After dominating the video game industry for the entire month of May, Diablo 3 has faded from both popular dialogue and the retail sales charts. People are still playing Blizzard’s dungeon-based loot-fest, and they’re certainly still buying it, but the hoopla surrounding its experimental real money economy and its major retail sales success has tapered off as Blizzard has delayed major new features like player-versus-player modes. Never count out Blizzard, though. That company knows how to keep a game alive well beyond its initial release, and Diablo 3’s next life may well be on game consoles.
“We’re still kind of exploring it,” Blizzard’s chief creative officer Rob Pardo told Polygon on Monday, “We’ve got builds up and running on it. We’re hoping to get it far enough along where we can make it an official project, but we’re not quite ready to release stuff about it, but it’s looking pretty cool.”
“The whole team is essentially working on the next big Diablo thing,” expanded lead designer Jay Wilson. Amongst that work is content to “expand and add onto the game,” including the expansion Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime confirmed to be in the works this past November. It also includes “exploring console options” according to Wilson.
“A lot of that stuff will show up next year at some point,” said Wilson.
Blizzard has been discussing console editions of Diablo 3 for years now, especially during the eighteen months leading up to the game’s actual release in 2012. The studio even demoed it using an Xbox 360 controller. “One of the reasons we’re exploring the idea of a console version of Diablo 3 is because we feel that the controls and the style of the game lend itself to a console,” said Wilson back in September 2011, “With some of our early experiments in putting a direct control scheme into the game via a 360-like analog controller, I’ve said, ‘Oh this feels even better with direct control.’”
Diablo hasn’t graced consoles since Electronic Arts ported the original game to Sony’s PlayStation over a decade ago. Blizzard hasn’t actually released any games on consoles in some time, though the company released a number of games for the Super Nintendo in the early ‘90s, including the fighter Justice League Task Force. Its last console project, StarCraft: Ghost, was announced in 2002 for Gamecube, PlayStation 2, and the original Xbox. Though it was demoed multiple times, the game was bounced between multiple developers, before Blizzard ultimately cancelled it.