Diablo 4 is already being shown to developers at Blizzard Entertainment, at least those in the Versailles, France office, according to French newspaper Le Monde. Diablo 4 was one of the surprising leaks in a report that also unveiled the existence of Overwatch 2 and the cancelation of another in a long line of disappointing attempts at a StarCraft spin-off, this time an FPS title.
Diablo 4 is seen as something of a saving grace for the franchise, and will inevitably have a lot of hopes pinned squarely upon its shoulders whenever its officially announced by Blizzard. It's the follow-up to a lackluster BlizzCon announcement that saw fans rally against the reveal of Diablo Immortal, a mobile spin-off of the series that was partially so reviled because fans were already expecting Diablo 4. While Blizzard has since acknowledged that the timing of the announcement might have been poorly planned in retrospect, the company - and sales figures, which indicate Diablo Immortal is a smart move from Blizzard - will remain focused on delivering that title first.
However, Diablo 4 is likely further along in development than fans might have first expected. According to Le Monde (via Bloody Disgusting), Blizzard has already shown employees of the Versailles, France office a build of Diablo 4. While that doesn't necessarily mean the game is anywhere near completion, it does signal that it's at least in a form that can be demoed, which means it could very well be a heavy focus of BlizzCon this year beyond the cinematic trailer many are expecting. Here's what the translated article states in regard to Diablo 4:
"Teams at Blizzard Entertainment have already been presented with the long-awaited Diablo 4 and know that a new Overwatch game is in development...neither of these two games will be releases before 2020, at the very best, and employees at Versailles have no idea if they will still be around when they eventually release."
The latter half of the quote refers to the fact that Activision Blizzard announced sweeping layoffs for the company earlier this year, with many European staff members entirely unsure of whether or not they will be affected. Despite Diablo 4 development going well, there are obviously some issues with Blizzard's work environment that start at the top of the company and unfairly affects employees. The company has acknowledged that it needs to be better since the layoff announcement, and has even committed to making World of Warcraft a no-crunch game, so there's still time to turn things around for the popular developer.
In the interim, it appears fans have good reason to be excited about the sequel to Diablo 3. A demonstrable build of the game means that there's a good chance it will be a central component in this year's BlizzCon 2019, with gameplay in the realm of possibility despite a projected 2020 launch date at the very earliest. Diablo 4 will need to do a lot of heavy lifting after the divisive response to Diablo Immortal, but if Blizzard has learned anything from the additional years it has poured into Diablo 3 to make it an incredible dungeon crawler, then its sequel could be up to the task.