Looks like we will have to wait until at least 2023 to play Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2.
That's according to Activision Blizzard which stated as much during its Q3 2021 call to investors last night.
Speaking on the call, Activision president and COO Daniel Alegre said Blizzard was now planning a "later launch" for both games than "originally envisaged." That said, Blizzard has "a substantial amount of content" slated for next year, likely from World of Warcraft, Overwatch and its other titles.
Adding a bit of color, CEO Bobby Kotick stated that staff departures, voluntary and otherwise, partially contributed to the delays and cited "turnover" and "increased competition in the market” for the company’s talent as partly offsetting its success in hiring.
Kotick also attributed the delays to working with new leadership at Blizzard and within the franchises themselves, particularly in certain key creative roles. He stated with the new leadership, it became apparent that some of the Blizzard content planned for next year would “benefit from more development time to reach its full potential."
The new leadership at Blizzard Kotick referenced pertains to Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra who were appointed co-leaders of Blizzard after J. Allen Brack left his role as president.
Now, the studio has lost one of the new co-leaders as Jen Oneal announced yesterday she was leaving the company.
Until Oneal leaves at the end of the year, her time will be spent working closely with Activision Blizzard and Women in Games International, of which she is a board member, to determine how a $1 million grant being donated to the non-profit by the company will be utilized.
With Blizzard’s responsibilities transitioning over to Ybarra, the head of Blizzard said on the investors call that the extra time being allotted to Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2 will give the studio time to "significantly" increase the size of the development teams ahead of release.
"We have new leadership on both Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4, and both are seasoned Blizzard developers with over 30 years experience at the company between them," said Ybarra. "The teams have made great progress and passed important milestones recently, and we expect these to be fantastic releases. But there's obviously been a change in leadership.
"This extra time will also help us ensure we are following up the releases with substantial content to continue to delight the community. We're not sharing release dates at this time, but I have absolute confidence in these new leaders and their teams to deliver. They care deeply about creating high-quality products and allowing everyone on their teams to bring their best selves to their projects."
Both delays will also allow the current teams "more time to enable both great experiences at launch and also help ensure that everything will be in place to engage the communities for many years to come," said Ybarra.
Diablo 4 was announced in November 2019 at BlizzCon, as was Overwatch 2.
Since its announcement, Blizzard has shared development updates on Diablo 4 but has said and shown little when it comes to Overwatch 2. Last we heard, Bastion and Sombra will undergo some changesin the sequel, and before that, we were given a look at PvP gameplay and heard the news that a future beta is planned.
The delays are just the latest in a string of Activision Blizzard news in the wake of reports the company fostered a toxic culture. These allegations came to light due to a lawsuit brought on by the state of California over bullying, harassment, and sexism in the workplace.
To combat future issues at the company, Actvision has plans to take on workplace abuse and improve its hiring practices.