It's been a long time since Blizzard added a new string to its bow o'universes, but not so long ago a fourth franchise was on the cards. In the time-honoured tradition of fantasying up Warcraft into Starcraft, so at one point was Diablo to be sent to space, in a game that never quite made it past the unfortunate portmanteau working title 'Starblo.'
This lost chapter of Blizzard history arrives courtesy of 'Stay Awhile And Listen', an impending unofficial book on this behemoth among PC game developers, by one David Craddock. He shared some details with Shacknews, which intended to publish a full chapter of the book soon. Craddock claims that, after Diablo II came out, the Diablo team split into two arms - one carrying on with Diablo stuff, the other pursuing new ideas. The apple rarely falling too far from the clicky-click tree, That idea turned out to be a sci-fi Diablo.
"The project earned the nickname Starblo for its mix of a space setting and the action-RPG formula that made Diablo so successful," Craddock told Shack. "Like Diablo 2, Starblo would take place over several acts, but rather than journey across a single world, players would board their customizable spaceship and travel to new planets, killing and looting the space creatures they found there."
Gas-powered Games had a crack at space-Diablo, with the ill-fated and abominable Space Siege. I still wonder at how and why that game was quite so awful to this day. But I really wouldn't mind seeing what Blizzard could do with that setup.
Apparently a few playable builds were created, though a less stupid name was not, but the lead minds behind it left for pastures new in 2003. Maybe that idea still lives within Blizzard somewhere, though even if does that firm's wheels turn so damn slowly we probably wouldn't hear about it for another 20 years.
Wonder what Blizzard's next big move will be, actually. With all three of Blizzard's franchises currently going concerns, surely it can't be long until they take the wraps off something new.