The developers of Diablo IV from Activision Blizzard have shared the latest quarterly report to update players on what is happening with the game through its course of development. At the moment, the Diablo IV team is fully working from home. While the transition has introduced challenges, the momentum is going strong on the development of the game.
The most recent milestone for the team included blocking in all the elements in a region known as the Dry Steppes, complete with campaign content, open world elements, itemization, a PvP subzone, dungeons, and a cinematic to cap the completion of the region’s narrative. The team then spent 2 days playing the game from home and some more time analyzing data and discussing devs’ reactions.
Some things have changed from Diablo III to Diablo IV: the team is experimenting with a mix of tool-generated and manually choreographed cameras to tackle conversations. Simple interactions with NPCs bring the camera in closer to the characters and use various animations from the library to deliver the general gist of the conversations. More complex conversations use hand-crafted movements and animations.
The team is also developing more real-time cutscenes (RTCs) for the most important story moments: they can show your character with their currently equipped armor as part of the scene, for example, ending up feeling more seamless and like a part of the game.
The open world is one of the main features arriving with Diablo IV. There are quite a few open world systems and pieces of content that you can discover while working on the main quest. If you want to take a break from the main campaign and go exploring, crafting, or PvPing, you are free to do so.
One of the new features is the addition of Camps. These are locations of importance that have been overrun by enemies, which once cleansed turn into friendly outposts with NPCs and a waypoint location. While there is a backstory to each camp, most of the storytelling is visual and quests don’t directly send you to them.
Last but not the least open world feature discussed in the blog post is the system of mounts: you could get to your objectives more quickly without trivializing travel or combat. Itemization for mounts also opened up a new axis of progression. The system still needs tuning and polishing but the team is on it.
Dungeons and key story moments are always private—just the player and their party. Once story moments are complete and towns turned into social hubs, you’d run into a few people in town. While on the road, you’d sometimes run into a player here and there. And then finally, if you went to a location where a world event was happening, you would see a larger congregation of players trying to defend against an attack by a cannibal horde or trying to take down Ashava, the demonic world boss showed at BlizzCon.