Diablo IV development chugging along nicely, new game details unveiled
Blizzard published yesterday its quarterly update on the Diablo IV state of affairs, ensuring the fanbase that the momentum for the development process was not significantly hindered by the pandemic, as the team has managed to transition to working from home. The update covers aspects related to new storytelling techniques, multiplayer and open world aspects, plus new plans for items and progression.
The update report first mentions that the team managed to “block in” all the elements for a game region called the Dry Steppes, which was tested over the course of two days. Furthermore, the update also includes a few “work in progress” graphics for character models and environments.
Diablo IV is supposed to include a more elaborate storytelling process that does not rely on the classic UI panes with text, character name and portraits. Instead, the game developers are now experimenting with a mix of tool-generated and manually choreographed cameras to draw the players into conversations. Simple interactions with NPCs will zoom in (still isometric view) the camera focusing on the involved characters that “use a library of animations to deliver the general gist of the conversations.” More complex interactions that usually occur during key story moments will combine the camera zoom with character movements that are specifically “hand-crafted” for those instances.
Furthermore, some of the more important key story moments will be presented as “real-time cutscenes” that resemble a cinematic experience where the camera moves freely and is not fixed in the isometric view anymore. Since these scenes are rendered in real time, players will be able to see their characters wearing the currently equipped gear.
Regarding the open world aspect of the game, Blizzard is still stating that this will not be an MMO ARPG. Players still have to progress through the story campaign to open up more zones, but each zone has some open world aspects like secondary quests, world boss fights, crafting hubs, or PVP areas that can be explored on the side. This should add to the replayability of the game, however, dungeons and key story moments will remain private. Coop play is also a thing, and players can party up with friends via the friend list or with random nearby players.
Additionally, there is one more open world feature which allows players to free up camps that have been previously ran over by enemies. Once freed, these camps turn into friendly outposts with NPCs and a waypoint location. Players will also be able to obtain mounts to travel faster across the maps. Mounts will open up new progression and itemization avenues.
This update does not reveal too much about the itemization aspect, just a couple of pictures with some of the possible dropped gear pieces and their affixes. Blizzard will reveal more itemization details later this year (most likely around BlizzCon)
In the final thoughts section of the update, the team rivals that it is constantly improving and tweaking upon all the game aspects. Unfortunately there is still no word regarding an ETA for Alpha and Beta tests for the time being.