Blizzard has officially announced its long anticipated sequel in the Diablo franchise to great fanfare at the Worldwide Invitational Event in Paris. This finally puts to rest the flurry of rumors that Diablo would be the next Blizzard property to enter the MMO arena. Blizzard’s decision to return to it’s roots is a pretty safe bet, but early game play footage reveals that this new iteration of the cult classic is far more then just a simple graphical update.
Timed in perfect sequence with the announcement of Diablo 3 is the launch of its new official website . Within the website, Blizzard confirms a number of story and game play features which promise to immerse players in the twisted dark fantasy world of Sanctuary. The story of Diablo 3 jumps players forward about twenty years, long after the now legendary battle with Diablo and the lords of Hatred, Terror and Destruction. Other then this however, very little has actually been revealed about the story line. Blizzard does tell of a vile corruption sweeping across the land focused around a most unlikely nemesis, Deckard Cain last of the Horadrim, and bulk item identifier extraordinaire. Diablo 3 promises to up the ante of it’s predecessor considerably. In addition to a substantially expanded world, old familiar landscapes such as Tristram will reemerge as the epicenter of the story.
Diablo 3 will feature an all new graphics engine which will allow hordes of enemies to be displayed onscreen at once. The new engine will also support advanced physics by Havok which were made famous by Valve’s Source Engine featured Half Life 2. In addition to improvements at the kernel level, Blizzard is also promising a face lift to the free battle.net gaming interface for multiplayer. Services such as Steam have set the bar for online gaming pretty high. As a result users can likely expect some expanded friends and community functionality as well as support for guilds or groups, though this is only speculation.
New Class’s And Game Play
Blizzard has only announced 2 of the 5 classes that will be featured in the game, Barbarian & The Witch Doctor. Both classes are shown in action throughout the game play footage on the new website. They have also confirmed classes will no longer be gender locked, egalitarianism it would seem, has finally caught hold in Sanctuary. The new announcement leaves many unanswered questions, but it seems pretty clear Diablo 3 will be a fan service project. The interface will be tweaked, the action will be faster and more intense, but fans of the series will get exactly what they are looking for.
When Will It Be Released?
Anyone who answer’s this question with anything but “when it’s ready”, doesn’t know Blizzard very well. Given what we know however, 2008 would be extremely unlikely but hey, if anyone could make hell freeze over its Blizzard right?