At the World Wide Invitational event in Paris today, as anticipated, Blizzard announced that Diablo III is currently in development for PC and Mac.

According to the details released so far, it will be an action RPG like its predecessors, not an MMORPG like World of Warcraft. So there'll be a single-player story to play through, but there's also going to be a focus on cooperative teamplay. Multiplayer games will be played via Blizzard's Battle.net service. It will be possible for players to drop in and out of cooperative game sessions.

Like its precursors, Diablo III will be played from an isometric overhead view, although it will now be rendered fully in 3-D. Recognising the success they have had with WoW, Blizzard wants to make the game run on as wide a range of hardware as possible, so DirectX 10 will not be required. The proprietary engine will incorporate Havok physics and destructible environments.

Two of the five player character classes have been announced; the Barbarian and the Witch Doctor. Unlike previous games in the series, the player will be able to choose whether their character will be male or female independently from the class selected.

The game will retain the random dungeon and items system which Diablo pioneered, and which gave it such a high level of replayability, but will add an "enhanced" quest system. There will be a mixture of pre-designed and randomly generated levels.

No release date has been given; if StarCraft II is any measure, expect it to be a couple of years away.