Blizzard plans to released paid expansions for Diablo 4 on an annual basis, Diablo franchise general manager Rod Fergusson has confirmed in a new interview.
Asked by Dexerto about Blizzard’s plans for the future of the game as a live service, Fergusson said, “When you look at the launch of the game and this first season, we see that as building a foundation on which we can build for the future. So, as we look at our quarterly seasons, and we look at our annual expansions, those are the things that we’re really focused on for our live service.”
Blizzard has been clear from the start that it planned to support Diablo 4 with paid expansions that would advance its main storyline (as opposed to the side-stories that feature in the seasonal updates). And Fergusson hinted that the development team was targeting an aggressive release schedule when he mentioned that it was already working on two expansions.
“We build things in parallel,” Fergusson told Kinda Funny Games at the time of the game’s launch in June. “Right now, as I sit here, we’re about to launch the main game, we’re finishing up season 1, we’re working on season 2, we’re working on expansion 1, we’re kicking off expansion 2, all that’s happening right now.”
Nevertheless, this is the first suggestion that Blizzard intends to provide a new expansion for Diablo 4 every year. It’s a big step for the series: Diablo 2 and Diablo 3 only got a single full expansion each, though both were acclaimed. Meanwhile, stablemate World of Warcraft gets a very substantial new expansion once every two years.
Blizzard has a different live-service model in mind for Diablo 4, though, and its inspiration is clear: Destiny 2. Bungie’s game is supported by both free seasonal updates and (roughly) annual paid expansions, as well as a cosmetic item shop. Blizzard has seemed to be shadowing Bungie’s strategy for Diablo 4 for a while — with the exception of the seasonal character resets that are specific to this kind of action role-playing game — so Fergusson’s confirmation doesn’t come as a big surprise.
As for what to expect from Diablo 4’s first expansion, a new class seems like a dead cert — my money would be on either Diablo 2’s Paladin or Diablo 3’s Crusader, if not an all-new class — and a confrontation with Lilith’s dad Mephisto is surely in order. Look out for a reveal at November’s BlizzCon ahead of a 2024 release date.