No Diablo III MMO or Cross-Platform Play Planned

Lead designer Kevin Martens discusses why neither will happen

Diablo III Developer - Kevin Martens
BlizzCon 2014 may be done, but there is plenty of info to review from the Diablo III developers. Two interviews with Diablo III lead content designer Kevin Martens at BlizzCon looked at various ideas that will not be arriving for Diablo III. Those include cross-platform play across console and PC versions of the game, and the notion of Diablo as an MMO.

In an interview with GameSpot, Martens discussed delved into console Ultimate Evil Edition bonuses and limitations, compared to Diablo III on the PC.
In regards to cross-platform play, Diablo III Lead Designer Kevin Martens told GameSpot that it's "definitely not possible at this point with this game. We didn't build it that way, so the two ecosystems are closed. I'm trying to give you the most definitive, least PR answer there is, and that is no, we can't do that. What the Xbox and PlayStation networks do is different than what does."

The console ecosystem, Martens explained, also prevents Blizzard from giving Xbox One and PlayStation 4 players Seasons, a new feature introduced on PC in Patch 2.1, which lets players level up a character during a limited time to win special rewards. "Seasons requires always online, and that's one of the major differences in the ecosystems there," Martens said. "For seasonal conquests and things to be what they are, everyone has to be playing on the same leveled field. That's a great example for something that doesn't work for consoles."

In a longer chat with Kotaku, Martens talked about the evolving view of Diablo III among the developers. The idea of Diablo as an MMO was raised years ago, but by this point Blizzard does not see that as a possibility.
Speaking during an interview at BlizzCon, lead content designer Kevin Martens told me that while Blizzard definitely used to have its sights set on a full-blown Diablo MMO (quite transparently, I might add; hello auction house and online requirement), the series is now on a highway to a different hell. Blizzard is a very different company these days, with an increasing focus on a small army of smaller games.

"There's no discussion about a Diablo MMO anymore," Martens said. "It was a really interesting idea back when we were into it, but I think Diablo has a really strong fantasy on its own. Having a thousand people playing it with you on a server doesn't dramatically increase it. We've learned to love the smaller, more focused party experience of four people. And some people are like, 'Why don't you do five?' I mean, we could, but kinda built the game around four people in mind. So the temptation of expanding the social circle has fallen by the wayside as we learned more about what we enjoy about Diablo."

"I think us honing what we have now is way more tempting than trying to rethink [the formula]," Martens added. "We're happy with where the game is at, with the understanding that no designer is ever truly happy with a game. We like the direction we've chosen for this. It's way over the top. Those four people probably do as much damage as any thousand people in any MMO. They're lords of destruction."
The interview also has thoughts from Martens about the gameplay of Diablo in the gaming marketplace at large, with similar concepts being in games as varied as Destiny and Rogue Legacy.
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