Will Diablo 4 be announced at this year’s BlizzCon? An internet “conspiracy theory” seems to indicate that it will. Rumors have been swirling about a sequel to the franchise since BlizzCon 2015.
According to rumors on Reddit, shortly after last year’s BlizzCon, a Diablo community manager publicly stated that at BlizzCon 2016 “Diablo fans are going to lose their ****.”
No evidence can be found of the CM saying this, but shortly after the rumor started, an employee of Blizzard, presumably said community manager, was fired. This was confirmed by a tweet from the employee.
I won't get into the details, but I am now unemployed. It won't stop my Fallout 4 stream tonight, though. Let's get drunk.— Marcus Bishop (@3Stonekegs) November 12, 2015
The comment about Diablo fans losing control of their bowels does not necessarily confirm that Diablo 4 is in production. He could have been referring to a planned expansion of the still-popular Diablo 3. However, in preparation for BlizzCon 2016, Blizzard sent out 20,000 goody bags to reviewers, streamers, and content contributors. These packages are an advance look at what they will be selling to ticket holders at BlizzCon. Sending swag to people who promote games on the lead-up to an event is not something unusual for video game producers. What is unusual is one small item in the package.
Among the contents of the bag was a set of Diablo-themed role-playing dice. The dice are not unusual except for the four-sided die, also called a d4. A correlation between d4 and D4 (Diablo 4) can be drawn, but it may just be coincidental. However, the die had a couple of other traits that made it stand out.
First of all, it was smaller than a normal four-sided die. This does not give a clue to there being a sequel to the RPG mega hit, but it does call attention to itself.
The second feature that was remarkable about the die was that it was misprinted. Unlike all other polyhedral dice, four-sided dice do not have a top side because it is shaped like a pyramid. Therefore, in order to know what number was rolled, each face has to have three numbers printed on it. The number of the roll will be indicated either at the tip of the pyramid or at its base depending on the style of die. In this case, the numbers are at the base. So, if a four is rolled, a four will be shown at the base on all three visible faces.
With the Diablo dice, the numbers are positioned wrong, and they are printed in such a way that on a particular landing of the die, two faces will read one, and one face will read four or 114. This is where the conspiracy theory comes into play.
It is believed that the misprint is an intentional hint from Blizzard that Diablo 4 will be announced at BlizzCon 2016 because the event starts on November 4, 11/4 in the U.S. and 4/11 in the U.K. For some hopeful fans, this is too much evidence to be mere coincidence. The CM comment and subsequent firing, the release of the goody bag on the ramp-up to BlizzCon, the small size of the d4, and the misprinting that shows 114/411, seems too convenient to be an accident. The belief is that Blizzard conspired to plant a clue that they would be announcing D4 at BlizzCon on November 4.
A streamer who goes by the handle Rhykker put out a video explaining the conspiracy theory and his thoughts on it. While Rhykker does not completely debunk the theory, he does explain why he thinks that it could be just coincidental.
One argument he makes uses Occam’s razor. Occam’s razor states that when presented with two explanations, the simplest explanation is usually correct.
“What is the simplest explanation in this case, that Blizzard is masterminding some kind of hint at Diablo 4, or that it’s just a printing error? The simpler explanation is printing error. That doesn’t dismiss the conspiracy theory, but it certainly shoots it in the leg.”
He also uses the cui bono, or “to whose profit,” argument to shoot the theory in the other leg. He contends that Blizzard has nothing to gain by doing this. That printing 20,000 dice in the hopes that someone would notice and figure out the hint, does not benefit them in any way. Rhykker postulates that if nobody figured out the clue then the company would just look foolish.
He does point out that Blizzard has a history of hiding obscure clues, and that there are a slew of new job postings for the company, so they are definitely working on something. However, he goes on to explain that it could just be confirmation bias that is lending credibility to the conspiracy theory. Fans who are craving a new Diablo are using evidence that supports their hopes while disregarding evidence against.
What do you think? Is Blizzard working on Diablo 4 and set to announce it at BlizzCon 2016, or is the conspiracy theory just a case of high hopes? Let us know in the comments below, and then we can see who was right in November.
[Image via Blizzard Entertainment]