Well, that was quite the shit show, wasn’t it?
Diablo fever had been boiling up well before Blizzcon 2018. Community Manager -Brandy Camel released a video stating that they hadn’t forgotten about Diablo. There were multiple projects in the works and the future of Sanctuary looked bright (bleak?).
When rumors started spreading that Diablo 4 was going to be unveiled, Blizzard tried to lower expectations by releasing a blog post stating that while the future of Diablo would be talked about at Blizzcon, we weren’t supposed to get our hopes up too high. I was disappointed but still hopeful. They had been hyping up something for the Diablo franchise so it had to be good, right? A new character class for Diablo 3? Maybe a full-fledged expansion? Blizzard is known for their attention to quality. Instead, we received the announcement that the next entry in the series would be a mobile game taking place between Diablo 2 and 3.
Now, let me tell you something. There is a time and place to announce a mobile Diablo game. No, it’s not as the final big reveal at an opening ceremony of Blizzcon.
At the time of writing this post, the video above has 174k downvotes and 11k upvotes. Let that be an indication of how well the Diablo community is handling this. After having a couple of days to digest the news (the Blizzcon opening ceremony was this past Friday), I’ll be the first to admit that while I was beyond disappointed with the announcement, I’ve decided to give this game a chance. I haven’t played it obviously, so I can’t tell you if it’s as shitty as it sounds, but you can’t knock something till you try it. It seems like a way to get my kids into Diablo since they love playing on phones so much and this means I can play with them (my wife hates Diablo so this could be a way to recruit them to PC… wishful thinking). I’ve been contemplating buying the Switch version of D3 to play with my kids, but I dunno if I can justify starting a new character when I’ve poured almost a 1000 hours into the PC version.
What’s concerning about the entire thing though is how out of touch Blizzard is with their community. The Q&A for the game went as well as you’d expect, with a certain redshirt guest asking if this was some out of season April fool’s joke. Wyatt Cheng, lead developer on Diablo Immortal seemed to be getting pissed about player reactions that he just blurted out to the audience “Do you guys not have phones?” Yes, I have a phone, it doesn’t mean I want to play Diablo on it. Hell, I’ve got Fortnite on everything and I always play it on Xbox One. I hate the phone version. If they had made this announcement before Blizzcon along with the Switch version of Diablo 3, yeah it probably would have been received better. Instead, Blizzard tempered expectations but keep them simmering a little bit to keep players interested and then they go and announce a mobile game for a mostly PC player based franchise. Whoever thought that was a good idea needs a good kick in the head.
Diablo 3 has been slowly making its way to other platforms since it was initially released for PC 6 years ago. A mobile version seemed like the next logical step. It’s just why not release D3 itself on mobile? Diablo Immortal features most of the same classes from D3 and it looks like it plays just like D3. The core fans love getting carpal tunnel clicking their mouse 6000 times a minute, they weren’t looking to start playing a rehashed version of Diablo 3 on their phones with slight changes. Why not release this iteration on all the consoles? Give the true fans what they want, while trying to appease to other players. As it stands right now, the game just looks like it will be a cash grab. It’s being developed by Netease, which is known for developing Diablo type games on mobile, so it seems like it’s literally going to be one of their games with the face of Diablo. Lame.
With so many other game announcements and developments from Blizzcon 2018 that I’m excited for, Diablo Immortal was a disappointment, absolutely, but it’s one that I’ll get over as long as we get some new DLC for Diablo 3 to tide us over (I’m still running Greater Rifts with my Maurader Demon Hunter like a madman) until the next proper sequel arrives. If Diablo Immortal is the future of the franchise, count me out.
What do you guys think about the announcement? Was it poor judgment? Could you care less? Let me know! – NVJ