Activision have stated that Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 will not launch in 2021, in their latest financial statement, dashing hopes of seeing a major new Blizzard PC or console game released this year. We can, however, expect to see Diablo Immortal launching on iOS and Android.
Chief Financial Officer Dennis Durking gave the update, saying “We expect Blizzard’s net bookings to grow given the momentum in World of Warcraft and the other growth initiatives we have in the business. Our outlook does not include Diablo 4 or Overwatch 2 launching in 2021. And while Diablo Immortal is progressing well, and we anticipate its launch later this year we don’t have any material contribution from the title in our outlook presently.”
Blizzard has typically been a company that takes an “it’s done when it’s done” approach to game development, so it’s maybe not surprising that both of these long-awaited games are taking their sweet time to release, but there is encouraging news that could point toward 2022 releases. COO Daniel Alegre said “The pipeline is progressing really well, and we anticipate that 2022 will be a great year for Blizzard,” while Blizzard’s Jay Allen Brack noted that Overwatch 2 passed a “major internal milestone” in December.
Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2 were both announced at BlizzCon 2019, coming as sequels to games released in 2012 and 2016 respectively. Diablo 4 was by far and away the most expected announcement, especially with the uproar that the mobile-exclusive announcement of Diablo Immortal had garnered the previous year, while rumours of Overwatch 2 were somewhat more surprising, and took a rather unusual form.
Overwatch 2 is an unusual sequel-cum-expansion to the existing game that will be backward compatible with Overwatch with heroes, balance, maps and other competitive multiplayer content. To put it another way, Blizzard are adding all the new competitive content to keep the original game in lockstep. So what’s new? Well, a major expansion of the PvE co-op content, going beyond seasonal events to really flesh out the game’s playable story.
While release is some way away, we can still expect to see updates on both games in the near future. While BlizzCon 2020 was been cancelled due to the pandemic, the rebranded BlizzConline will take place on 19-20th February and we already know that an Overwatch 2 update is on the cards. We can also expect to learn more about Diablo 2 Remake, which is being handled by studio formerly known as Vicarious Visions, which were recently absorbed into Blizzard after the reported dissolution of the company’s RTS-focussed team.
Plenty to look forward to, then, just be prepared to have to wait a while longer.