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Diablo III officially delayed

Plugged In

One of the biggest games of 2011 won't be out until 2012.

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Diablo III (Blizzard)

Diablo III, Blizzard Entertainment's much-anticipated role-playing game, has been officially moved into next year in order to give developers time to further polish the title.

"While this news might not be a complete surprise, I know that many of you were hopeful that Diablo III would ship this year," said company CEO and co-founder Mike Morhaime in a blog post. "We were too."

Morhaime is right about it being unsurprising. In August, the company dropped the first hints that it might not be able to get the game out in time for the holidays. The closed beta test for the game only launched this week, which is extraordinarily late for a title of this size.

While that test is going well, Morhaime indicated there were a few things that bothered the company enough that the delay was called for.

"With every game we make, the temptation is always very strong to launch as soon as possible," he said. "However, we didn't put so many years of work into Diablo III to release a game that was almost ready."

The good news for players in all of this is if you didn't get one of those coveted beta invitations, you might be able to do so now. Blizzard says it will extend the length of the beta and could add more testers than it had originally planned. (You can opt in for those extra spots by logging into your Battle.net account and clicking on "account management".)

2012 is shaping up to be a busy year for Blizzard. The company has already announced it plans to release at least two titles next year, with one likely being another World of Warcraft expansion. At the time of that announcement, everyone was hoping Diablo III would be a 2011 release, so there could actually be three Blizzard games on the market next year — something that will have the company's legion of fans beside themselves with joy.

Hit hardest by the Diablo delay, though, are the diehard enthusiasts who are participating in the Diableards challenge (refusing to shave until the game is released). At this rate, they'll look like Grizzly Adams by the time the game hits shelves.

"For those taking on the Diableard challenge, we salute you—and now fear for your well-being and personal hygiene," said Morhaime.

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