The "Ultimate Evil" edition of Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls for PlayStation 4 will have a handful of features exclusive to the console version of the game, Blizzard says, including an intriguing new social feature called Avenger Kills.
The PS4 version, which runs at 60 frames per second and 1080p resolution natively, said senior level designer Matthew Berger, is adding a handful of gameplay additions built around shared experiences for players, even if they're not playing at the same time.
One of those is player gifts. In the console version, players who get a Legendary item from a loot drop will also get a second bonus item that can be gifted to a friend through the PS4 game's player mail system. Berger explained how that will work.
"I'm going to be running around, killing monsters and a Legendary will drop," he said, "and then — cue awesome sound, column of light — a box, a gift will pop off that Legendary. It's going to say 'Gift for Michael.' I'm going to pick it up and send it to you." That gifted item will be of either Rare or Legendary class and can be used by the player character who opened it.
"Even though you and I are not adventuring together," Berger said, "I can give you something, and still make it feel like we're playing together."
Avenger Kills offer another opportunity for friends to connect, even if they're not playing cooperatively at the same time. With an Avenger Kill, when a player dies at the hands of a monster, there's a chance that monster will level up and then jump into a special portal. That monster will then target a player on your friends list. Later, when that friend comes online, that monster will appear during a special event; the skies will darken and the player will be warned that "Matthew's Bane" — a special title — is after them. If that monster kills that player, it will level up again, becoming the "Bane" of that player and then find a new friend to target.
If you manage to kill the monster, however, you and the friend who spawned it (or most recently helped level it up) will get a piece of loot.
Just how powerful those Avenger Kill monsters can ultimately become is still something that's under discussion. Become too cruel, too overpowered, and the monster may ultimately "retire," Berger said.
The PS4 version of Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls will add a few improvements over this year's PlayStation 3 release, including a higher monster density, better graphic shaders, shorter loading times and touchpad support for navigating your inventory. Players who do want to upgrade to the next-gen version will be able to import their characters from the PS3 version, but exactly how is unknown.
Berger said the team has looked at PlayStation Vita Remote Play for the PS4 version, but expressed concern about the reduced resolution of the handheld.
"It's on our radar," he said.
Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls Ultimate Evil edition does not have an announced release date on PS4, but Blizzard says it expects the console version to lag behind the PC release of the expansion.