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Diablo IV Quarterly Dev Update Plans – “Making Games is Complicated”

Remember at BlizzCon last year when we were promised quarterly updates on Diablo IV’s progress? Well, Blizzard is reiterating some of the comments that were made at the show regarding the reasons behind that decision.

In case you were wondering when a ‘quarter’ actually ends at the start of this year, Blizzard spells it out. We are only in January so let’s not be impatient. As the update says, there’s a lot to put together for each of these Diablo IV updates. If they are as detailed as they are saying they are going to be, it will hopefully be worth the wait.

 

I mean, we’re 7 days into 2020. For some, the first day back at work from holiday vacation was yesterday. I understand how excited everyone is, but let’s set expectations and cover a few points (some reiterated, some that might be obvious but should be said).

  • Diablo IV very, very early in development. Part of the reason we’re aiming for quarterly updates is because there’s not a lot right now that’s ready to share. If it was ready to show, you saw it at BlizzCon.

  • Diablo IV isn’t the only project we’re working on, though it might be the one you’re most excited about (and it’s fine if you are). As a reminder, we have patches actively being developed for Diablo III as well as the ongoing work on Diablo Immortal. For both bandwidth reasons on our end as well as avoiding flooding our (currently shared) communication channels, there’s strategy needed in pacing out the distribution of information.

  • Q1 means sometime between now and the end of March. April would mark the beginning of Q2. I don’t have a time estimate for you, but my personal goal is to aim for somewhere in the middle to second third of the quarter. I’m not sure where exactly it’s going to land; we’ve never approached communication in quite this manner before, and sometimes there’s changes and schedule adjustments that need to be made. I suspect there will be many learnings for myself and the team with the first update as a result. 🙂

  • We want to put a lot of time, effort, and polish into these updates because they are so few and we care a lot about our work. However, ultimately, the content will be decided by (1) what’s ready to show and (2) what conversations we’re ready to have with the community. For example, I wouldn’t expect the first update to be about the intricacies of end-game activities. It’s still too early (some areas of the game are still in concepting, while others are being actively implemented) – but we do want to make sure we’re checking in with you on systems of interest as they come together, concept art, and possibly in-progress models. It’s really going to vary. Actually making the game will always be the priority.

  • Blogs take a really long time to produce, especially when they are of this caliber and content level. If video is required, even more so (as it adds an entire new team and process for review/approvals). What content we end up showing will drive the production needs, which is part of why it’s so hard for me to give you an estimate on arrival.

Making games is complicated. So is supporting and communicating around them. Almost none of it can be done fast if we’re going to do it well. We want to make sure the information we’re giving is as clear and accurate as possible and, while we want to maintain transparency, we also don’t want to risk over-promising and under-delivering. This happens all too often by showing features too early.

So we are going to take our time. I understand it’s hard to be patient; I literally live day to day in a building full of cool stuff I can’t share and sometimes it’s maddening. You can bet your hard-earned gold we’ll be sharing what we can as soon as possible, and it’s okay to take a break from the waiting if it’s eating at you. We’ll just be here, hard at work. 😉

Having spoken to folk who have worked on communicating with the public at Blizzard, it’s really not easy getting everything together. One thing that wasn’t mentioned here was that every update also has to be translated into multiple languages before it’s ready to go public. That in itself is a lot of work.

Be patient, there’s still a long way to go with Diablo IV, and if you remember the length of time we had to wait between Diablo 2 and Diablo 3, then you’ll know you have to be patient.

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