Max Schaefer Says No Diablo 3 in 2011


DiabloWikiMax 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 DiabloWikirelease 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?

Tagged As: | Categories: Ex-Blizzard, Release Date

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  1. Would you believe a guy who wants to sell as much copies of Torchlight 2 as possible before Diablo 3 hits the shelves? ^^

    And btw: You can take anything that GameStar or PC Games say with a grain of salt. 😉

    • It’s not necessarily about believing here. From what I can see of the facts so far, Blizzard will have to stress a lot to get Diablo 3 out this year. And as we know it, Blizzard will not release a game if the quality is not there. It’s more logical that they delay the release to 2012, than to stress it out before Christmas. Wait and see…

    • It isn’t like what he says will effect anything. I take his criticisms with a grain of salt, but in this case I believe him.

    • Foot, mouth. You know the drill.

  2. Heh, I’m inclined to say it’s publicity but as these comments are archived for all eternity I’m not going to stick my head out with a completely bold statement.  I might end up looking like an ass  😳

  3. seems like a logical statement.
     
    SC2 Beta was started in early February and then the official release was announced on May 4th. Given that time frame, even if the D3 beta is significantly shorter (2 or 3 mionths) it still won’t be ready for the 4th quarter this year, which starts in 1 month, and ends in a little over 4 months.

  4. I hope this clown is wrong in every way. Blizz better squash this before it gets out of hand. Still though, Torchlight is fun, really scratches the itch, but the health potion spamming is a real pain. Diablo 3 all the way!

    • If you need to spam pots in Torchlight, you’re doing something wrong. TL is such an easy game, you’ll only need potions in the last levels.

      • I find this hard to believe if you’re playing on highest difficulty. I haven’t played it that much (only beat the game once on hardest setting) so maybe I didn’t get experienced enough but I was dying and taking massive (what felt like unavoidable) damage left and right in the last few levels ^^”. And I’ve been playing D2 hardcore for years so I’m not a total noob…

  5. Either he has a source that confirms what he says, or hes speculating. If its sourced info, then well that’s that.
    Personally I have to agree with this info even if its just speculation, I just can’t see them finishing a beta, wrapping up loose ends, shipping, and accounting for inevitable server issue bombardment in the following weeks on or around Christmas. I see it more likely they will shine everything up before people all take their Christmas vacations, then following this they will prepare to ship for the next month, giving a February release.

    • I still think the heavy pressure is on for this year.  Jay has stated several times that different functions could be patched in after release; something that I have never heard from Bliz before (though, I did not follow SC2 development closely).

    • Maybe it’s the D3Here guy giving him info?  😉

    • Well, they did release WoW: Cataclysm on December 7th 2010, or or two weeks before big vacation in Blizzard, so maybe they could do it. But, Cataclysm did already had all the infrastructure, servers and testing from previous expansions, while D3 is starting from scracth. And Diablo´s servers should be significantly more populated then WoW servers. But at the same time, Diablo 3 should be much easier to run then WoW. In WoW they have to keep the whole world running at the same time, while in D3 there will be individual games populated by up to 4 people in PvM, and I think up to 10 in PvP (5v5). So, right now there are simply too many unknowns to be able to properly judge can Blizzard ship Diablo before big vacation period in the company.

  6. I refuse to believe anything unless it comes out of Blizzards Mouth (and even THEY don’t always know). I still strongly believe we will have this game by this holiday. Just you wait.. 🙂

  7. I don’t see why they can’t get this out 2011. Blizz has a solid infrastructure, they aren’t exactly new at this. They are running wow without any problems and Starcraft 2. So why would they have to fool around with servers? They shouldn’t, if they aren’t pros at it by now then they never will be.

    • the only thing that could possibly hold them up is the RMAH
      I’m sure their legal and technical teams have researched it, but there must be so many local laws and security issues they have to deal with

  8. Blizzard said that the beta is a quick hardware-only test, which means that the software is more or less finished. There will be loads of patches and changes after the release anyway, so there’s actually no reason why they shouldn’t get Diablo 3 out by the first week of December. I also bet that there’s a good portion of the staff working over the holidays.
    Also: They plan to release the WoW patch 4.3 incl. expansion endboss Deathwing by November. That they bring the big baddie this early tells me that they want to have a very interesting WoW patch out during the time Diablo 3 hits the shelves (-> inhouse-competition). The Deathwing raid guarantees that the subscribers keep playing WoW when Diablo is out.

  9. Hi,
    i’m from germany and i’m kind of stalking all the d3 news i can get from various sources. The point that makes me feel quite unsure about this news is, that gamestar was and is kind of the “best” pc games magazine in germany but just because they had good contacts in the past which isn’t the case anymore but some of them still exist. in the past they were really really good but some of the best authors and reporters have gone to found their own magazines or doing something else in the gaming industry.now they do it on a casual level and i have my problems with their way of talking about some games in a very very casual way. they do criticize some aspects in games based on their lack of playing skills.
    on the gamestar page i’ve read this article two days ago and there were a number of interesting comments on it. there was one who said something about “spreading bad publicity” which meant that max schaefer was just saying that to promote torchlight 2 and kind of hopes to get the people to buy his game to spend time waiting for d3 to release.
    i don’t know how good his insider knowledge is and how much truth we can find in his comment but i think that he wants to force a statement of blizzard, which they will not give and he knows that. so he is spreading some doubts in the d3 buyers to get some of them to actually buy torchlight 2 to “enjoy” playing it while waiting. because when d3 is out nobody will play torchlight 2.
    thats my opinion but i really don’t know if i’m right, i think that d3 is nearly finished and they just use the beta to test the server capacities. hopefully 😀

  10. I think Max has always been honest with his statements and pretty much he has been spot on. He also knows  from experience like the rest of us knows that Blizzard does not rush anything even if the fans cry foul. Didn’t Rob Pardo even say it will be really tough to release Diablo 3 in 2011 ?

  11. There was a news post on here a while ago about one of the Runic guys criticising Blizzard, and others, for taking too long with games and saying how they have a much faster turnover (even though Blizzard write a new, crossplatform, engine for each game and Runic uses a premade one) and saying that Torchlight 3 would be out before Diablo 3? And now Runic have delayed Torchlight 2. Will it even be out before Diablo 3?

  12. I like Max and Torchlight, but he doesn’t know anything more than we do.  I believe his statement is one part publicity and one part his own experience from working at Blizzard.  We all know that Blizzard is a much different company post WoW and post Activision, so his theories are unfounded.

    I have no inside information, but my opinion is that there is very little chance that Blizzard will miss the 2011 window for release.  The economy is really bad and companies need all the good news they can get to bolster stock prices, and if Blizzard slips even a few months it could affect their stock price.  Consider that WoW subs are slipping too and you can see that Blizzard needs this release in a big way.  You couple all this with the fact that a lot of family budgets are tight and they will want to ride the holiday shopping season, it only makes sense that D3 hits this year.

    Time will tell and we are all just speculating (which is a lot of fun), but the bigger picture leans heavily on a 2011 release, no matter how you slice this.

  13. I actually agree with Max… but judging the source, should we really believe someone that has let Torchlight 2’s release date slip so dangerously far?  His game went from a “solid” 2011 release to being delayed numerous times.  I suppose some Blizzard habits die hard 🙂

  14. I think that Diablo 3 releasing this year is still possible, personally.   The beta test is focused on hardware – which is already an interesting thing since a lot of the testing can be done without ever needing actual players, coupled with the fact that Blizzard has got to have some of the best minds on hand for server hardware (given that they do after all keep the world’s most successful MMO operating and many features will likely be carried over from SC2).  Testing is always a good idea but I feel like Blizzard is fairly confident about the results before they ever get them.
     
    Now on the other hand, they have already given out many beta keys (Blizzcon keys), held contests based around getting into the beta (like the naming items twitter contest), have fan and investor expectations to live up to, and have, in some ways, obligated themselves to having a beta. Also, given the fact that the beta is really going to be nothing more than a demo, it is probably safe to say that Blizzard will have their test results fairly early in the beta. In essence, the beta is more for show than gathering raw data this time around.
     
    That’s my 2 cents. After listening to everything I just don’t think of this as a typical Blizzard beta where they are looking for a lot of involved feedback – they’ll want that for sure, and take it if they get it, but it’s not their prime directive. If you start listening instead of “hearing” then you’ll come to a similar conclusions I’d like to think: this is more of a demo than a beta and that’s actually kind of good for us in terms of a release because it means that the beta won’t really get in the way of the game’s release.

  15. if anything delays D3 t will be the RMAH
    the legal and technical aspects must be tremendous (I know very little about the RMAH is supposed to work, but I’m sure some politician somewhere is going to want me to pay city and state sales tax on items I buy)
    I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it releases without the RMAH and that is added in later

    • Nah, Blizzard already sells plenty of virtual items for WoW, so they know the particulars on how to handle this business.  Microsoft and others have virtual currency systems on their gaming networks, so this is also a well established business model for their Blizzard e-account.  The only thing that is outside the norm is money moving from one player to another player and Blizzard has chosen to let a third party handle that side of things, so it will not be any different than selling an item on Ebay honestly (with the obvious exception that it’s a virtual item).

      If they had any doubts or questions about this service they never would have made a public announcement about this.

  16. People seem to forget that Diablo 3 has been in beta since May.  Just because it’s an internal only beta doesn’t make it less of one.

    The public portion of the beta is going to be short and as we all know mainly to test it on a wider and messier install base.

    I have my hopes up for a 12/13/11 release.

    • If it’s internal only, it’s generally considered an alpha, not a beta.

      • Based on your comment, you know nothing of QA testing.

        Internal testing doesn’t stop until the game goes Gold…and even then it could keep going although the QA team will probably be reduced. 

        Typically the milestone to reach the alpha stage is to just have a functional skeleton of a game.  Based on what we have seen of D3 the game has long passed the alpha stage and into beta.  The milestone to hit beta is normally to have all major features implemented in the game.  Maybe not working correctly, but they will be present.

  17. I’m starting to lose the respect I had for schaefer being Vice president of Blizzard North and executive producer of Diablo II, Iv’e never liked what he has done with Torchlight and Torchlight 2, I didn’t really care because it would fail no matter how many idea’s of his own and idea’s of Diablo 3 he tried to steal and incorporate into his own game would still fail.
    He should just keep his opinions on diablo 3 ( trying to exploit AH / Real-money trading) now there possible delay in release date, all he is doing is trying to make the Diablo 3 team look bad and try to get people to buy Torchlight 2 (especially if Diablo 3 does end up being 2012) He desperately want’s that so he has more time for Torchlight 2 to have more time to sell before it’s inevitable doom once diablo 3 releases, we all know torchlight will sink to nothingness once that date arrives
     
    I still personally think it’s extremely likely for a december 2011 release date

    • can we stop with the nonsense of Schaefer and Runic stealing D3’s ideas ?

      its pretty obvious who copied who
      even Flux noticed Blizzard copied The Demon Hunter’s Resource bulb from Runic
      http://diablo.incgamers.com/forums/showthread.php?p=7966018&highlight=bulb#post7966018

      blizzard even stole the idea for Seismic Slam from Titan Quest

      they just updated the graphics a little
      Titan Quest – video uploaded  Jul 7, 2006
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QA9_s8Lgceo&t=0m34s

      Diablo 3 Barbarian Seismic Slam Skill
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-lSl6VCgC0&t=0m11s

      but of course what actually happened is that nobody stole from anybody

      there are only so many ways to draw a resource bulb and only so many ways to have a melee slamming skill

      its just the nature of the genre

      and there is nothing wrong with Max Schaefer or Runic pointing out the differences between TL2 and D3 (that TL 2 will have modding and offline play)

      Max did say he understood with the decision to have online only considering the security needs of the RMAH

      and it is really ridiculous for people on here to talk about the “inevitable doom” of other games

      do you really believe that the makers of Path of Exile, the makers of Grim Dawn, the makers of TL2 should all just stop  ?
      stop and quit ?
      and go get a job doing something else ?

      is it really that difficult to understand that other people may have different tastes than you ?

      is it really that difficult that to comprehend that people can buy and play more than one game at a time ?

      I think its great TL2 will have modding, I also think its great D3 will have PvP arenas (something TL2 won’t have)
       
      I can’t wait for D3 to come out, but I also look forward to Guild Wars 2 and Grim Dawn and TL2 and I know I will occasionally jump back into Warhammer Online for some good PvP

      whether you believe it or not, the world of gaming dos not revolve around D3

    • I also think, that it´s unproffesional to say something like that, even if it´s a joke or not, because he is trying to manipulate people into believing, that they are more reliable and that they litsen to people and bla bla. However when it comes down to the techical side of things, then the reality is, that Torchlight 1+2, look like cheap diablo knockoffs mixed with japanese manga fantasy. Sure he was once a part of Blizzard north, but that was then, and the product so far looks nowhere near Diablo3, and he also knows it, which is why he is saying what he is.

  18. Max is sometimes political (especially when it comes to his work), sometimes honest (especially when it comes to others’ work). I believe he is honest this time.

  19. Max doesn’t know jack shit, he hasn’t worked for Blizz in years. Companies change a lot over time. I bet Jay hears wind of this and it just drives him and his team to get this project done.

    • @Sandwichbull I totally agree with you that this will stir the pot and rev those devs into some serious crunch time. Yes let’s let an ex-blizzard employee dictate our release date…. Plus I overheard on theTWSK podcast that the game is 100% done and they’re just tweaking the specs. Last thing to mention as well would be the blank rune system that Jay Wilson talked about at the press conference, he said they were looking into trying this, and if it didn’t work it wouldn’t be a big deal and won’t go on launch. They wouldn’t be messing with a system that wouldn’t matter if it was at launch or not so close their beta window.

  20. Max wants to sell his game, and such a proclamation could do nothing but help gain him and TL2 some publicity.

    Of course, I don’t think he’s wrong. I imagine we’ll see its release around Valentine’s Day. Beta beginning around September 9, concluding mid-December, goes gold in late January.

    • Very unlikely. WoW patch 4.3 incl. expansion endboss Deathwing goes live around mid November 2011, and while the WoW subscribers are still busy with the Deathwing raid and all the other fancy new stuff (transmogrification, void storage) they will release Diablo 3, which – along with SWTOR by the end of 2011 – is WoW’s biggest competitor. If they would wait until January/February/March 2012 with the Diablo release, it would be devastating for WoW and its subscriptions because Deathwing is dead by that time, WoW patch 4.3 is getting cold again and SWTOR is out. Even if they would then launch a patch 4.4 beta then, it wouldn’t be strong enough to keep the subscribers playing WoW. From a business standpoint it would only make sense to launch Diablo 3 at a time when WoW patch 4.3 is still hot and SWTOR comes out. This should keep STWOR good at bay.

      • This is one of the bigger stretch arguments I’ve seen on the interwebs, but it’s pretty creative, so tip of the hat to you, sir.

    • a release on Valentine’s Day would be so funny
      Feb 14
      wife and/or girlfriend : “I can’t wait to see what you have planned for this evening. I know it will be so special. I’ve been looking forward to it all year.”
      man : “I know ! I’ve been waiting all year too! D3 is finally coming out !”

      • February 14th 2012 would be closer to four years since the announcement of D3, but thats just nit-picking. But yes, demonic blood and gore for Valentine´s would be epic. ´sides you can always buy your wife/girlfriend some legendary amulet or ring on RMAH.

  21. Funny guys telling that Blizzard stole ideas. Seismic slam is like a no brainer meele skill. Torchlight stole most of the effects, skills. Also loot generation for the person. Does anyone have the very first Torchlight trailer? There are many funny stolen things in there.

    • It is even more funny how you do not read the post you are bashing, and are actually trying to prove a point-of-view that is precisely that was said, not, to be the case.
      Reading does wonders for a forum, since it is equally as much about reading, as typing.

      With great output, comes even greater input, young padawan 😉

  22. Anything from Blizz on this yet??

  23. I don’t think Max knows anymore than us. He is just making a guess when he says D3 will not be done in 2011. Still, I think that is a good guess. I’d say the same.

  24. After some of his comments i believe we won’t see Schaefer’s Hammer in Diablo 3.
    I don’t understand why he has to comment on a project he isn’t involved with. What’s his point ?

  25. By the way, here is the Max Schaefer “Torchlight 2” interview by gamona.de:
    http://www.gamona.de/video,1975865

  26. It might be true but I don’t think he has any special insight. A year ago:
    Runic Games CEO Max Schaefer respectfully believes that a third Torchlight game could be out before Blizzard’s Diablo 3

    http://www.joystiq.com/2010/08/24/torchlight-3-out-before-diablo-3-runic-ceo-hypothesizes/

  27. While it’s obviously in his own game’s interest to downplay and ‘delay’ D3 as much as possible, what he says does have merit. But unofficially I think we can all arrive at the same guess as him. A 2011 release looks very unlikely at this point unless Blizzard has it all strictly planned out day to day from now on, nothing goes wrong, everything is perfect, and yet they still work overtime to complete it in time. What are the chances of all that working out? It could happen but very unlikely. And we’re not even factoring in Blizzard’s creative genius for coming up with delays :P.

  28. I think that this hardware beta test is not a big deal. They have loads of code and experience with all kinds of hardware playing together with Battle.net, WoW and StarCraft II. It is a separate layer where Diablo and the other games run on. The last question that has still to be answered is: Does it all fit for Diablo 3, too? This should all be solved by November, if not earlier.

  29. i think no one really knows how far the development really is because at gamescom we just had the chance to play the blizzcon 2010 version, so they !might! have everything finished and just sit back and relax watching the server temperatures and drinking some beer talking about porn and all the crazy stuff 😉

  30. Ehhh…why would I believe the words of a man whose project is in direct competition with D3?  That’s like believing an EA spokesman who says the Call of Duty franchise is all washed up.  (Funny enough, something like that has been going on)

    I liked Torchlight and look forward to Torchlight 2…but let’s be real here.  Torchlight 2’s sales will suffer greatly if it doesn’t get a significant head start on D3.  I’m sure it will have its own core fanbase but it would sell far more copies as a sort of “hold-over” game for us Diablo fanatics vs being in direct competition to Blizzard’s title.  Runic will be lucky to have my money if their game comes out too close to D3’s launch.

    So I view this as a PR stunt and nothing more.  He’s just stirring the pot.  Also, after the disaster that was Hellgate, I don’t quite trust Schaefer’s opinions and business sense as I once did.

    As far as speculating D3 release date…a public beta is a good sign that the title is well on its way to gold.  If its emphasis is on hardware as opposed to server stability that’s even better.  That means they probably have all major general bugs ironed out and are looking for more hardware-specific issues.  In this regard it is reasonable to say that D3 could be out by the end of this year.

    Of course a “good” sign is not an absolute one.  A major issue could very well arise from the public beta, like loss of textures when the game is played on Windows 7 machine using graphics card X and cpu Y.  But if I were to put money on it, I would say Dec.

  31. This, however, can be excused in light of the breadth of the work’s ambition. Like Peace, Schaefer pushes through the obviousness’s of Britain’s late-twentieth century history to get to something considerably more unnerving, a crackle of half-decoded political resonances which remain, invisibly, instrumental in our experience of the present.
    online computer store
     

  32. Max Schaefer was one of the 3 creators of the Diablo games, and an executive producer on Diablo I, Diablo II, and the Diablo 2 expansion. One of the “big 4” he left Blizzard North in 2005 and shortly thereafter was one of the co-founders of Flagship Studios. There Max helped with the early design and art work on Hellgate: London, before becoming the chief liaison to Flagship North and their project, Mythos.

    digital photo frame

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