It’s increasingly looking as if Diablo 4 is a done deal now. The rumours have been whirling for a good few years but BlizzCon 2019 is almost assuredly the date when it becomes official. BlizzCon takes place over the weekend of November 1-2.
But, if that weren’t enough, Diablo 4 has been outed from another source. A new official Diablo artbook from Blizzard Entertainment is advertised in the latest issue issue of Germany gaming magazine GameStar. ‘The Art of Diablo’ includes more than 500 artworks from “Diablo, Diablo 2, Diablo 3, and Diablo 4”. There it is, pretty much straight from the horse’s mouth.
So, we expect Diablo IV to be officially unveiled to the world in just over one week’s time. Only, this announcement has been somewhat complicated due to recent events. Blizzard’s big plan was obviously to blow our socks off after last year’s BlizzCon ended up going down the shitter due to the Diablo Immortal, ‘haven’t you all got phones’ kerfuffle. That whole issue all seemed a bit pathetic at the time but it’s even smaller fry when we stack it up with recent events.
We’re talking about Blizzard’s high-profile banning of Hearthstone player ‘blitzchung’, of course, due to his Hong Kong pro-democracy protest. Blizzard’s Weibo account ended up issuing an apology to the Chinese government for any offence caused, and ultimately bent the knee to one of the most authoritarian governments in the world.
The blow-back has been loud, it’s been angry, and it’s been bloody obvious from a mile off. Blizzard was caught between a rock and a hard place but that’s the risk any corporation takes when it decides to operate within China. These awkward decisions were always going to arise and it all depended on how the situation was handled.
We doubt Blizzard intended for it all to come to a head just weeks before BlizzCon though. This is the biggest moment of Blizzard’s entire year and it’s set to be a fundamental embarrassment. Blizzard will be coming out all guns blazing in the hopes a stellar games line-up can quash the negative sentiment. It’s a hell of a big ask though, particularly among the core fan base. A large chunk (the vast majority perhaps) will never know or even care about Blizzard and Blitzchung, they’ll just pick up the next game which looks interesting. But the Blizzard faithful, the sort that are willing to buy tickets to BlizzCon, are going to be fuming.
The big question now is - what does it all mean? Are gamers going to boycott Blizzard in any meaningful way, or does the next big game announcement just wash away all the sins in a wave of hype?
So here’s a big question for the many Diablo fans among us here at GD: If Diablo 4 is announced next week, are you still going to buy it despite Blizzard’s recent censorship? Get voting and let us know why in the comments section below!