Diablo 3's second expansion was more than just a rumor, according to a recent in-depth report that detailed the game's development cycles and reception in-studio. Although there was no official title for the second expansion, it was something that was being made at one point by Blizzard before the developer canceled it later.
The saga of Diablo 3 is one that should have ended in a happier fashion. While the game released in May 2012 in apocalyptic fashion, with fans unable to login due to "Error 37" and the real-money auction house creating an imbalance in the game's online presence, Team 3 - the Blizzard department responsible for Diablo 3 - didn't give up. The team later released the first expansion for the game called Reaper of Souls, a critically acclaimed masterpiece of additional content that also rebalanced many of the issues fans had with the title. The reception was exceptionally positive, and it felt like Diablo 3 had finally hit its stride and would be a popular Blizzard property for years to come.
According to a report from Kotaku, however, Blizzard outright canceled Diablo 3's second expansion just before Reaper of Souls released. The company hadn't even waited to see how the expansion was received by fans despite the long period of time Team 3 had been working on it, and even the success of Reaper of Souls wasn't enough to convince the company to give more Diablo 3 expansions a legitimate shot. A quote from an anonymous member of the team who worked on Diablo 3 clarifies even further:
"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 4 in whatever form that'll be. The overall sense on the team, at least in my impression, was that there was a vote of no confidence from the executive. They thought Diablo 3 was a giant f**k-up."
Further explanation reveals that Team 3 was stunned by the move, and that the development team felt like they genuinely had turned Diablo 3 around with Reaper of Souls. That seemed to be the consensus from fans, too, who flocked back to the game after the expansion released. Reaper of Souls sold 2.7 million copies in its first week, which, while much less than Diablo 3, was an impressive number considering how many people felt the game was a failure in its first iteration.
Diablo 3's second expansion never got off the ground. While the source from the report suggested that some minor work had gone into planning it, nothing ever materialized and Team 3 was broken up. Interestingly, it was then that Blizzard began working on a Diablo 4 that looked a lot more like Dark Souls, according to several people familiar with the first iteration of the sequel. That was scrapped after several years, though, and now a new Diablo 4 project, code-named Fenrir, is apparently in the works.
All of that is a long ways off, however. What remains is what could have been regarding Diablo 3, a game that many feel deserved another expansion after all of the goodwill Reaper of Souls earned. It's a sad way for that game's development to end and sadder still that a team that was clearly passionate about turning one of Blizzard's most beloved IPs back into something fans loved never got a chance to completely follow through on that goal.