Date: September 19, 2022
It really hasn’t been a good week for game developers — only a day after a major GTA 6 leak, Diablo 4 gameplay has been leaked as well. The footage has “Private Test Build” stamped all over it, and judging from the quality, it seems likely that this was being shared via a stream, possibly over Discord. Presumably, the “friend” of whoever was sharing the gameplay recorded and uploaded it. While it’s sure to be taken down soon, it is still available for viewing on YouTube as of 1PM (EST) today.
While it’s too early to draw a lot of conclusions from what is undoubtedly an early version of the game, it does serve to give quite a bit of information on how much Diablo 4 is sticking with the tried-and-true formula of the series. From the leaked footage, it appears the gameplay, UI, and overall aesthetic remain much the same, with the all too familiar twin orbs of health and mana/resource juice flanking the XP bar and the hotbar.
The footage itself follows a Barbarian character with his signature rapid dual-wield attacks and shouts, navigating ruins in search of the entrance into the Zakarum keep. One noteworthy change is the darkness of the footage, which overall is less colorful and bright than its predecessor. Of course, it may be the case that the footage is influenced by the dark environment of the ruins.
The Map view is combined with the Journal interface (with other menu tabs and resources like Renown on display), and we could see what looks like two different main quests under the same Act in the Campaign section. The open world map seems a bit more spread out in general, with less obvious corridors guiding you to the next dungeon, which all goes along with the whole “non-linear” campaign promise we have been given.
Worthy of note is the verticality — the ability to climb up, jump over, and climb down, the feature which we have already seen in some of the trailers, but which definitely contributes to the dungeon exploration, making connections, dead ends, and secret corners appear less obvious on the map.
As always, it’s important to remember that a lot can change between test builds and release! While many fans on social media will certainly draw conclusions about the state of the game from the leaked footage, there’s no way to know how well it will reflect the game as a finished product. Diablo 4 is set to release “sometime in 2023”, according to Blizzard, so we’ll know relatively soon one way or the other.