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DiabloNov 8, 2019 10:00 am CT

Diablo 4 Executive Producer: “We’re very excited about cross-play”

A recent interview with Allen Adham — Executive Producer on Diablo 4 and one of Blizzard’s founders — and Senior Producer Tiffany Wat has a lot of lovely tidbits to look over. The idea of Diablo as the antidote to Overwatch seems pretty apt for the modern world we live in. With one, if you’re in the mood for optimism, you go shoot things in a colorful world of heroes. For the other, if you want to wallow in despair and horror, Tristram is waiting for you in Diablo. I don’t really see — and have never seen — Diablo 3 as an optimistic game, since in it you fail to stop the demons from assaulting Heaven and you also fail to keep them from destroying an innocent girl and potentially sending her soul to Hell forever, and also you just barely manage to stop Malthael only after he kills countless people. But if Diablo 4 thinks it can top those moments, I’m keen to see just how dark this can get.

The article in the Telegraph mentions one thing that has me giddy, and that’s cross-platform play. Diablo 4 is going to be an always-on multiplayer world, similar to games like Destiny or even World of Warcraft in a way, where you can actually see other players out and about in the world as you explore it. Since the world will also be persistent, there will be events and opportunities to group up with other players, and they’re working on making those opportunities work across whatever platform you’re playing the game on.

And those meet-ups might happen across different platforms if the developers have their way. “We’re very excited about cross-play,” says Adham. “There are technical details and details to work through with the first parties, but it’s our goal to get to cross-play.”

Now, this is the kind of promise game devs end up having to pull all the time. It’s time consuming, it’s a resource hog. Don’t interpret this as a promise and then get furious if it doesn’t happen — it’s something they want to do, and for good reason, as it will make it more likely that you’ll just pick up Diablo 4 on whatever platform you prefer and then play it with your friends who are on whatever platform they prefer — but if it keeps the game from shipping, they’ll cut it. This is just the kind of thing you have to keep that in mind when reading about any game feature.

But let’s be clear, cross-play would be huge for Diablo 4. Other games have it, and have had to face the challenges of it, such as Fortnite having had to break Switch users out and into pools with mobile gamers while PS4 and Xbox One players were grouped together. Since Blizzard intends Diablo 4 to be on PC, PS4, and Xbox One — or maybe even PS5 and Scarlett — that hurdle at least won’t be one they have to face. Putting PC and the two biggest consoles into one cross-play group should be at least theoretically easier.

I’m definitely looking forward to Diablo 4, and I very much hope they can get cross-play in. We’ll see what happens with it and with various other development goals as we get closer to launch. But if they can make it happen, Diablo 4 will likely dominate the field in a way we haven’t seen since… well, Diablo 3, which was a sales juggernaut.

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