Diablo 3 slated for Q2

Blizzard earnings call.

Oh earnings conference calls, how I love you. You are the one place I can reliably get straightforward, no-bullshit answers about release dates and the success or failure of specific franchises. Blizzard had just such a call this afternoon, which means we finally know something about the release date for Diablo 3. We don’t have a date, but the game is slated for Q2, which is something.

I was really hoping to see the game by this past November, so Q2 feels like a long way off. Blizzard did just give 100,000 more beta invites out, which means more people will have a chance to play through the highly polished first parts of Act I. I was impressed with the beta and really enjoyed myself, but it’s just so damn short.

Some of the other interesting news from the earnings call was that Blizzard will be launching multiple titles in 2012. The safe bet is that they’re talking about Heart of the Swarm, the next Starcraft II xpac, but the hopeful guess is that they’ll launch Blizzard DotA within the year. I’m honestly experiencing a bit of MOBA fatigue, but more options and competition in the industry should mean better games overall, so I’m excited for it. I’m also curious what Blizzard plans to make of this “Blizzard Arcade” business. Trying to pack in a few titles for the casual gaming crowd? I’m sure I could be convinced to spend a couple bucks here and there on Blizzard titles.


No date for Diablo III means no time soon

Diablo III concept logo.For a while there I was hoping Blizzard would spring a holiday surprise on us and drop Diablo III just before the end of the year. I realize it would have been crazy – this season is already packed with blockbuster titles for every platform and Blizzard likes to be everyone’s primary focus when it launches a new game. It makes sense, then, that we won’t see the game this year. Or next. But probably the one after that.

Speaking with TechLand, Rob Pardo said Blizzard isn’t even approximating a release date yet. “We always announce all of our games too early,” he said. “We realize that and go, ‘You know what? Next time we’re not going to do that.’ And then we always fail at that. But I’d rather fail at that than fail at making the game great. I think it’s safe to say that, yeah, [Diablo III] is not going to be out next year.”

On the one hand you have to respect his position. It’s pointless to claim a release date if you’re just going to push it back again and again. On the other, though, it’s tough to see the point in talking so much about the game when we could be two years from release. The game already feels overdue, and it’s not like the gameplay or the graphics are so earth-shattering as to be considered even excellent in two years or more.

I’d call this the next Duke Nukem if it were anyone but Blizzard and anything but Diablo.


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