Blizzard developers are notoriously unwilling to commit to anything like a “percent complete” when they discuss the development of their games. We could be in the 4th month of the Diablo III beta and if you asked Jay Wilson if the game was more than 50% complete, he’d probably avoid the question. That’s not just a dodge, based on being burned in the past by announced release dates. The devs obviously have an overall sense of their progress, but it’s not one they can easily break down to a percentage, since every part of the game is being worked on at the same time, and nothing is ever set in stone “finished.”
Bashiok explained that concept today in a forum post. Upon which I have bestowed… paragraphs!
Hey Bashiok, where are we in Diablo 3’s development stage right now? What’s being worked on at the moment? Content? Animations? Skills? Or are we just on the stage where everything is being tuned?
Could you also elaborate on what Frank Pearce meant when he was translated into saying, “Diablo 3’s development is technically complete”?
Bashiok: The development process is such that there’s a constant iteration on all parts, so while skills are largely complete there’s still work being done that could mean some are removed or replaced, new ones added, visuals changed, mechanic changes, etc. and that will likely continue until the game releases.
By the same token you could say an Act is playable from start to finish, but by no stretch would we consider it complete until we ship the game. Constant changes will occur until then to make sure it’s as close to perfect as possible.
The majority of the guys and gals, I’d say, are progressing on filling out the content for the game. Which is also the exact stuff we want to be kept under wraps, and thus will never be seen until the game is released and you play the game yourself for the very first time. Which makes talking about what’s currently being developed kind of difficult. We have a few things left in store to share, though.
Bashiok didn’t specifically address the second part of the question, about Frank Pearce’s “technically complete” remark, but Bashiok’s last paragraph more or less sums that up. All the basic components are in, but most of them need a lot more polishing to improve their quality to a releasable state.