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Diablo 4 might be in the works


Diablo.jpg

Blizzard Entertainment is hiring for a new, unannounced game set in the Diablo universe. The job listings are for a Senior Concept Artist, Senior Character Artist and Lightning Artist. Read the job listings below and my analysis of how it might be the first sign of Diablo 4. Further, I discuss potential alternatives to Diablo 4 in the second part of this article.

Job listings points towards an RPG

All three of the job listings point towards Diablo 4, or at the very least a title with Role-Playing Game (RPG) elements, including a character sheet, multiple weapons, armors, NPC’s, character classes and more. Further, in each job listing, Blizzard entertainment states “our next hit game”, instead of using the word “project”, which likely means it will be a full game and not just an expansion.

Senior Concept Artist:

“Blizzard Entertainment is seeking exceptionally skilled and passionate senior concept artists to help drive the vision of characters and worlds in our next hit game!  We’re looking for artists that are self-starting, versatile, and enjoy being part of a collaborative environment.  The ideal candidate shares our sensibilities, loves dark medieval worlds, and feels there are countless stories left to tell in the Diablo universe!   

Responsibilities include:

  • Create character / creature concepts including character sheets and detailed callouts of equipment and weapons.
  • Create environmental concepts that include landscape / architectural designs, props and occasional mood paintings.
  • Iterate on game assets with other artists and designers via paint overs, studies, and group critiques.
  • Visualize complex environments through the use of basic components.” - Source

Two of the most interesting points in the first job listing is “there are countless stories left to tell” which points towards a story-driven experience in “dark medieval worlds”. Further, the inclusion of “character sheets and detailed callouts of equipment and weapons” suggests that it will very likely be a RPG.

Senior Character Artist:

“Blizzard Entertainment is seeking an exceptionally skilled and passionate senior character artist for its next hit game!  As part of the character team you will work with concept artists, animators, designers, and engineers to create characters, creatures, and weapons in the Diablo universe. The ideal candidate understands that character work does not end in ZBrush, and can texture, surface and optimize just as well as they can sculpt. We hire people who collaborate well with equally passionate developers and share our love for games.  

Responsibilities include:

  • Collaborate with artists, designers, and engineers to bring visually compelling characters to life.
  • Sculpt detailed high-poly models and create efficient low-poly meshes for characters, creatures, weapons and armor.
  • Create high quality textures and author materials.
  • Ensure that character art supports gameplay and performance.
  • Help develop character art best practices and mentor others as needed.” - Source

The senior character artist listing further points towards a game that will have NPC’s, multiple weapons and foes to face by stating “characters, creatures, and weapons in the Diablo universe”.

Lighting Artist:

“Blizzard Entertainment is seeking an exceptionally skilled and passionate lighting artist to craft the mood and drama surrounding new characters and never-before-seen worlds in our next hit game!  We’re looking for artists who demonstrate a strong understanding of how light, shadow, and color set the tone of an environment as well as guide the player. This position requires a creative and technically proficient approach to lighting based on gameplay, vision and conceptual illustrations. The ideal candidate shares our sensibilities and looks forward to the challenge of illuminating the dark medieval worlds of Diablo!   

Responsibilities include:

  • Work with art director, artists, and designers to create compelling lighting for a variety of environments while maintaining a consistent style throughout the game.Collaborate with art director to develop specific color grading looks.
  • Create real-time and baked lighting using commercial and proprietary tools.
  • Establish and maintain balance between visual quality and lighting performance.
  • Create, maintain, and communicate documentation for lighting guidelines and implementation techniques.” - Source

The third job listing notes “new characters and never-before-seen worlds”. We’ve already seen Hell, Heaven and parts of Sanctuary in previous Diablo titles. The wording in the listing might mean that we will explore a different plane of existence in the world of Diablo.

To summarize, all three job listings point towards the potential of Diablo 4. However, there are some alternatives to the fourth main game, which I will discuss below.

Potential alternatives to Diablo 4

The first and most obvious alternative to a fourth entry into the Diablo franchise is that of a Diablo 3 expansion. The Reaper of Souls expansion redeemed Diablo 3; I wouldn’t mind seeing another expansion. Historically, Blizzard has only released one expansion for each previous franchise entry, in Diablo it was Hellfire while Diablo 2 had The Throne of Baal. If you take into account that the job listings have only now been posted, the project is still in a very early development stage, so it does not make sense to me that another Diablo 3 expansion will come out in for example four years. Also keep in mind that the listings suggest say “next hit game” and not “project”, pointing towards a new game instead of an expansion.

World of Diablo is another potential alternative. Blizzard scrapped Project Titan, which was supposed to be their next big MMORPG. The listings did show “countless stories left to tell”; a large amount of quests is a requirement for an MMORPG, so it is not impossible that we might see a “World of Diablo” or “World of Sanctuary”.

What the next game in the Diablo universe will very likely not be is a RTS or MOBA title. Blizzard already has StarCraft 2 (with its third expansion released last year) as well as Heroes of the Storm. Further, a card game such as Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is also very unlikely, as the job listings point towards a 3D game with high quality lightning effects, by stating that the lighting artist will have to: “Establish and maintain balance between visual quality and lighting performance.”

Even if you think it is not Diablo 4 or one of the titles I speculated about above, one thing is still for certain. Blizzard Entertainment is definitely working on something in the Diablo universe; which should get fans of the franchise excited.

Whatever the game might be, keep in mind that it is likely still a very long way off; Diablo 3 took roughly 10 years to develop, according to the development timeline. Even if there is an announcement or hint at BlizzCon 2016, the project’s release date time-frame will undoubtedly be the classic “When its ready”. Further, keep in mind that Blizzard could cancel the project, for example Project Titan and Starcraft: Ghost (which we named as one of our five potentially great games that got cancelled).

Do you think Diablo 4 is being developed? What other game set in the Diablo universe could it be? Let us know in the comment section below.

Sources: Listing 1, Listing 2, Listing 3

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