guarantees a sequel. Hollywood movies get sequels green-lit for far less.

            Also, many people play Heartstone w/o spending a single dime, and HoTS only moved 1.1 million copies.

          • Trips486 says:

            you’re some kinda stupid arn’t you.

          • WhiteNut says:

            Hots is f2p with surprisingly few microtransactions and fewer reasons to even buy them, WoW has a dying sub count (one of the reasons they even threw a bitch fit about Nostralus), Hearth is probably one of their biggest money printers at the moment considering the amount you could easily drop in microtransactions without even realizing it unlike Hots.

      • Volstag says:

        6th best selling PC title of all time. 12 million+ copies; grossing north of 600M. Every developer on the planet would kill to move that many copies.

      • Jack Bandit says:

        Ok guys, I was wrong sorry.

    • Thisguygare says:

      Actually Diablo has made them a ton of money. Diablo 3 passed 30 million in sales last August. It’s the 10th best selling video game of all time. So the motivation to make a great Diablo 4 is undoubtedly very high on the priority list.

    • valkyrie1120 says:

      I’d just be happy to get anything new, no matter what you call it weather an expansion OR a new diablo 😀

    • DoflamingoGT says:

      Blizzard making a Diablo 4 is as realistic as making a WoW2 or a Warcraft 4… yea it ain’t gonna happen

      • Volstag says:

        I believe you’re incorrect. D3 was one of the best selling games of all-time for the PC. It made Blizzard hundreds of millions. Not following up with a sequel would, candidly, be insane. Even if it moved a quarter of the copies D3 sold, it would still be immensely profitable. No company would allow an IP that lucrative to languish for no good reason.

      • exodus8083 says:

        I guess we will have to wait and see

  4. rob328 says:

    There is ABSOLUTELY no way Diablo 4 is even being considered right now at Blizzard. Everyone knows it took Diablo 3 a full on 12 years to come out after the release of Diablo 2… Given that history, it will not be until at least the year 2026 before we see Diablo 4 assuming they don’t do an expansion for D3 this year (and if they DO, expect 2028 or 2030 before you see D4 hit the stores).

    This article is just basic click-bait backed up with no evidence, but the one useful thing this article did tell us, is that they are probably working on the next expansion pack for D3. I fully expect we will see one more expansion pack before waiting 10+ years for Diablo 4 and ONLY IF they even make that game.

    • MadMax says:

      That was old Blizzard. It doesn’t take them this long now, and they don’t have a child company to bat back and forth with and eventually dissolve. There’s a lot of good reasoning behind thinking that way, and I don’t see it as being click bait unless you’re a retard who doesn’t take articles headers with a grain of salt before clicking… I also don’t agree that it’s the next thing up. There’ll possibly be an xpac, or just more constant seasons and changes within. But your reaction is way too nerd rage.

    • Eldorian says:

      I provided some evidence if you actually read the article instead of assuming it’s just a click bait title.

    • レッサーパンダ says:

      Alright, before you even keep sperging out, they scrapped the original D3 game and reworked it within a couple years prior to its official launch in 2012. They had a lot of internal issues and changes going on on the diablo 3 team. All of this is fairly common knowledge to anyone who’s kept up with the game’s development at the time. There’s absolutely no way it’s going to take blizzard another 12 years to release another Diablo game. More than likely they will focus most of their assets from the WoW:Legion to the Diablo 4 development once the game is able to sustain itself; just as Diablo 3 is currently able to do. This article is pretty much spot on with its assumptions and honestly, at the latest we’ll probably see a new diablo game the shelves by 2019.

    • “There is ABSOLUTELY no way Diablo 4 is even being considered right now at Blizzard. Everyone knows it took Diablo 3 a full on 12 years to come out after the release of Diablo 2…”

      Development of Diablo 3, as we know it, starts in 2006.
      http://www.diablowiki.net/Diablo_3_History

    • RMFan4Life says:

      Just because it took them a long time to make D3 doesn’t mean every other Diablo game will take as long (not even considering the issues they had during the D3 development).

      Diablo 1 was released in 98, Diablo 2 in 2000 so 2 years difference between the two. So you can’t really make a definite pattern just because 1 game took longer to be released (admitedly much longer)

  5. ledmage says:

    I heard the same thing from one of the twitch streamers. While I have high hopes for a Diablo 4 I think they would also need to address many issues with D3 and make many improvements. Sign me up for BETA testing anytime 🙂

  6. William Gott says:

    Would be nice if they’d implement the ability to trade gold and gems in multiplayer, even if only limited to lan games. I get why larger scale multiplayer players might not like it, but it would be nice to share with my daughter or others that play at my house some of the things I’ve gotten, but have no use for.

  7. Sad0 says:

    What about the D2 HD we barely heard of, this could be a thing or not?

    • RMFan4Life says:

      I doubt Blizzard will seriously bother with such a concept. People who seriously hated D3 and still play D2 are not that many but they are extremely loud which makes them seem more than they actually are.

      Personally I believe a D2 HD release would flunk badly I mean as a Diablo fan myself I (who owned every single DIablo game that was released) I wouldn’t even pay 5 bucks for a D2 HD release but I would buy a new D3 expansion or a new D4 game in a heartbeat.

  8. Kiril says:

    Very interesting guess by the author! I will be really happy if this becames an reality, if its possible an expansion and Diablo 4 would be great but still even just Diablo 4 is fine .. 🙂

    Good read really enjoyed it!
    Waiting for the next one.
    Cya by then!

  9. stephen says:

    wow well honestly I just wish people still played d3 I used to play then recently picked it up again and can’t seem to find anyone in the world playing, lol. BreezyBog08095 xbox360

    • RMFan4Life says:

      Well there’s your problem. You have the game for 360. The game doesn’t even have half heck even 1/4 of the content the XBone or PS4 has.

      There’s still a ton of people playing on ps4 (don’t know about XBone). Furthermore 360 had less people playing diablo than even ps3 so sadly i doubt you’ll find much enjoyment trying to still play it on 360.

  10. Guilherme Braz says:

    if they make a world of diablo i think i will cry a river :=)

  11. Chris Jackson says:

    I think the likely hood is they create an entirely new ARPG with hugely updated graphics to go in line with their other more mordern games, they probably realise how much of a fudge up the devs made of Diablo 3 so instead create a new franchise which allows them a fresh start 😛 Blizzard seems to be overhauling a lot of their products recently.

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