Tom Quirk plays a lot of video games, but when he isn't, he is reading fantasy novels and watching way more television than is healthy.
Blizzard has announced the newest entry in the Diablo series, and it’s safe to say that it isn’t what fans expected. The Diablo series has been a succession of beloved class-based dungeon-crawlers whose main home has been the PC. Therefore, the reveal that the latest release would be Diablo: Immortal, a multiplayer-focused mobile game, did not go down very well with the fanbase, to put it mildly.
At time of writing, the Diablo: Immortal cinematic trailer has 9.8K likes, and a whopping 214K dislikes. At the reveal at Blizzcon, a puzzled fan literally asked the panellists “Is this an out of season April Fool’s joke?”. No doubt much of this stigma towards a potential mobile spin-off is the number of frankly terrible mobile spinoffs from other franchises, which greatly simplify previously complex mechanics to try and promote microtransactions. Some of these examples include Dungeon Keeper Mobile and the upcoming Command and Conquer: Rivals (which provoked a similarly negative response from fans upon its reveal).
“We know what many of you are hoping for and we can only say that good things come to those who wait”, Blizzard stated in a blog post to try and quell fan anger. “But evil things often take longer. We appreciate your patience as our teams work tirelessly to create nightmarish experiences worthy of the Lord of Terror.”
There is every chance that Diablo: Immortal could defy fan expectations and be actually good. After all, the control scheme seems fairly intuitive, and it appears to maintain the majority of what makes the Diablo series appealing. However, the Diablo fanbase are clearly clamouring for another mainline release on PC, so the announcement that the newest entry was going to be a scaled-back mobile game was probably never going to go over very well.
Blizzard have been fairly open about how they have been at work on multiple Diablo-related projects aside from Diablo: Immortal. Which means Diablo 4 is still probably on its way. However, Blizzard really could have read the room a little better and either given more information about a potential mainline Diablo game in development or reassured fans that Diablo: Immortal won’t commit the same sins as previous mobile games by bastardising the game mechanics to encourage microtransactions. As it stands, it looks like Diablo: Immortal will have quite the uphill struggle to be recognised as something positive by longtime Diablo fans.
Diablo: Immortal is coming soon to the App Store and Google Play, and players can pre-register at the game’s website.