Update: Blizzard has denied having any such plans. You can read that story here.
One of the big reasons there has been so much rage about Diablo: Immortal’s announcement has been the larger context surrounding it. This was an announcement played up by Blizzard for the better part of a year, and all that fans got out of it by the end was a mobile game.
It would have been fine if this had been accompanied by something like a tease for an upcoming mainline game—this is the strategy Bethesda employed with The Elder Scrolls Blades and The Elder Scrolls 6, or Nintendo with Metroid: Samus Returns and Metroid Prime 4, or Microsoft with Gears POP and Gears 5. But to only get Diablo: Immortal out of it was a bit deflating.
However, according to a report published by Kotaku, it wasn’t always planned to be this way. In fact, Diablo 4 was meant to be the final announcement at BlizzCon, with company co-founder Allen Adham telling the audience in a pre-recorded video that a proper Diablo 4 was in development but not ready to show for now. The video was pulled at the last minute, with the Kotaku report citing development troubles the game has run into — including two reboots of the game’s development, as well as multiple changes in the overall direction and the director leading the project — as possible reasons, with Blizzard presumably not wanting to commit publicly to a project that is so in flux internally
If this is true, then this paints a worrying picture overall—of course, we didn’t get the Diablo 4 announcement, but it also sounds like the game is in development hell, and, assuming the report is true, years away from release. Diablo 3 is now six years old, nearing seven, and content for it has slowed to less than a drip. Fans of Blizzard’s franchise may be in for an arduously long wait before they get back at it, it seems like.