The plot thickens as minions of Hell grow stronger.

Diablo Immortal Concept Art
Diablo Immortal Concept Art

Kotaku broke an interesting article yesterday, pertaining to the huge Diablo controversy. The short of it is: there may have actually been plans to announce Diablo 4 at Blizzcon, at some point. Kotaku’s Jason Schreier strongly claims that an announcement video exists, so it’s safe to assume he saw it himself.

The article originally claimed that there were concrete plans for the announcement complete with Blizzard’s co-founder, Allen Adham, taking the stage and talking about the game. This has since been corrected by an official Blizzard’s statement:

First off we want to mention that we definitely hear our community. We generally don’t comment on rumors or speculation, but we can say that we didn’t pull any announcements from BlizzCon this year or have plans for other announcements. We do continue to have different teams working on multiple unannounced Diablo projects, and we look forward to announcing when the time is right.

In the revised article, Schreier concludes that the issue here is timing. What seems to have happened, is that Jason contacted his informants inside Blizzard and they told him about the announcement, but the information wasn’t complete. It looks like while musings about the possibility of the announcement circulated through Blizzard, they were never actually implemented. Which makes sense, such information is tantamount to espionage, of course people cooperating with Schreier wouldn’t have the full picture.

Jason also says that one of his informants told him that the decision behind dropping the announcement came from the Diablo team, who did not feel confident in showing anything to the public.

And that certainly puts an interesting spin to this story, as it would suggest that it wasn’t the decision of Blizzard’s overlords at Activision to focus on the mobile game, but instead that they actually listened to the developer team. Do remember that Diablo Immortal is being developed by NetEase, so presumably the team has all the time in the world to work on these mysterious “unannounced Diablo projects”. So the staggering outrage of the fans may have been entirely misplaced. Which is certainly a new thing for me, it’s almost like Blizzard “took the fall” for the devs on this one and if that’s the case, that’s kind of admirable.

Notably, Jason Schreier is a name you might be familiar with. He’s a man of impeccable reputation, whose industry leaks have been shown to be consistently real. Regardless of what you may think of Kotaku themselves (I happen to have a very high opinion of them), Jason Schreier is a name synonymous with accuracy in the wider industry.

Of course, all of this is speculation. It’s entirely possible that there were indeed plans for an announcement and it was entirely Blizzard’s decision not to commit. It’s also possible, if unlikely, that Jason’s information is faulty. But at the face of it, this story certainly seems plausible! I am really enjoying this popcorn.