Diablo III’s “development is technically completed”

In puzzling and potentially exciting news, Mike Morhaime and Frank Pearce recently commented on Diablo III’s progress, and said that the “development is technically completed,” with only internal testing and feedback left to work on.  The interview was posted by Liberation.fr, and the Google translation of the question is basically gibberish, so if anyone can give us a better translation in comments, please do.

Here’s the quote and thanks to svidikus for the tip. Better translation! Starwind covers the whole intro in the forums, and here’s what DooMeer added in comments.

I?m French and I think the translation is not fully accurate. I think ?Le d?veloppement est techniquement achev?.? would better translate to ?Technical development is done? or something. I think that he refers to the core engine of the game being finished, and now the team can focus on contents and polish and game rules. In English, if I?m not mistaken, ?technically? means something totally different.

To sum up, we learn nothing new here.

It is also quite ambiguous in French though. In particular the following sentence, ?Nous sommes en phase de testing interne et de recensement de feedback.? translates to something like ?we are currently testing the game internally and gathering feedback?, and would imply that the game *is* done. Which contradicts my above alternative translation.

We need the original quote. Moreover, please take into account that Liberation is by no means a video game newspaper. They will not be as careful as incgamers about the contents of the interview and I?m quite sure that much has been lost in translation from English to French.

So what does this mean? At first read this seems to contradict much of what we’ve been told. The male Demon Hunter was not ready to reveal as of late January, lots of rune effects were still rough drafts as of late February, the Demon Hunter’s dual resource is still more concept than final product, etc.

What I think Pearce or Morhaime (it’s not clear who was quoted) meant was something like, “All the content is in Diablo 3, but we still need to refine it.” Which would be analogous to a movie director saying, “We’ve finished all the filming!” after the camera shooting is done, which sounds great until you remember that editing and special effects and other post production takes much longer than the filming did in the first place.

So the D3 Team has all the story and quests and skills and monsters and NPCs and the major elements finished, to at least rough draft form. They’re not going to suddenly add another act, they don’t need to invent 10 more Demon Hunter skills, etc. But that doesn’t mean they’re anywhere near finished with the project, since it’s all the balancing and iteration and fine-tuning that makes Blizzard games such polished final products. (Well, as polished as any commercial software release, which is a very relative measurement.)

Still, it’s good to hear that they’ve progressed to at least this point and are still aiming furiously at 4Q 2011 for a release… isn’t it?


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