If you’re a Blizzard fan then you know that this past weekend was the company’s annual Blizzcon event, where any new announcements for the upcoming year (and beyond) are made — among other happenings. If you’re not that big of a fan, well… now you know. Whichever you are, one of the things announced at this year’s Blizzcon was Diablo Immortal, an unusual and very divisive title for the company.
You see, Diablo Immortal is a mobile RPG — a stripped-back version of Diablo 3 (though with an all-new story) designed to run on a smartphone. The game is being developed by Blizzard and a company called NetEase, a Chinese outfit with a little experience making mobile games. The title is a simplified version of the hack-and-slash title but Blizzard is promising an expansion of existing lore in and around Tristram and the constant battle with Diablo and his minions in addition to compulsive loot-hunting gameplay.
Only… not everyone is happy about this announcement. Hardcore fans were expecting a hardcore announcement at Blizzcon and they got what is essentially a game aimed at the more casual end of the market. There were several criticisms lobbed at the mobile game, the harshest of which was that it was a reskin of one of NetEase’s other titles. We’ve got a more open mind, though even we’re not sure who this game is for.
The pricing structure, which hasn’t been revealed, will tell us a lot about Blizzard’s intentions here. A paid game means that Immortal is aimed at the fans and Blizzard may have to add in a few extra difficulty settings before launch in that case. A free-to-play game means that the company is trying to hook some new fish, hoping to empty player’s wallets via microtransactions — but then why the emphasis on lore? There’s also the possibility that Blizzard hope to use the mobile game as a testing ground for ‘proper’ Diablo games to come. And they are coming.
If you’re one of those upset by the announcement of Diablo Immortal, you haven’t been left behind. Blizzard are still working on several “…different Diablo projects and we can’t wait to tell you all about them . . . when the time is right”. Diablo 4 is probably still in the works, though the developer/publisher isn’t letting on what it’ll consist of just yet. Soon, folks, soon. In the meantime, check out the Diablo Immortal devs addressing the concerns that were brought up right after the announcement.