New versions of two popular video game franchises - Diablo and Overwatch - were among the key announcements at BlizzCon, the annual gaming convention by famed developer Blizzard Entertainment, held last weekend in Anaheim, California.
Blizzard unveiled Diablo IV, the fourth generation of its genre-defining action role-playing game (RPG), and Overwatch 2, the second version of its team-based multiplayer first-person shooter.
Here's everything we know about the two games.
The game takes place decades after the events of Diablo III. Humanity and heaven itself have suffered great losses, with heaven forced to close its gates. Mankind has been shut out and left on their own.
This particular slice of hopelessness happens right when Lilith makes her triumphant return. She is Mephisto's daughter and represents a link to an even greater threat, suggesting that she's a mere stepping stone to a bigger antagonist.
On the gameplay side, Diablo IV remains a classic isometric hack-and-slash action-RPG - a genre that the original game defined - and features an incredibly grim, non-linear campaign. The game will contain a shared open world with five distinct regions, along with a weather and a day/night cycle. As usual, this open world will be littered with hundreds of dungeons and legendaries to find and loot.
The five regions have unique biomes and geological features, with social hubs like villages and towns where players can meet each other and receive quests. Diablo IV can be completed without ever engaging with social abilities, and players can always go to the new player-versus-player (PvP) zones if they don't like making friends.
Dungeons are still randomised, and exterior dungeons are randomised as well. They're incredibly dark, keeping players on their toes. Players will still be able to go to hell - but we didn't get a close look at that.
Three classes were revealed for the game - Sorceress, Barbarian and Druid - but there will be five classes in total at launch. The Barbarian will arrive with the Arsenal System, featuring four weapon slots and allowing players to use one-handed and two-handed weapons in the same build.
Items can be assigned to each skill slot, and the Barbarians will automatically pull out the weapon they need depending on what skill players use. On the Druid side of things, the developers have replaced fire magic with storm and earth magic, stating that fire magic didn't feel very in-tune with nature.
Customisation is a bigger thing in Diablo IV than it's ever been in the series, with the game allowing players to fully customise their characters. Hair, skin, scars, jewellery, tattoos and more can all be customised, along with the usual talent trees and skill ranks.
Diablo IV will be released on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but there is no confirmed release date.
There is a new Push PvP mode in Overwatch 2. It is a new addition to the list of core game modes. This means that it will be permanently featured on the Quick Play and Competitive menus alongside standard ones like Payload.
Basically, in Push, players start from opposite ends of a symmetrical map, making their way towards a large robot located at the centre. From there, they will have to escort the robot and the barricade marker to the opponent's side of the map. Whoever gets their marker further into enemy territory by the end of the timer wins.
In addition, there are all-new player-versus-environment (PvE) story and hero missions. The story missions allow players to take control as one of four heroes in Overwatch to complete certain objectives.
The hero missions will supposedly form the bulk of Overwatch 2's PvE replayable missions. They are divided by location, such as Route 66 and the new Rio De Janeiro.
The other big piece of PvE content has to do with the introduction of the levelling and talent system. As players play with the various heroes, they will gain experience and level up. After achieving a certain level, they will unlock new abilities, or Talents, which they can equip to suit their own unique play style.
Like Diablo IV, there are no confirmed release date for Overwatch 2. But it will be available on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
• This content first appeared on hardwarezone.com.sg.