The cemetery behind Blizzard's headquarters is probably dotted with tombstones of various ideas and prototypes that we will never get to know. They're the ones that didn't go beyond the design documentation phase, or a few conversations with the boss. With hundreds of creative minds vibing in the studio, all this steam must finally find an outlet somewhere.
I'm quite sure that the Blizzard team considered creatively developing the world of Sanctuary more than once. Why was Diablo Immor(t)al selected in the end? The only response is a sound resembling the screams of parents whose credit cards have lost large sums of money. And yet, the world of Sanctuary could easily accommodate all kinds of stories, as well as implementation of different forms of gameplay. Activision's accountants must do the profit/loss prognosis, but we do not. So, here's a chance to let the imagination run wild and see what else could be brought into the world of Sanctuary, and why its inhabitants do not live by hunting Diablo alone.
Prequels, sequels, completely unrelated stories connected only by being set in the same universe – all the moves are allowed here. Blizzard has created an intriguing mythology, a dark world governed by brutal laws, and the clash of hell and heaven turns out to be a fantastic backdrop for human dramas and tragedies, for a story in which a person ends up in a seemingly hopeless situation. Man – or entire kingdoms.
Let us know what ideas you have.
Such a project just might happen. I wrote about it once after the first delight with the Dark Souls series, so today – for the curious – same story in a nutshell. Souls, Bloodborne, Sekiro and recently Elden Ring are games that use the "high concept." This means that all aspects (story, gameplay, graphics, music) blend together to evoke specific reactions, effects and emotions in the player. It is not only a severe ass-kicking served in a way that at once hurts and brings satisfaction, but also a carrier of bitter stories that can cut to the bone.
Someone at Blizzard might think about throwing down the gauntlet at FromSoftware – and honestly, if anyone had the resources to create something to equal the phenomenon, it would be Blizzard (if they really wanted to, and Activision's corporate was hidden in a closet). A reason and an interesting story motivating the bitter, desperate crusade and slashing monsters in a soulslike fashion can always be found in Sanctuary! If anyone has the dough to get the feeling and pace of the combat right, guaranteeing satisfaction comparable to souls – it's only Blizzard (although in my book, Heroes of the Storm lost to LoL for one reason only – the sense of "power" generated by the blows and skills of the character; but that's a different matter altogether).
Behind the Sanctuary, there's an intriguing mythology combining Christian and Middle Eastern motifs, where the struggle between good and evil turns out to be a closed circuit, in the middle of which we, as the poor everymen, are stuck. If the writers didn't just went all-out Marvel like they did with Diablo 3, an intriguing story would be guaranteed, maybe told more directly than in Dark Souls. I'm also sure Blizzard would have some interesting ideas for a fun, intuitive co-op mode. And multiplayer has always been important in both Diablo and Dark Souls.