It's been an eventful few weeks for Blizzard Entertainment, which has recently come under fire for the controversy that resulted following a post match Hearthstone interview where the Grandmaster Champion Ng Wai 'Blitz'Chung was banned over his Pro-Hong Kong sentiments. It isn't the first time Blizzard has come under fire from fans, as one of the more memorable incidents came almost one year ago at BlizzCon 2018, and many still remember that exact debacle surrounding the Diablo franchise.
At this point, it's been nearly 8 years since Diablo 3 originally launched on PC, and fans remain hungry for any new details or information on what's next for the franchise. While the game has since been ported to nearly every available platform, fans were convinced that BlizzCon would be the perfect venue to announce Diablo 4. Adding a bit of fuel to the fires of speculation was a special skin for the Overwatch character Sombra, which essentially turned her into the Demon Hunter class from Diablo 3.
Unfortunately, Blizzard decided that it was the perfect time to show off a mobile game called Diablo Immortal, a decision that did not go over well with the community. The presentation quickly turned into a debacle, highlighted by a fan asking if the announcement was an April Fools Joke to which a developer replied that everyone has phones. That particular exchange became a rallying cry for fans who believe that Blizzard is out of touch with its fanbase.
Naturally, the first thing that likely comes to mind in order to qualify as a big announcement is the long awaited Diablo 4 reveal. In response to last year's backlash, Blizzard Co-Founder and Executive Producer Allen Adham and Production Director Dan Elggren confirmed that Diablo Immortal was just one of the many Diablo projects in active development. While the duo didn't outright reveal any details or specifically say Diablo 4 in the interview, it was heavily implied as they hoped fans would remain patient in the meantime.
Shockingly, reports also came out that Blizzard was initially planning on showing Diablo 4 before eventually pulling it in favor of the ill-timed mobile title Diablo Immortal. Blizzard has denied those claims, but it stands to reason that if an announcement was being prepared last year, then perhaps an additional 12 months of development time makes an announcement at BlizzCon 2019 all the more plausible.
Although it may not be as big as World of Warcraft, Diablo remains an immensely popular series for fans. Prior to its release in 2011, Diablo 3 managed to break several pre-sale records and even topped Activision-Blizzard's day-one PC sales record. While the game's launch was marred by technical issues, problems, and the controversial Auction House mechanic, through hot fixes and updates, the game not only recovered but would go on to become a standout title. Part of that recovery was due in large part to the Reaper of Souls expansion which added numerous quality of life updates including the well received Adventure mode.
Expectations for BlizzCon 2019 continue to tick up as the event draws closer and it's clear that last year has seemingly stuck with the company over the past 12 months. Blizzard appears to be readying big announcements at this year's show in large part to make up for last year. It's unclear what this could entail, but for many fans, the time appears right for a proper Diablo game to reappear.
While many are thinking the announcement could be for Diablo 4, others believe that an Overwatch 2 reveal is a possibility. Overwatch 2 has been rumored and teased for a while now, with it reportedly being focused on PvE. It wouldn't make much sense for it to be a direct sequel, given that it initially launched in 2016, so many think this could be some type of spin-off or an additive mode.
Whatever Blizzard is planning, the company has clearly upset a majority of its fanbase through disappointing reveals from last year to the more recent controversies surrounding Hong Kong. The company is keeping its cards close, but a Diablo 4 reveal or announcement would go a long way in potentially patching up relations with fans who felt alienated by all the bad PR. Whatever the case may be, fans don't have too much longer to wait as BlizzCon 2019 kicks off on Friday, November 1.