Max Schaefer is at Gamescom this year, giving interviews and showing off Torchlight 2, and in a conversation with Gamestar.de he made some comments about Diablo III, including a fairly bold remark about the game’s likely release date. Thanks to Cendaro for the link and for providing a human translation that handily beats the Google bot. Quoting him:
GameStar editor Michael Graf spoke at gamescom 2011 with Max Schaefer, head of Runic Games. The primary topic was the upcoming action roleplaying game Torchlight 2. But Diablo 3 came also up in the interview. After all, Blizzard’s action RPG is at the same time role model and competitor for Torchlight 2. Furthermore, Schaefer was director of Blizzard Entertainment until 2003 before becoming co-founder of Flagship Studios and later taking lead of Runic Games. In his time at Blizzard, Schaefer was involved significantly in the development of the Diablo series. You should know that much and also that Schaefer still has good contacts to Blizzard when he is saying: “Diablo 3 won’t be coming in 2011, but in the first quarter of 2012 at the earliest”.
Naturally, Schaefer does not reveal if there is a direct source for this information. Nevertheless, the industry veteran feels confident that a release of the action role playing game within the year is not possible. Schaefer does not believe that Blizzard can finish the beta test and the evaluation until christmas. Furthermore, there is no official release date for Diablo 3. In that respect, Blizzard has always held off. But lately the end of 2011 has been seen as a quite safe period of time.
Max is never shy about stating his mind, to the point that his recent interview replies to us, about the D3 AH and DRM, surprised me in their nontroversial nature. I wonder why he’s speaking about D3’s release date in this way, though? Do you guys think he knows something inside? Is he just making an estimate based on his knowledge of game dev at Blizzard? Is he stirring up controversy for publicity? Or did Max laughingly say something like, “Blizzard’s always late. Next year for sure for D3.” and the Gamestar.de guy put a lot more weight on that than Max intended?