In a world where companies announce sequels before the dust has even had a chance to settle on the current title, one of gaming's marquee companies, Blizzard Entertainment, appears poised to quicken the pace of its releases, specifically, Diablo.
Mike Ybarra, the president of Blizzard, recently dropped a hint about the company's approach to future Diablo entries, suggesting a potential break from the firm's traditionally lengthy development cycles.
Ybarra recently tweeted in response to praise for Diablo 4 from IGN's Executive Editor, Ryan McCaffrey, saying "And going forward, you won't have to wait so long between titles. We have a lot more coming to Diablo 4 and beyond!"
Thanks @DMC_Ryan - we're glad you liked it. And going forward, you won't have to wait so long between titles. We have a lot more coming to Diablo 4 and beyond!
— Mike Ybarra (@Qwik) August 14, 2023
It's no secret that fans of the dark and moody action-RPG have often endured long waits between series entries. Given that Diablo 3 took 11 years after the release of Diablo 2 to grace players' screens, and Diablo 4 came out a whole two decades after the third game began its development, Ybarra's comment sparked discussion. But does this necessarily herald the imminent announcement of Diablo 5?
Honestly speaking, it's only natural for Ybarra to look forward to the next future. Diablo is an establishment in and of itself. If Blizzard isn't constantly thinking about the next big thing, it risks stagnating, which is the worst thing that can happen in any company in a fast-paced industry like gaming.
Thus, we can assume that Blizzard is thinking about Diablo 5 already but it hasn't started development on it yet.
However, several factors could influence Blizzard to speed up its development cycle. First, there's the undeniable success of Diablo 4, which smashed Blizzard's launch records within days, proving that time hasn't done harm to fan fervor. The company could see this as a green light to start thinking about the next entry sooner rather than later.
Second, the looming acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft for a staggering $68.7 billion is primarily content-driven, indicating Microsoft's intention to boost its Xbox Game Pass with heavy hitters like Diablo and Call of Duty.
As the gears of this behemoth buyout turn, it's plausible that Blizzard might feel the push to expedite its development processes. Although Microsoft traditionally takes a backseat in studio management, a merger of this magnitude could lead to subtle shifts in priorities and strategies. Not to mention, its hands-off approach hasn't exactly paid off well for the company, resulting in the much-maligned Xbox exclusive, Redfall.
Of course, it's hard to blame fans for expressing distaste for a potential Diablo 5 announcement this early on in Diablo 4's lifecycle.
Lest we forget, Diablo 4 is the dungeon-crawler's first live-service foray. Technically, Diablo 4 could go on forever. The best example is its contemporary, Path of Exile, which remains as strong as ever after launching in 2013. With Path of Exile 2, the so-called Diablo 4 killer, not expected until at least 2025, Path of Exile might live on for yet another half-decade before the developers, Grinding Gear Games, decide to pull the plug on it.
With Diablo 4 still in disarray, it's easy to feel like Blizzard is already thinking about disconnecting in the middle of what was supposed to be an epic dungeon raid - not quite unlike the issue that still plagues Diablo 4. Not to mention, we're not sure spending "less" time working on Diablo 5 is the best idea considering what happened and still is happening to Diablo 4.
On the flipside, perhaps Ybarra didn't mean anything at all and we're just making much ado about nothing. After all, it's his job to steer Blizzard in the best position for the future. What harm could a simple promise do, right?
If anything, this isn't as big of a blunder as that recent gameplay video of the so-called Diablo 4 developers who knew next to nothing about playing the game.
For now, it's safe to say that Diablo 4 remains Blizzard's sole focus. And, even if there's a handful of individuals already cooking up ideas for Diablo 5 at the moment, that's not necessarily a bad thing - it's a sign of its commitment to this iconic franchise.
At the moment, Blizzard has two expansions planned for Diablo 4 but it's unclear when these are coming out.