At BlizzCon, last weekend, Blizzard announced a new Diablo game, but it was not exactly what fans expected or expected.
Diablo Immortal is a new Diablo game for mobile devices that Blizzard is developing together with its partner NetEase. Even though Blizzard told fans a few weeks before BlizzCon that they should not expect an announcement of Diablo's next game from the main line in the show, a revelation of a new mobile game was not the kind of surprise some expected. Diablo's next big game, potentially Diablo 4, is probably in process, but Blizzard said nothing about BlizzCon.
We met with Wyatt Cheng (main game designer) of Blizzard and Joe Hsu (main producer of the game) in BlizzCon to talk about Diablo Immortal's announcement, his reaction and much more.
Cheng started by explaining that Diablo Immortal is coming to mobile because the franchise is already well represented in the console and the PC; The next area of expansion is the growing mobile market, he said.
"At the end of the day, at Blizzard, we are players," said Cheng. "And we played a lot of games on all platforms, consoles, PCs, we played table games, we played card games, we played games, and many of us played mobile games, and I think when we see an opportunity to make an incredible mobile game , we want to take it. "
Blizzard has been working with NetEase for almost a decade to bring popular franchises such as World of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, Overwatch and another mobile title, Hearthstone, to the Chinese gaming market. The partnership with NetEase again for Diablo Immortal made sense, Cheng said.
Another reason why Blizzard brings Diablo to mobile devices is because there are more stories in the universe to tell. "We were watching this 20 year period between Diablo II, Lord of Destruction and Diablo III, and we said: & # 39; All these events happened, so we should take a look at the creation of a game that explores that space in time & # 39; "Cheng explained.
He added that Diablo Immortal is something like the movie. Star Wars: Rogue One, which exists in the larger universe of Star Wars but can still be seen and enjoyed on its own.
As for Hsu, he said that bringing Diablo to the phone is representative of Blizzard's efforts to "try new things" and bring Diablo to more people.
"We love bringing new things to our players," said Hsu. "For me, personally, I still play Diablo III, I play Seasons, and that's an amazing experience, but I'd love to try new things and we'd love to share them with everyone, and it's such a rich IP where we can do that, so it was a good I feel it was a very good choice. "
Some part of the conversation around Diablo Immortal has been negative. As mentioned, a part of the fan base expected to see Diablo's next big title instead of a mobile game. Hsu said he expects people to give Diablo Immortal a shot before judging him.
"We really believe that playing is believing, and we would love for everyone around the world to try it and give their honest opinions," he said. "That would be amazing."
Being skeptical is perfectly fair and reasonable, Cheng said, but he still expects people to stay open about Diablo Immortal.
"I think it's reasonable in today's world, our modern world, to be a bit skeptical," he said. "But for the people who play, if they can go out and say: No, no, no, seriously, guys, I was in BlizzCon, I played the demo, it was amazing." Let's hope that word of mouth spreads. "
Blizzard co-founder Allen Adham told Kotaku that the company expected fans to get angry about Diablo Immortal, but not at the level it finally came to be. There were also violent reactions when Blizzard announced that Diablo for consoles and fans also got upset because Hearthstone was generally a free mobile game, Adham said, so rejection is nothing new for the company. All said, Adham added that he understands that Diablo fans want more.
"We knew that our audience here wants to see and hear desperately one thing in particular," Adham said, probably in reference to Diablo's next big game.
You can expect Blizzard to devote a lot of time and attention to Diablo Immortal. Cheng said that Diablo for mobile devices will be the next fundamental pillar for the Diablo franchise in the future.
"Yes, I do, I do it for sure," he said. "If we move quickly in 10, 20 years and look back, we will be developing the story, and when people draw the story, we have new stories to tell, we have a new game, there will be a brand." New experiences for players in the world of Diablo. "
Blizzard has yet to reveal Diablo Immortal's business model, so it is not yet known if it will be free or paid. Blizzard's previous mobile game, Hearthstone, is free. It is supported by microtransactions. We asked if Diablo Immortal would have microtransactions, but both Cheng and Hsu said that Blizzard is more focused on doing the game well before talking about specific aspects of the business.
Without a doubt, another reason why Blizzard is bringing Diablo Immortal to market is because of the commercial opportunity. Smartphones are ubiquitous, and the microtransaction model, especially in China, is common and generally accepted. The parent company, Activision Blizzard, won $ 4 billion in microtransactions last year, and stakeholders are certainly eager to see this figure grow even more.
Another issue surrounding Diablo Immortal is the accusations that it is a new version of the game Crusaders of Light, which is another NetEase title. When asked directly to respond to the readjustment claims, Cheng told IGN: "We have artists on our side, we have artists on their side and we work together as a team, as an badociation to create everything about Diablo: Immortal. The environments, the characters, the skills, the story. "
GameSpot spent a practical time with Diablo Immortal in BlizzCon, so come back soon for more.