Diablo IV - Diablo IV was officially announced during BlizzCon 2019.
Diablo IV - Diablo IV was officially announced during BlizzCon 2019. Blizzard Entertainment

The open-world nature of the newest installment in the "Diablo" series required developers to rework legendary items for the new exploration system.

Unlike previous titles, "Diablo 4" is constructed as an open-world game and allows players to explore Sanctuary with a world scaling mechanism in place to allow lower-level players to explore higher leveled areas without fear.

This switch to open-world gameplay required more than just one change in "Diablo 4" in order to make the game playable.

Game Director Joe Shely and General Manager Rod Fergusson sat down with IGN to explain these changes.

A few more details were touched on in a recent Developer Update featuring three "Diablo" developers that included information about the two battle passes available in "Diablo 4" for players to take advantage of. There was also more information about how the gameplay would work, including details about how fan-favorite legendary items will translate into this fourth installment. While Kanai's Cube was a new addition to the series with "Diablo 3," it was still based on the Horardic Cube from the first two games.

Blizzard decided to take that system one step further with "Diablo 4" by untethering legendary abilities from legendary items with the Codex of Power. There isn't a lot of detail on just how the Codex will function other than it's the newest version of Kanai's Cube and the Horardric Cube from previous games. The Codex of Power is, as the name suggests, a catalog of Legendary Aspects that players will be able to choose from and then imbue into equipment.

These Legendary Aspects can be unlocked once players have completed certain dungeon runs for the first time. The developers didn't give any insight into what dungeons these were but did state that Nightmare Dungeons would be taking the place of the Greater Rifts that were introduced in "Reaper of Souls" expansion for the third installment.

Another fact about the Codex of Power that might excite players is that playstyles can be changed. Players will be able to focus on specific abilities instead of leaving things up to change, like how it was set up in "Diablo 3" and players would end up with abilities that were useless for their playing style. Players will also have the chance to switch out their Legendary Aspects and place them on other characters later on.

Associate Game Director Joseph Piepiora wanted to talk about the Codex of Power in a Blizzard blog, but the feature hadn't been ready for revealing.

He explained that "every one of these dungeons that players progress through in the overworld has a unique legendary power be the aspect found inside of them" and that they were "excited" by this new addition to the game series.

"Diablo 4" releases on June 6, 2023, for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

Preorders are currently available and there will be a public beta available.