Diablo III could be set for an early February release after North American retailer advertises midnight launch. Joystiq reported the original story based on a photo of a promo board stating that Blizzard’s upcoming dungeon crawler will see a February 1st release.
The month of February seems to be as good as any when it comes to the release of Diablo III, especially considering that its creator Blizzard stated back in September that the game would see an early 2012 release.
It came as only a small shock then when the Rochester, Minnesota Best Buy advertised a February 1st release date, which if true, would give Blizzard just over 3 weeks to put the marketing machine into overdrive. Hardly as much as they would like.
Retailers do have a habit of predicting release dates but few create big ad boards with countdown timers, adding credence to the rumor. Upon first contact an employee at the Best Buy store confirmed that a midnight launch event would take place on February 1st but later the stores general manager revealed that the in-house sign had been taken down due to the fact that Blizzard were “not very firm” with a release date.
Another story doing the rounds to support an early Feb release is that of online UK retailer Gameplay setting a Friday 3rd release date. Whilst here in the UK we see most of our games released on a Friday, Blizzard games historically ignore this tradition with titles launching at the same time on both sides of the Atlantic divide. This was certainly the case for StarCraft II and World of Warcraft’s Cataclysm which were released July 27th, 2010 and December 7th, 2010 respectively.
To further quash rumors, Blizzard community manager Bashiok had this to say on Twitter “We can’t really keep every individual retail shop from making up a date. Retailers will not know a date until it’s officially announced through a press release” and followed up with “Diablo III does not have a release date. Any store or person claiming otherwise is guessing”
Whilst we would certainly not rule out an early February release, we will not be getting in line and pitching our tents any time soon. Stay tuned to NGB, as soon as we receive the official press release we will post its juicy contents.