Diablo 4 is the first installment in the franchise to feature a main antagonist outside of the realm of the three Prime Evils. Diablo, Mephisto, and Baal have always had the pleasure to be cast in the lead in all of the past installments, and for good reason. They are the most powerful of all evils in the lore. They are also immortal, which means that they can always cheat death.
Speaking with Play4 at BlizzCon 2019 earlier in the month, senior producer Tiffany Wat recalled how the Prime Evils were defeated in Diablo 3 with the help of the Black Soulstone. The ancient artifact was then consumed by the archangel Malthael and upon his defeat, released the captured essences of the Prime Evils.
In other words; Diablo, Mephisto, and Baal are still alive somewhere in the universe. However, Blizzard isn’t ready to confirm if they will be making an appearance in Diablo 4. Wat, however, did tease that since the Prime Evils are immortal, they can return whenever needed.
I don’t want to give any spoilers related to the story. But you know, Malthael consuming that soul stone when he was defeated. Kind of released their essences, their spirits back into the universe. Being immortal evil, you can certainly imagine that they get right back up over time.
That being said, Blizzard wants fans to forget about the Prime Evils and just focus on Lilith in Diablo 4. She has been “pulled out of the abyss” for a special reason, according to the developer. Blizzard could have always featured either of the Prime Evils as the main antagonist but Diablo 4 needed something new, something more evil. It’s how Lilith found herself back into the mortal world.
The daughter of Mephisto may not be a Prime Evil but she does have many untold stories dating back to the Sin War trilogy for those who haven’t read the novels. Her union with the archangel Inarius led to the creation of the first nephalem, due to which many speculate that the mysterious pale stranger is actually her son, Rathma. There’s her imprisonment angle, and her relations with both heaven and hell. There’s so much material here that Blizzard can explore.
We certainly wanted to explore a new antagonist. And, look at Lilith. In sort of kind of very interesting character. That we can build a very interesting story about it.
Diablo 4 is in development for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The direct sequel remains without a release date and based on strong speculation, Diablo 4 won’t release before 2021, meaning that Blizzard will probably be eying a release on the next-generation consoles as well.