Was Diablo III ever officially on track for a late 2011 release? Not really. All we thought we knew came pretty much from a leaked release schedule that put developer Blizzard's tertiary dark fantasy-themed hack-and-slash somewhere in 2011's fourth quarter.
That's why I've put "delayed" in single scare quotes up top. Blizzard, like id Software, hates to be pinned down, and who can blame them? I suppose we ought to be grateful that we now know, for sure, that Diablo III won't happen this year. Or to use Blizzard's terms, Diablo III's launch window "will be moving into early 2012."
"With every game we make, the temptation is always very strong to launch as soon as possible," wrote Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime in a statement. "However, we didn't put so many years of work into Diablo III to release a game that was almost ready."
The good news? "The beta test is going very well," says Morhaime, adding that the company plans to "[make] the most of the extra time we're taking..."
Put another way: extended beta period! (Or, put more cynically, Blizzard just realized by way of the beta's opening days—it launched on September 20—that the game's not ready for primetime.)
Whatever the case, Blizzard says it may use the extra time to add more testers than it had planned to. If you still want a shot, Blizzard says active Battle.net members should make sure to "opt in" there. Blizzard says to expect "additional testing phases" to come along at some point, too.