Announced at BlizzCon 2019 (see reveal panel), Blizzard was staying tight-lipped about the Diablo 4 release date but it will not release in 2021. In typical Blizzard fashion, they would not provide an exact release date as they stated the game is still in the early stages of development. They issued the following statement after the announcement in 2019:
This comes with a caveat; we’re still a way out from launch. Because we’re heads down in development, we’re not launching a dedicated forum for Diablo IV yet.
However, we still want you to feel welcome to discuss the game amongst yourselves. While we may not be able to answer all your burning questions, we are committed to sharing updates with the community and participating when we can.
Beginning next year, we will be providing quarterly updates regarding the progress of Diablo 4’s development. This might take the form of a blog or a developer post here, which we’ll sticky and leave open for ongoing discussion until the next update is available.
We’ll also keep an updated table of contents of all updates in this post so you’ll have a convenient place to refer to them over the course of development. We’ve included all the news coming out of this weekend so far to get you started.
Thanks for patiently awaiting this next chapter, and we’ll see you in Hell!
Diablo 4 Release Date Calculations
Although there were only three years between the release of Diablo 1 and Diablo 2 under Blizzard North’s guidance, there were twelve years between Diablo 2 and Diablo 3. Blizzard North closed down and development moved to Blizzard HQ in Irvine which delayed development.
Diablo 3 was announced in 2008 and took four more years of production before it was ready for release in 2012. The development of Diablo 3 started as early as 2001. Only two characters were revealed when Diablo 3 was announced, the Witch Doctor and the Barbarian.
Looking at the previous release date timelines, it would be reasonable to assume that Diablo 4 could be another three to four years away from release meaning the Diablo 4 release date could be in 2023.
There is one unexpected issue that has arisen during development in 2020, the global COVID-19 pandemic. Blizzard had to shift most development from working in the Irvine office to staff working from home.
It’s not known how much of an impact this has had on development in 2020. This could push the Diablo 4 release date back 6-12 months depending on the disruption. However, Blizzard did successfully pivot to a working from home model during the pandemic.
During the Activision Blizzard financial call in February 2021, they stated that Diablo 4 would not be released in 2021 which was to be expected.
The announcement of Diablo 2 Resurrected at BlizzCon in February 2021 should placate the fans somewhat while development continues on Diablo 4.
Diablo 4 and what we know
Despite the game being some way off from release, Blizzard has already released a lot of information. There are four classes, Barbarian, Druid, Rogue, and Sorceress to start with. More will be announced in the future.
There have also been numerous developer updates since the game was announced which includes rudimentary information on items, the game’s open world, mounts, and more (see top navigation under Diablo 4).
A good place to start for a better understanding of what’s coming in Dibalo IV check the FAQ.
Diablo 4 Announcement Cinematic
Diablo 4 Gameplay Announcement Trailer
Was Blizzard Ready to Announce Diablo 4?
There has to be some speculation that perhaps Blizzard was not quite ready to announce Diablo 4 in 2019. Prior to the announcement in 2019, Blizzard had a tough BlizzCon in 2018 when they announced the mobile game Diablo: Immortal.
At the convention, fans were eager for a Diablo 4 announcement. The core fanbase was hugely disappointed with the mobile announcement. They were hoping for a full-blown game for PC and consoles.
Blizzard came under fire from fans during the BlizzCon 2018 Q&A. This prompted Blizzard developer Wyatt Cheng to say to the audience, “Do you guys not have phones?”. This response did not go down well and became a meme when mentioning Diablo: Immortal or even Diablo 4.
Even though fans were not expecting a Diablo 4 release date, they were at hoping for some morsel of information on the next game.