Blizzard Entertainment has formally announced plans to release Diablo III, a sequel to one of the top selling computer games of all time.
Blizzard, a unit of France's Vivendi Games, said Saturday that it will simultaneously develop versions of Diablo III for both the Mac and PC platforms, but did not provide an estimated release date. "We intend to take as much time developing Diablo III as is necessary to ensure the game meets our own high expectations and those of our players," the developer said in a statement.
Blizzard also did not release system requirements for the title.
Diablo III is a follow-up to Diablo II, a 2001 fantasy style role-playing game in which players hacked and slashed their way through an onscreen world of foreboding landscapes and dungeons while battling monsters and forming alliances.
In addition to blockbuster sales, Diablo II won industry acclaim and numerous "game of the year" awards.
Diablo III picks up the storyline 20 years later -- after the downfall of Diablo II baddies Mephisto, Baal, and the title character, Diablo. But a shield called the Worldstone, which protected the world from the forces of heaven and hell, has been destroyed. "Evil once again stirs," said Blizzard.
The developer said Diablo III adds a number of new enhancements over its predecessor.
A new, 3-D graphics engine will render environments that are interactive and destructible, allowing players to create traps and obstacles. The game also will employ a new quest system and random, scripted events, though Blizzard provided few details.
The game will feature five character classes, including the new Witch Doctor class.
Users will be able to play Diablo III across the Internet through an enhanced version of Blizzard's online Battle.net platform, according to the developer.