Activision Blizzard is trying to reassure investors that its three upcoming Diablo games – especially Diablo 4 – will deliver big on profits.
Speaking to investors and analysts during a May 4 conference call, the president and COO of Activision Blizzard – Daniel Alegre – claimed that Diablo 4 will “advance the art of the action-RPG genre.” The executive simultaneously praised Diablo Immortal and Diablo 2: Resurrected, hoping to convince investors that the company is on the right track with one of its biggest franchises.
Diablo 4 is the next flagship product in the series. Its story revolves around the daughter of the Prime Evil Mephisto, Lilith, who returns to the world of Sanctuary to sow chaos. It’s reverting to a darker tone closer to Diablo 2, and will offer plenty of customization through four different classes and elements like Talents, Skills, Runes, and, of course, loot. There will also be an open world, player-versus-player zones, and, on consoles, local co-op. Much of the game is still under wraps, despite being first announced at BlizzCon 2019 in Anaheim.
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Alegre claimed that Activision Blizzard has seen positive feedback for the state of the game it revealed at BlizzConline in February 2021, as reported by Twinfinite. At that event the company was showcasing seven minutes of gameplay footage, with a focus on a newly-announced Rogue class. Alegre added that Blizzard has made “progress through important development milestones,” but without saying what those are or when Diablo 4 might be finished. The company has already admitted that the game won’t ship until at least 2022, and no firm release window has ever been set. Other publishers’ triple-A games have been pushed out of 2021 by pandemic-related setbacks.
On Diablo Immortal, Alegre said that the mobile game’s community has responded “pretty positively” as it continues a second round of testing. Diablo 2: Resurrected, a remaster, reportedly received a “really great” response after its initial public test. Both games are being developed with a 2021 target in mind, the latter shipping on PC, Xbox, Switch, and PlayStation. Activision is also offering cross-progression between consoles and PC. Diablo 4 is so far headed to PC, Xbox, and PlayStation.
The truth of Alegre’s comments is difficult to gauge, since executives typically put the most positive spin on products during investor calls. At the same time, it can be counterproductive to lie, since it creates distrust that’s difficult to win back. The company at least appears to have confidence in Diablo 4, and it seems to believe that it’s on track for its eventual release, given that no additional delays were announced. The timing of blockbuster games can have a large influence on quarterly results – missing a quarter can cause shares to temporarily plummet. Hopefully Activision’s optimistic image of Diablo 4 is an accurate one.
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