A new report has shed light on development issues with Diablo 4, including mismanagement, crunch, and more.

activision, blizzard entertainment, diablo 4, xbox one, xbox series s, xbox series x

Diablo 4 seems to be ramping up on the road to launch. Earlier this year, it was announced that the game would be out sometime in 2023, and recent reports have claimed that a launch has been set internally for June, which will reportedly be announced imminently. However, a new report published by The Washington Post has shed light on issues with the game’s development, with many in its development team believing that the game is unlikely to be able to hit its targeted launch date.

The report claims Diablo 4 was originally tentatively targeting a 2022 launch, before being moved to April 2023, and then finally to June. However, based on interviews with multiple current and former Blizzard employees who spoke under the condition of anonymity, the report states Activision Blizzard is unwilling to delay the game any further.

“We’re at the point where they’re not willing to delay the game anymore,” said one current employee. “So we all just have to go along and figure out how much we’re willing to hurt ourselves to make sure the game gets released in a good enough state.”

Developers who have worked or are working on the project are reportedly unsure if it will launch at an acceptable level of quality, with many believing it will review poorly. Members of the development team are reportedly being encouraged and incentivized to crunch between now and the game’s launch, though there are reportedly many who feel even that might not be enough to get the game to reach an acceptable level of quality by the time it’s due out.

Allegedly, the development team has also consistently bled a lot of talent over the course of the game’s development, with many choosing to leave Blizzard in search of better pay and working conditions (many of whom were experienced veterans and integral to the game’s production). Vicarious Visions was folded entirely into Blizzard Entertainment earlier this year to aid with Diablo 4’s development, but apparently, throwing more bodies at the project hasn’t done much to help matters.

Meanwhile, the report also goes into several issues that have plagued Diablo 4’s development behind-the-scenes, including issues with mismanagement, particularly under leads Luis Barriga and Jesse McCree, who were let go from Blizzard Entertainment last year amidst controversies surrounding sexual harassment and employee abuse allegations.

Many in the development team have also been unsatisfied with the leadership of creative director Sebastian Stępień, owing to both, his inexperience with gameplay-focused experiences (he was creative director on The Witcher 3), as well as some questionable decisions made by him when he revised the game’s script in 2019.

One particular plot thread involving a character who was written to be a victim of rape was met with discontent from many in the development team, and the character was eventually cut out from the story. Meanwhile, members of the development team have also voiced concern over the portrayal of Lillith, the game’s primary antagonist, with one current employee saying she is “less interesting as a villain than she could be, if handled by a better writer.”

Diablo 4 is in development for Xbox Series X/S, PS5, Xbox One, PS4, and PC. Contents of the game’s Deluxe Digital and Ultimate Editions were recently leaked- read more on that through here.


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