Blizzard: Filthy Teases

By Alec Meer on June 24th, 2008 at 9:29 pm.

Wot no Lost Vikings

There’s a large part of me that never wants to write or read anything along the lines of “Diablo 3 announcement coming?” ever again. However, we are approaching something of a critical mass, so one more time… The Blizzard Worldwide Invitational hits Paris at the weekend (I’ll be there, trying not to stare at girls dressed as elves), and tradition dictates there’ll be an unveiling of a new game there. Well, we already know about Starcraft 2 and WoW: Anger of the Zombie Monarch, so everyone’s inevitably shouting Diablo III. There are, though, a ton of alternatives – Warcraft IV, Starcraft: Ghost, World of Starcraft or, heaven forfend, A New IP.

So what’s it gonna be? Blizzard have been openly teasing fans for the last couple of days. The basts.

Notably, they’ve posted a slowly changing splash image on the front page of their website. It’s either ice, a magic crystal or Superman’s Fortress of Solitude (which is sort of both of the above), but either way it’s cracking open to reveal… what? WHAT COULD IT BE? I really hope it’s some very long, detailed patch notes about minor statistical changes to Tailoring in World of Warcraft. That would rock.

While the icy theme would seem to support some sort of new revelation about Fury of The Undead Prime Minster, Blizzard fans have somewhat higher expectations. There’s a hint of something runic beneath the splintering crystal, which apparently bear significant resemblance to sigils from Diablo. And also from WoW. Sigh. There have also been hidden art files found in Blizzard.com’s .css files, which appear to be building up into something Walrusy. Which again suggests the revelation is something to do with Rage of the Ghoul President. God! Blizzard do, of course, have a habit of leg-pulling – their annual April fool’s gag for instance, so it’s very hard to ascertain what to take from any of this.

Diablo 3: Hell on Ice

Diablofans (the site formerly known as diablo3.com, that URL recently having been purchased by Blizzard – “They acquire new domains all the time”, apparently) has a startling amount of detail/speculation on the matter. It’s a little scary but worth a read, as they’re amassing a ton of possible evidence.

On the one hand their elaborate, almost ARG-level theories on what’s going on are convincing because they’ve so much more knowledge of Blizzard game mythos than I.

On the other hand, comments such as “The speculation was true: D (04.jpg – fourth letter of the alphabet) and today’s image O (15.jpg – 15th letter of the alphabet). At this rate the image numbers will reveal DIABLO. Tomorrow’s image might be named as any of these file names … 01.jpg (standing for the first letter of the alphabet: A), 02.jpg (standing for B), 12 (standing for the twelve letter of the alphabet: L) or 09.jpg (standing for the nineth letter of the alphabet: I)” sound like the ravings of madmen. So I really am none the wiser.

A further gobbet of detail which excited me the most was someone stumbling across the personal site of Blizzard artist Peter Lee, which, alongside concept art for existing Blizz games, recently sprouted an empty folder marked with a coming soon message and called ‘Hydra’. Could this mean a new game? Oh, if only. It’s been a long, long time since Blizzard ventured outside of their holy trinity. I do miss their old diversity. Here’s hoping – though more likely Hydra’s a codename for whatever sequel the weekend’s revelation turns out to be. Soon after the discovery, Lee’s site was replaced with an “under construction message.” I do hope he’s not dead.

Really, it’s hard to think it’ll be anything other than a Diablo game – to throw another War or Starcraft into the mix right now just seems confusing and excessive. But what do we even want Diablo III to be – a straight, shiny sequel, or something more MMO esque? That it’ll be a darker affair than WoW and SC2′s cartoon gloss does at least seem a given. It would, after all, be a sequel to a game whose conclusion involved the player forcibly ramming a crystal into his own skull to contain the titular villain, only to have the bugger then possess him and head off on a killing spree.

Anyway, all will be revealed at the weekend – so here’s hoping it is the expected, and we don’t ever have to run any more Diablo 3 rumour stories.

__________________

« | »

, , .

53 Comments »

  1. TychoCelchuuu says:

    I hope he’s not dead either, but then again, that’s what you get for trying to beat Blizzard. It has been well documented.

  2. Commando says:

    I could so nearly see World Of Starcraft but there are a good number of reasons why it probably won’t happen. I also don’t see why they would be announcing it now either as WoW has at least a good three years of prime time life left with it’s expansion pack.

    I would put money on it being a Wrath of the Lich King release date, causing much disappointment.

  3. darkripper says:

    Rock N’ Roll Racing 3!!!11!

  4. oilypenguin says:

    Does it really matter what it is? We’ll all be lining up to purchase whatever sequal or new ip (heh) the blizz brings to the party. That’s simply how it works. Personally, I’d be almost relieved if it wasn’t Diablo3 because I’m still missing a solid year of my life from II.

  5. LQB says:

    Whatever happened to just waiting to see instead of making shit up?

  6. Chuper says:

    LQB, don’t you realise that half of the fun you get from blizzards games is the obsessive fanboyism, brooding, waiting, wanting, needing and ofc. the, sometime funny, wild rumourmill :D

    Blizzards are as good as hyping and promoting thier games, as they are actually developing them. So these (they seem anual by now) Hypefests are not going away :)

  7. Cyberpope says:

    THEY’RE RELEASING A RANGE OF FROZEN FOODS!!!

  8. Scandalon says:

    Blackthorne 2. Obviously.

  9. mulayim says:

    Clearly the shards of worldstone, which means “Diablo III”.

  10. Naseer says:

    Isn’t it obvious? Wrath of the Lich King. You know, icy continent and all that.

    I am guessing major bummer when all that there is to be is some date – would guess around fall/early winter.

  11. vinic says:

    Lost Vikings III.

  12. Valentin Galea says:

    +1 for Blackthorne 2!

    omg i so loved that game!

  13. Leeks! says:

    Maybe Diablo is the Lich King. Fucker’s been killed enough times.

    Edit: Discontentment of the Undead Despot who is also a devil!!!

  14. Nimic says:

    Personally I was never a big Diablo (or fan at all, for that matter). I was never a big Starcraft fan either, and since I can’t see them making Warcraft IV I’m hoping for a completely new title. They’re already proven they can A) Make games and B) Create stories, so why not give us something more to worship them over?

  15. Majorb says:

    I predict a mundane and unwanted announcement for Wrath of the Liche king.

  16. xenothaulus says:

    I think it’s just the/a logo for the WWI that’s slowly breaking out from behind the ice, with it being fully revealed as a splash page announcement that the event’s Officially Begun. The people behind it are laughing at us. I’d love for it to be D3 though.

    I Want To Believe

  17. Chuper says:

    http://sc2pod.com/news/Countdown_to_Diablo_3/
    For the people who like to dwell in the hype – a full on “conspiracy theory” :D

  18. MasterBoo says:

    “I do hope he’s not dead.”

    LOLed there.

  19. Alex says:

    Didn’t a new Diablo patch come out last week or so, removing CD-in-drive DRM for the game?

    And didn’t Blizzard do the same thing for Starcraft just before they announced Starcraft 2?

  20. Will Tomas says:

    It’s been perfectly, blatently, obvious that a new Diablo game has been on the cards since the first one of these rumours came out. We don’t even need to question this assumption. I for one, could not really care less. What irritates me more is that Blizzard are just whipping up the fanboys by teasing them in this way. It’s a conscious decision not to announce but to drip out hints, obviously. Welcome to new age corporate marketing. (See also: The Arctic Monkeys’ “internet” fame before they released their first album).

  21. malkav11 says:

    Did they also de-CD WCIII right before announcing WoW? Because otherwise that’s a pretty slim “trend”.

    I hope it’s a new property, personally. A Diablo III could be exciting, I guess, but I’m frankly getting kind of tired of the Diablo model of gameplay. I did make it all the way through Titan Quest (which I felt was good enough to be a spiritual Diablo III), but still couldn’t bring myself to try the next difficulty, and never played the expansion – I *own* the expansion, I just lost the character I’d beaten the game with and couldn’t muster the enthusiasm to start a new one. Mythos looks like an excellent entry in that niche, and I’ve played it maybe three times since getting into the beta. Actually, what I’d like to see Blizzard try is a proper full-on turn-based oldschool RPG. I grant you they don’t really have any history with that sort of game, and maybe they’d flame out spectacularly, but the idea of a company as known for polish and quality as Blizzard getting into the arena with folks like Bioware and Obsidian (who are respectively less genius and less polished than Blizzard has historically been) would be tremendously exciting.

  22. dartt says:

    The runes that diablofans point out look pretty convincing. It could just be someone from the Blizzard art dept lazily reusing assets but how likely is that?

  23. Al3xand3r says:

    WoW is a spin off, not a sequel Will. Fans are still waiting for Warcraft 4 you know (and they’ll probably get it, maybe 5 or so years after Starcraft II’s release, heh).

  24. Matt says:

    I have to say I have never understood the popularity of the Diablo games. It always felt a bit like playing Gauntlet to me. I never really got a sense of story ( I vaguely remember one being there) I just had to shoot/hit things and get better weapons and armour it was fun for a bit but nothing special.

    I think I got hold of the Baldur’s Gate games around the same time and they really blew me away. In comparison Diablo seemed shoddy somehow. I realise it is a different kind of game but it just felt so simplistic and repetitive I just don’t see why people like it so much.

    I also had Starcraft at the time and really enjoyed that much more than either Warcraft or Diablo. I presume it will get a dramatic revamp though, they could do quite a lot with it I suppose.

  25. Roritharr says:

    I’m so eagerly waiting for Diablo 3… simply because i want to see Blizzard fail again… after all the success theyve had with WoW.. they need something to put them back on the ground…

    eg.. what happened to the Valve Compo?

  26. Caiman says:

    Diablo was excellent, as far as I can remember the first really modern interpretation of the Moria / Nethack model. Diablo II on the other hand I didn’t much care for, mostly for its punishing save system.

  27. Dean says:

    Don’t forget Blizzcon later in the summer. Blizzard’s big, home event. Surely they’ll save any announcement of anything big for that? It’ll just be a WotLK beta or street date.

  28. Spenot says:

    I’m to eager to find out what’s behind this project called “Hydra”, as the news that Blizzard was working on it, had been leaked last year (along with the first leaks of StarCraft 2).
    I really hope that it’s a new IP, or at least a sequel to their older ones (Blackthorne and Lost Vikings, mainly;)).

  29. UncleLou says:

    I realise it is a different kind of game but it just felt so simplistic and repetitive I just don’t see why people like it so much.

    Simplicity and repetition – that’s exactly it the game’s secret. Diablo 2 is the – apologies – zen of gaming for me. It’s hypnotic, it’s like a drug.

    I pity the people for whom the game’s formula doesn’t work, you have no idea what you’re missing. ;-)

  30. Mark-P says:

    The joy of Diablo II for me was online, hardcore mode. After that it was hard to get turned on by any other online RPG that had no perma-death. They’re all limp, pointless grinds whose only challenge is trying to control how much of your life you’re willing to waste increasing a set of digital numbers.

    If the sound of the Diablo II ‘Hostile’ horn doesn’t put the fear of God into you, then IMO you’ve never really lived online. ;)

    All I’d want to see in Diablo 3 is fresh content, more secure netcode and better skill balancing. I’d even be happy with the old 2D graphics. This is the one game I’d be scared to see any innovation in. Most especially in the billing model… ¬_¬

  31. Aftershock says:

    Rage of the Ghoul President
    Anger of the Zombie Monarch
    Fury of The Undead Prime Minster

    Classic. Couldn’t stop laughing.

  32. matt says:

    Well, to me, the “runes” on the pic look very much like Starcraft 2′s faction logos, the bottom one being ressembling very much Terran’s sort of wing-like thingy.. but then again, it’s just me; i would not be surprised that this weekend’s announcement brings nothing new really..

  33. Noc says:

    Mark-P: You should play EVE, I think.

  34. Dude says:

    @ Roritharr: Blizzard cannot fail, they have hordes of dedicated fan worshiping their box of diablo 2 and wow, they will blindly buy anything coming from their god, even a repackaged starcraft adding almost nothing to a 10 years old gameplay. So obviously blizzard is going to do a diablo 2 repackaged with the same old gameplay that will sell millions worldwide, sad, sad.
    God I hate their communication, looks like when you retire from MI6 you can get a job as a information security agent at Blizzard, I am sure the Peter Lee has been waking up to the sound of “frezze, don’t you move! You are under arrest for breaching the secret code of blizzard”. Now he must be in blizzard equivalent of Guantanamo Bay.

  35. Anthony Damiani says:

    What makes you think there will be another game, as opposed to beta and release date announcements?

    Has Blizzard EVER had more than two publicly announced titles in production? Both of which are at least six months from shipping. I’m not saying they’re not doing a D3– but announcing it now would seem to dilute their focus.

  36. UncleLou says:

    Hoppla.

  37. UncleLou says:

    As good as confirmed in an interview with Eurogamer that it’s a new game they’ll announce, check EG’s frontpage.

  38. The Hammer says:

    “LQB, don’t you realise that half of the fun you get from blizzards games is the obsessive fanboyism, brooding, waiting, wanting, needing and ofc. the, sometime funny, wild rumourmill”

    Pretty much. The anticipation is almost as enjoyable as the games themselves (and when the games eventually come out, normally reach the expectations, which is rare). I mean, I’m going to slaver all over the Wrath of the Lich King CGI when it comes out.

  39. alphaxion says:

    they have about 4 titles in developement right now – SC2, WotLK, hydra and “and a new MMO”.. tho hydra and the 4th one could well be one and the same.

    I like how the wow site is too busy because there’s a million fanbois slapping F5 as much as possible to be the first to post on any slight change to the files.

    Oh, and something no-one has picked up on. In the page source for the splash page, where the changing image is loaded is called “icefield”… it’s gonna be a new playable race or the vikings are back ;)

    Ooo.. rumours! ;)

  40. sigma83 says:

    CURSE BLIZZARD AND THEIR INTERLOPERY WAYS!

  41. JrezIN says:

    Please, Rock’n Roll Racing. Please be Rock’n Roll Racing. Please, please be Rock’n Roll Racing [cross fingers and continue the mantra until the announcement /]

  42. alphaxion says:

    hmm.. the body of a hydra, the hairline of a gnome, the face of illidan/draeni and a single horn of diablo…. It’s world of rockband go-kart racers!

  43. alphaxion says:

    you know, with the latest teaser, I can’t get the image of a viking peering over the hole and waving at us…

    “hulloooo”

  44. Tak says:

    Lost Vikings. Ice, runes, and besides who doesn’t love Vikings?

    And, it would allow them to continue this (IMO) hyper-stylized err…style…they’re doing. I really, really, REALLY hate that art direction. And curses to WCIII for turning the industry towards it. And more curses to WoW for continuing it!

  45. Michael says:

    I want either a new Blackthorn game or Lost Vikings.

  46. Whiteout says:

    Here’s a idea I haven’t heard yet from the Internet. How about a new Warcraft Game? Not World of Warcraft of course, but a new Warcraft. You know it’s been a long time since the last one.

  47. Alexandros says:

    Not so close to Starcraft II surely. And it hasn’t been that long anyway (look how long it took for Starcraft’s sequel). But why would they release two products that each have the potential to dominate a specific market? To have their own games compete with each other instead of everybody else? I don’t expect a Warcraft 4 until several years after Starcraft II’s release. Of course, I could be wrong about Blizzard’s common sense.

  48. SwiftRanger says:

    “Diablo was excellent, as far as I can remember the first really modern interpretation of the Moria / Nethack model. Diablo II on the other hand I didn’t much care for, mostly for its punishing save system.”

    Caiman, both Diablo games pretty much had the same save system. Diablo 1 had a much grittier atmosphere than its sequel, something I’d love to see returning in the third game.

  49. Cigol says:

    Diablo was very minimalistic. I enjoyed it (particularly online) but I also was a huge fan of Baldurs Gate (et al) so there’s no conflict between the style of games in my opinion.

    What I personally found funny about Diablo’s original release was that it was my dad who introduced it to me. Initially I was like; ‘wtf!?’, and totally expected it to be a piece of shit – but here was this game both me and my dad enjoyed and were able to play. He was talking to me about a game, enthusiastically, it was weird, and surreal, and I still can’t get over it to this day!

    Simple – but fun – who’d of thunk it!