In a new, comprehensive article by Kotaku who interviewed 11 current and former employees of Blizzard, it has come to light that Diablo IV is indeed in development. At first, it was supposed to be an expansion that was set to follow Reaper Of Souls, but it shifted to what sources claim is the next mainline Diablo game.
This news comes after Blizzard announced Diablo Immortal, a game made for phones which did not go over well with fans. The article discusses many topics going from Diablo III and up to the announcement of Diablo Immortal. One of the noteworthy things to come out was that Diablo Immortal exists and was set to release in China first because they really wanted it. A current Blizzard employee says “essentially, it exists because we’ve heard that China really wants it. It is really for China.” The plan was to release the game out there first to mainly test it out in the Chinese market, as it was considered a low-quality bar according to sources. “You can release something there that’d be considered alpha footage here and it’d be a finished game there.” Then, Blizzard decided to take more time to polish the game and get it prepared for a global announcement and release.
Diablo IV is being developed under the code name Fenris. It is being developed by Team 3, who is the team that is focused on the Diablo franchise in general. One of the biggest things that this game is really working on is the art direction, with one of the key pillars that the game is aims for being a return to the darkness. A current Blizzard employee said, “There’s a lot of people who felt like Diablo III got away from what made Diablo Diablo in terms of art style and spell effects.” In other words, the new Diablo is aiming to look like Diablo II. Another Blizzard employee said “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.”
The game is also looking to make Diablo more social. They are taking inspiration from Destiny and adding more “light MMO elements”. However, the game is still early, and likely won’t be out until 2020 or later. Obviously, things can change and other aspects of the game like monetization options will be discussed when the game gets closer to release. If you are a Blizzard fan or are interested in some of the behind the scenes on how games get made, give the article a read as it is very insightful and interesting.