With BlizzCon 2019 just around the corner, the Diablo debacle lives on. When Blizzard took to the stage to reveal Diablo: Immortal, a new mobile game, fans went nuts in outrage, it was like the Hearthstone reveal all over again. Many felt that Blizzard was abandoning their PC roots under Activision's rule but the president of the company promises that isn't the case.
In a recent interview with GameSpot, Blizzard president J. Allen Brack said that they definitely dropped the ball when it came to the reveal and how they handled making sure that their core community still felt taken care of.
“I think the thing that we did a poor job of when we announced Diablo: Immortal was contextualizing what we think the future can be and what we think of mobile in particular
“And I also think the key thing that was lost, that we did a poor job double emphasizing, is we are a PC developer first. And then we look for other platforms that we think are awesome that can support the types of gameplay experiences that resonate with the type of games and values that we want to put forth into the world. And the example of that is, there was a little bit of a backlash when we [announced] that we were going to port Diablo 3 to console as well.”
With Activision-fueled worries from the fans, a little more communication could have gone a long away, something that Brack mentioned in light of so many monetization and predatory microtransaction concerns.
“It’s not hard to understand the fan reaction of, ‘I’m a Blizzard fan. Blizzard, just keep making PC games like you’ve always done. Like I like. That will make me happy. But, I think if you think about the world, and you think about games, it’s hard to imagine how anyone who is a core PC Blizzard fan today also has not experimented with console platforms, or mobile platforms in their career, or in their life, rather.
“If you’re a core PC gamer, then there are not an insignificant number of mobile games that don’t have a great reputation. We’ve seen these games, and we’ve played these games. We’ve played games that we feel like are predatory when it comes to monetization, that are not the most fun experience that we could imagine, and not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s hard [for people] to see how Blizzard is still Blizzard on that platform.”
Despite Immortal featuring a narrative that many have been asking for, with it set to bridge the large gap between Diablo 2 and Diablo 3, long-time fans of the franchise weren't pleased with the mobile-exclusivity. A large part of that is due to the successful Nintendo Switch port for Diablo 3 and the news that there were multiple projects in the works for this series, many were expecting a full Diablo 4 announcement - despite Blizzard being very clear that wasn't happening during last year's BlizzCon.
Now with a new BlizzCon on the horizon and rumors of the long-awaited Diablo 4 reveal, Blizzard wants to make sure that they are starting off their annual festivities on the right foot with their fans.
What are your thoughts on 'Diablo-gate' and how that backlash has evolved since the initial announcement? Are you still excited to see what's in store or are you firmly anti-Immortal? Join in on the conversation over on Twitter by hitting us up over @PrimaGames!