Ready for more Diablo 4? I hope so, because that's what you're getting. At least, that seems to be the takeaway from a recent Dexerto interview with Diablo general manager Rod Fergusson, in which the Blizzard VIP happened to mention, offhandedly, that Diablo 4 is apparently going for a model based on quarterly seasons and annual expansions. I guess you could call it destiny.
Dexerto had asked Fergusson about Diablo 4's future. Diablo 3 got its final season after an 11-year run recently, leading to a little speculation about how long this whole 'Diablo 4' thing is gonna last. Fergusson said the question was like asking "how long is a piece of string," but that didn't mean he doesn't have thoughts about it.
"It's years and years," said Fergusson. "When you look at the launch of the game and this first season, we see that as building a foundation on which we can build for the future. So, as we look at our quarterly seasons, and we look at our annual expansions, those are the things we're really focused on for our live service."
This is, of course, the same model Destiny 2 currently uses. It's probably no surprise that Diablo 4—the series' most live service-y iteration yet—is following in those footsteps. It's a strange thing to confirm in the context of an offhand remark in an interview, but perhaps Blizzard just regards Diablo's transition to that model as obvious and unremarkable. Or Fergusson has somehow wildly misspoken, which seems unlikely. I've reached out to Blizzard to confirm this news, though, and I'll update this piece if I hear back.
This news comes just a few weeks after Bungie announced it was changing its own live service model. Following next year's The Final Shape expansion, Destiny 2 is dropping its four seasonal releases in favour of three "episodes", each with multiple acts containing new story, weapons and artifact perks. Part of the reason for this is, simply, that players were burnt out on how predictable and templated each season had become. Which is maybe not the best sign for any developer looking to replicate the model.
Interestingly, Fergusson frames that kind of model as a way of making good on people's disappointments with D3. "When you look back and realise that there were 11 years between D3 and D4, that feels like we didn't live up to our players, our community, and what they deserve," he told Dexerto. D3 only got a single expansion pack—Reaper of Souls—in its lifespan, and only (only!) had a mere 29 seasons before Blizzard began sunsetting it in favour of Diablo 4.
I guess Blizzard reckons that D3's players considered that a bit sparse, content-wise. Or at least, Blizzard wants to believe they did. Either way, it sounds like D4, unsurprisingly, is going to have a very long tail in the years to come.