Diablo 3 is arguably the most anticipated game this year, and the latest word is that it will release sometime in March/April. Gamestop and most major retailers are currently taking pre-orders for the Diablo 3 collector’s edition and regular game version.
Diablo 3, at least in its current form, has been in development for nearly 4 years now. With numerous drawbacks, and even a couple missed [estimated] release dates the game itself has become something of a legend, a myth if you will.
When pressed, Blizzard has stood by the answer that Diablo 3 will be released “when it’s ready”, reinforcing that they [the developers] want to make the best game possible. Several popular gaming news and review sites even hinted at the release of Diablo 3 in late 2011, but considering the holiday and new year have since passed that’s definitely out of the question.
One question does remain however, when will Diablo 3 see it’s release? Diablo 3 will likely be released in late 2012, although considering Blizzard’s rather hush-hush adoption on the development cycle it could even be early 2013 before gamers get their hands on the title.
It is worth noting that Wal-mart lists the release date for Diablo 3 as 3/31/2012 while Best Buy has 12/31/2012 listed. This confusion is obviously due to Blizzard’s “when it’s ready” release date approach… but you can pre-order Diablo 3 now on Amazon.
While it may be sad news that the Diablo 3 release may be far off, such information can also be taken as a godsend- after all, with the developers devoting so much time and effort into the game it’s bound to be amazing.
Then again, a game like Duke Nukem Forever that saw a blisteringly slow development cycle and a terribly destructive consumer release comes to mind. It had been in development for nearly ten years off and on, and had been touted by many to be an instant success, but when it finally saw release it was something of a letdown. On the other side of the speculation coin, Blizzard has an excellent track record as far as game development – minus their penchant for missing release dates.
Diablo 3 & The Diablo Series
Diablo 3, and the entire Diablo series for that matter, is a top-down action RPG that makes use of its unique art style to provide a fast paced, yet engrossing adventure.
The original Diablo included very dark themed fantasy elements, and saw the player battling the evil lord Diablo in the expansive dungeons below Tristram, a small town located in a world called Sanctuary.
Diablo tasked players with exploring the randomly generated, 16 level dungeon hidden beneath Tristram’s cathedral. After navigating the entire dungeon, players were then transported to the depths of hell to fight Diablo.
Diablo II featured a more expansive story, as well as a much more expansive world to explore.
Diablo II followed players through a new adventure fighting off hordes of hellish minions, brought on by the passing of the “unnamed hero” from the first Diablo.
The unnamed hero who saved Tristram in the original Diablo was eventually corrupted, and thus gained satanic powers; which were unleashed as the hero roamed the land of sanctuary.
Players must follow suit, by traveling the land of Sanctuary behind the unnamed hero, and destroy the evil brought forth.
Diablo 3 will again follow unnamed heroes, but not the same from the first two titles. The heroes from Diablo II have since gone mad from the evils they faced and thus new heroes must take up the call against Sanctuary’s rising foes.
Diablo 3 involves two lesser evils that have survived from the first games, namely Azmodan and Belial. Not much else is known about the titles plot, besides what has been covered above.
Diablo 3 Gameplay
Diablo 3 will play very similar to Diablo II, however Blizzard has chosen to completely redesign the game engine to incorporate physics. The game will now feature fully destructible environments that play into the game mechanics – allowing players to do things like bring down a wall to dispatch a large mass of enemies.
The new game engine supports 3D environments as well to allow interaction between the players and game enemies. Several game demos have shown enemies making use of the 3D environments, doing things like climbing up a wall in the background into the foreground.
Diablo 3 will be presented in a top-down or overhead view to compliment the previous games isometric viewpoints. It will also include online drop-in, drop-out cooperative multiplayer gameplay through Battle.net (Blizzard’s online game service).
Diablo 3 Minimum System Specifications
Unfortunately Blizzard has not yet released the minimum system specifications needed to play Diablo 3, and judging by how they’ve handled things in the past they will not release such information until the game is ready for launch.
Blizzard has made it very clear however that Diablo 3 will include settings to allow use on a wide range of machines – this means that high and low end PCs will run the game, albeit under different visual settings.
Considering Diablo I and II ran exceptional on even low-end machines, Blizzard will know that to eliminate such features will also eliminate a specific player base from playing the new installment. It stands to reason that Blizzard will keep their word and truly allow settings to run Diablo 3 on low-end computers.
Diablo 3 Collector’s Edition
The Diablo 3 Collector’s Edition currently available for pre-order from most major retailers, includes several extra and in-game bonus features exclusive to the $99 package.
The Diablo 3 CE will include a behind the scenes DVD and Blu-Ray two disc set, the Diablo 3 game soundtrack made specifically for the CE bundle, the art of Diablo 3, and a Diablo themed skull (display) with a 4GB USB soulstone (thumb drive) that includes Diablo 2 and Diablo 2 Lord of Destruction pre-loaded.
The Diablo 3 CE will also include several in-game items such as exclusive Diablo 3 aesthetic artifacts for dying armor and displaying glowing angel wings. More Diablo 3 CE items include a World of Warcraft pet shaman, and unique Starcraft II Battle.net profile portraits.
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More Diablo 3 Screenshots
Here are some more screenshots of Diablo 3 in action.
Click For Larger Versions
* All images were taken directly from the official Blizzard Diablo 3 website.