Blizzard Devs speak out on Diablo

General Discussion
So before I dive right into everything. A gaming journalist spoke to former and current Blizzard devs about Diablo. Because these sources were not authorized to speak to the media, most of these comments have no way of being verified. It might be fake news. Here is the full article.

https://kotaku.com/the-past-present-and-future-of-diablo-1830593195

The article explains a lot. I hope you all find it very interesting. I pulled out the important parts and bolded the major parts. Everything below this is not mine. This is all by Jason Schreier.

On why there hasn't been more content after ROS:

“What they told the team was, ‘You’ve finished Reaper of Souls, it’s really good. But we think the best thing for the IP is to move to Diablo IV in whatever form that’ll be,’” said one person who was there. “The overall sense on the team, at least in my impression, was that there was a vote of no confidence from the executives. They thought Diablo III was a giant mess.”
A lot of people felt stunned by it,” said the person who was there. “I think a lot of them felt like, ‘We made mistakes on Diablo III, but we learned and we made Reaper to show what we could do. We have fixed it, and Reaper’s really good.’ I think a lot of people felt like we’d figured it out and we know how to do this, and expansion two, whatever it would’ve been, would’ve been the highest expression of that… To have them pull the plug without really seeing how Reaper did really stung.”

When asked, Blizzard did not address the cancellation of this expansion, but as part of a broader statement, spoke about cancellations in general. “As far as game cancellations, we see that as a strength—a reflection of our commitment to quality, and how we’ve always operated,” the spokesperson said. “Historically, we’ve launched about 50% of the total projects we’ve worked on over the past three decades—those are the ones we consider representative of Blizzard quality. Not shipping a game is never an easy decision to make, but it has always been the right decision for us. Cancelling Titan led us to Overwatch, and as another example, cancelling Nomad led us to World of Warcraft.”

In March 2014, as fans celebrated the return of Diablo III with the triumphant Reaper of Souls, Team 3 was splitting up. Some developers left the company; others moved to different projects, like World of Warcraft or the nascent Overwatch. Some stuck around to work on patches for Diablo III, but Team 3 was no longer in full swing. “At the point they had the strongest Diablo development team ever, they scattered them all to the winds,” said one person who worked on Reaper of Souls. To those developers, it was a baffling move by Blizzard’s management. Giving the team more time to see how Reaper performed and how the second expansion was shaping up “would’ve been much more Blizzard-like,” that person said.

On Diablo 4

Those who remained on Team 3 began talking about what Diablo IV might look like. Josh Mosqueira, the Canadian transplant who had started on the Diablo III console team before taking the franchise’s reins as director of Reaper of Souls, would lead development on the new project, which was code-named Hades. The goal was to take the franchise in a very different direction.

From 2014 until 2016, it was Team 3’s main project, developed alongside a handful of patches and light content updates for Diablo III. Then, like Diablo III’s second expansion before it, Hades was canceled.

In the coming months, Blizzard’s Team 3 would do two things. The developers, who needed something to work on now that Hades was no more, put together downloadable content for Diablo III called Rise of the Necromancer, a character class add-on that the team hoped would satiate fans who were desperate for more Diablo. And some of them started working on a project code-named Fenris.
Fenris is, all of our sources have confirmed, the current incarnation of Diablo IV. Blizzard’s Team 3 has been working on this version of the game since 2016, and some who have seen it say they’re optimistic about the direction. “[Design director] Luis [Barriga] has a very strong vision for that game,” said a former employee, “one that a lot of people are excited about at Blizzard.”
“There’s a lot of people who felt like Diablo III got away from what made Diablo Diablo in terms of art style and spell effects,” said a current Blizzard employee, adding that Fenris is aiming to look more like the beloved Diablo II. Said another: “They want to make this gross, make it dark, [get rid of] anything that was considered cartoony in Diablo III… Make what people were afraid of in Diablo II, but modern.”


Another pillar of Fenris is to make Diablo more social, taking inspiration from Destiny to add what one current Blizzard developer called “light MMO elements,” further drawing on Blizzard’s past massively multiplayer online success. Previous Diablo games have featured hub cities full of computer-controlled quest-givers and vendors—imagine if, while exploring those hubs, you could meet and group up with other players? And then what if you could go off and take on instanced dungeons with them, sort of like Destiny’s strikes or World of Warcraft’s instances?
“The question that kept getting asked is, ‘If there’s going to be a ‘strike’ equivalent, where you’re forced into a very story-focused, well-designed level of a dungeon, what does that look like in Diablo?” said one person familiar with the project. “What if we still had a core Diablo game that just happened to have a bunch of people on the map to do other cool stuff?”

On Blizzard failures:
Plans or no plans, the Diablo IV announcement didn’t happen. Here’s one theory as to why: Blizzard is haunted by the specter of Titan. So with Fenris fairly early in development—and with the fourth Diablo already having gone through one big reboot—it’s fair to wonder if the team was worried about another lengthy development cycle that might end in disaster. Even the words “Diablo IV” might have set expectations that the developers didn’t want to establish just yet. “The Diablo team is very paranoid about saying something too soon and then getting stuck in a loop,” said one former Blizzard developer. “They don’t want to show the game until they have a trailer, a demo.”
“Obviously Titan looms over all of us,” said another former Blizzard developer. Despite Overwatch’s emergence from Titan’s ashes, the developer added, “people don’t look at Titan and see a success.“


“I think there’s a desire to announce stuff within a reasonably close proximity to when people are gonna get to play it,” said a current Blizzard developer, pointing to both Titan and Blizzard’s other infamously canceled project, StarCraft: Ghost. “[Those] just set people up for a lot of disappointment.”
In a statement, Blizzard confirmed as much. “In terms of unannounced games, so much can change over the course of development based on how we’re feeling about the progress and direction of the project,” the company said. “So we try not to share details about unannounced projects before we’re ready. Our preference is to have a clear announcement plan with some concrete details and hopefully a playable demo of the game when we announce. That applies to our Diablo projects and our other games as well.”

On Diablo Immortal:

As it turns out, Diablo IV and Diablo Immortal are developed by different teams of people in different divisions. While the project known as Fenris is in production at Team 3, Diablo Immortal is partially developed by NetEase and partially made by a small group of Blizzard employees who work for one of the company’s newest departments: incubation.
In 2016, when Blizzard co-founder Allen Adham returned to the company, he announced that he was heading up that new department. Inspired by the massive success of the experimental card game Hearthstone (2014), this “incubation” department would help cultivate new creative projects for the company. It attracted some of Blizzard’s veteran developers, like Tom Chilton, who had been director of World of Warcraft for six years and a designer on the game for another six before that. (Now, Chilton is heading up a mobile game.)
Another veteran designer who moved to incubation was Wyatt Cheng, who had worked on Diablo III for over a decade and wanted a break, according to two people who know him. Blizzard had partnered with a Chinese company called NetEase to publish Diablo III as a free-to-play game in China, where it was a big success. At some point in 2016 or 2017, the two companies decided to collaborate, putting together what would be called Diablo Immortal—a Diablo game, with Cheng as lead designer, made only for phones. “Essentially it exists because we’ve heard that China really wants it,” said a current developer. “It is really for China.”
“There are lots of mobile game players at Blizzard,” said a current developer. “There are lots of people actually excited about mobile games. The reaction inside the company to Immortal is very different than the reaction outside the company. Part of the thinking on a lot of these is, people want to work on smaller projects. Smaller projects in mobile tend to make sense.”
For example, developers told me, quite a few people at Blizzard play Pokémon Go, the massively popular mobile game that lets you use your phone’s camera to catch wild creatures. As one developer explained, the iconic orc statue in the center of Blizzard’s campus is a Pokémon Gym, and staff wage war over who gets to control the landmark on a daily basis. (Correction - 5:58pm: We originally said that it was a Pokéstop, but it’s actually a Gym! Apologies for the error.)

On the state of the company

In the spring of 2018, during Blizzard’s annual company-wide “Battle Plan” meeting, chief financial officer Amrita Ahuja spoke to all of the staff, according to two people who were there. In what came as a surprise to many, she told Blizzard that one of the company’s goals for the coming year was to save money.
“This is the first year we’ve heard a priority being cutting costs and trying not to spend as much,” said one person who was in the meeting. “It was presented as, ‘Don’t spend money where it isn’t necessary.’”

Ahuja was new to Blizzard, having started as CFO that spring as a transplant from 3100 Ocean Park, the Santa Monica-based Activision headquarters where she’d spent eight years working in the finance and investor relations departments. There was a perception among Blizzard staff that she had come in to clean up the spreadsheets, to save as much money as possible while at the same time bolstering Blizzard’s product output. “You would’ve thought Blizzard was going under and we had no money,” said a former Blizzard staffer, who told me they left the company this year in part because of Activision’s influence. “The way every little thing was being scrutinized from a spend perspective. That’s obviously not the case. But this was the very first time I ever heard, ‘We need to show growth.’ That was just so incredibly disheartening for me.” “We are being told to spend less at every corner because we have no new IP,” said one former developer. “Because Overwatch set this bar of how much we could earn in a single year, there’s a ton of pressure from Activision to get !@#$ moving. They want something to show shareholders.” (During an earnings call after Overwatch launched, Activision said it had brought in over a billion dollars in revenue.)
Then, in October 2018, Blizzard lost its leader. Co-founder Mike Morhaime, the soft-spoken CEO who jovially addressed fans at every BlizzCon, said he was stepping down, to be replaced by veteran World of Warcraft producer J. Allen Brack. Allen Adham and chief development officer Ray Gresko also joined Blizzard’s executive management team, perhaps to help ensure that the studio would be helmed by game developers who lived and breathed Blizzard.
It was a massive shake-up for Blizzard, and it came during a time when there were already questions about Activision’s influences. Morhaime was widely beloved at the company. One former Blizzard developer described him as the “anti-CEO.”
”He doesn’t care about profitability,” that person said. “He just wants employees to be happy, and he just wants to make good games and keep the community happy.” Suddenly, there were whispers in hallways, concerns about future cost-cutting initiatives and furtive exchanges about what plans Activision CEO Bobby Kotick might have in mind for Blizzard. “There’s a perception within Blizzard that finance is making more calls than they ever did in the past,” said one person who left Blizzard recently. “You never heard that three or four years ago.”
use the search command before posting
Meanwhile in New-Zealand...
This just in, RoS expansion is out
11/24/2018 02:59 PMPosted by AgentChaos
Suddenly, there were whispers in hallways, concerns about future cost-cutting initiatives and furtive exchanges about what plans Activision CEO Bobby Kotick might have in mind for Blizzard. “There’s a perception within Blizzard that finance is making more calls than they ever did in the past,” said one person who left Blizzard recently. “You never heard that three or four years ago.”[/b]


Well, would you expect D4 to be a good game that satisfies cost down requirement?

Graphic engine and animation requires tons of human resources.
Story and itemization requires long time to develop.

PoE has it's first beta at 2012 and continuously adding new content every 3 months since then. The massive contents in PoE definitely cost tons of money, in return, GGG gets massive of players to support their game.

I guess BZ can either make a cheap reskin mobile game that satisfied the cost down requirement with little return or they can spend tons of money on a AAA game to get a big return. They can not have a game that satisfies both low cost and big return--that's just like playing casino with $5 to win million.
11/25/2018 05:14 PMPosted by jujijuji
They can not have a game that satisfies both low cost and big return--that's just like playing casino with $5 to win million.


Sure they can, it's called mobile cashgrab. The game is being built for Asia, but Blizzard's hubris made them believe they could just trot it out as a convention headliner and insult every western fan.
11/24/2018 03:20 PMPosted by ETpagh
This just in, RoS expansion is out


New Kotaku article?
all this analysis and you forget the obvious, blizzard doesn't announce things because they sell announcements at blizzconn.. this is a joke

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