Blizzard's Jay Wilson said in a public letter to the community that Diablo 3 fans should expect a launch date announcement from the team in the "near future."
The news arrives in a long post defending the team's outlook on where the game stands in its development cycle, bashing talk that the team is "unsteady" in its outlook. The uncertainty seemingly started with a post by Community Manager Bashiok who told fans to lower their expectations for Diablo 3.
"I too worry that we won't be able to meet the expectations people have built up for themselves," the forum post reads. "Part of my job is managing people's expectations, so... eh... stop it. Stop thinking about how awesome this game could be. Just imagine it's a new M. Night Shyamalan movie. Sure Sixth Sense was amazing and Unbreakable had it's moments, but this right here is the sequel to The Village ... or The Happening ... or Signs ... or any of the movies besides the two I first mentioned. So just like, lower those expectations, but still definitely buy the game please, and everything will be just fine. K?"
But Wilson puts all naysayers in their place, both official and unofficial, reassuring fans that beta testers and the Diablo 3 team feel that the game is in great shape.
"We get a lot of sympathy from the other teams because of the long hours of crunch our design team is putting in, but the secret is that playing through the game as we do final tuning, bug fixes, and optimizations is a real joy. We always know a Blizzard game is almost ready when we have to ask members of the team to stop playing so they can get their work done. That’s definitely been the case around here."
What he doesn't say is that Diablo 3 will be available soon. We already know that won't be the case, as Activision Blizzard recently stated that nothing new will be released in 1Q12. That said, Diablo 3 will likely launch in 2Q12, or rather, sometime between April 1 and June 30, if all goes well, that is.
Still, saying that a launch announcement will be made in the near future is far better than saying Diablo 3 will be done "when it's done." There definitely seems to be a light at the far end of the development tunnel.
"See, I didn’t say 'soon,' so I’m not taunting you," he said. "You’ll know as soon as I know for sure the exact date. We think Diablo 3 is coming along great and we can’t wait for you to get your hands on it. We’re doing all we can to ensure you have one hell of a time once you step foot in Sanctuary."
Diablo 3 recently saw massive changes to the core systems, leading to speculation that the game would be delayed. It was at one time unofficially slated for 1Q12, but is still expected to launch sometime this year along with the second installment to StarCraft 2, Heart of the Swarm, even though a particular quarter hasn't been locked down by the developer.
To read Jay Wilson's full address to the Diablo 3 nation, head here.
Update: A Dutch toy manufacturer claims Diablo 3 will be released on April 19, 2012. Here's the evidence.