Notable gaps in Blizzcon’s timetable suggest some major announcements could be preparing to drop.
The schedule for next week’s Blizzcon is full of the usual suspects. Warcraft updates, Overwatch updates, esports and the like are all to be expected. But the main Mythic stage is looking quite sparse, with six 45-minute slots marked across “coming soon” on Friday and Saturday (via VGC).
Alone, that’s not too surprising. There’s no guarantee each of these empty slots is a brand new game – the Mythic stage also plays host to Blizzcon’s cosplay showcase, developer Q&A and update sessions for Warcraft and Overwatch. But long periods of unconfirmed sessions on the main arena following the opening ceremony? That’s enough to lend some weight to existing rumours.
Diablo 4 is the big one. We’ve been hearing speculation on the fourth game in Blizzard’s hellish dungeon crawler for years. Just this week, a German ad for an upcoming art book seemed to all but confirm its announcement. Hell, it came within a devil’s breath of being announced at last year’s Blizzcon.
That’s not the only thing Blizzard might have in hand, though. Another shot at a Starcraft FPS was allegedly canned earlier this year to work on another Overwatch game. Overwatch 2? It’d be a stretch, but there’s a world of room for spin-offs for the competitive shooter.
Then there’s whatever’s happening with World of Warcraft next year. With Battle For Azeroth winding to a close, we’re probably due a look at the MMO giant’s next chapter.
But there’s always room for a shock announcement. Nobody was expecting Overwatch when it arrived in Blizzcon Earlier this year, Blizzard president J. Allen Brack told Forbes that the company has more games in development than ever.
It’ll need some hot announcements, too. It’s been, generously, a tough month for Blizzard, following its harsh punishment of Hearthstone grand champion Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai over his on-air Hong Kong protest. Since then, the studio has banned a collegiate Hearthstone team for similar offence.
It’s enough that US Congress members even had a rare moment of bipartisanship in sending a letter of condemnation to Blizzard.
This year’s Blizzcon will be a moment of truth for Blizzard. Will fan grievance hold up in the face of a shiny new Diablo? Will Blizzard even acknowledge the last month in its annual celebration? We took a deeper look at what to expect from this year’s Blizzcon yesterday.