Last week at Blizzcon 2018, Blizzard released a Diablo Immortal cinematic trailer as their presentation finale. A time slot for what fans thought to be for a Diablo 4 official announcement was instead filled by nothing but disappointment and the sound of audience boos– because Diablo Immortal was the mobile game. The lore, apparently is to be taken place in between Diablo II and III so it make it a prequel of some sorts.
Of course, Blizzard could not predict the backlash this measly announcement incited from the fans. Within a week of the announcement, the cinematic trailer uploaded to YouTube received over 500,000 dislikes. Earlier this week, it was found that Blizzard has been removing the dislikes on their video. Reddit users revealed that the number of dislikes had decreased by 100,000 overnight. This only fuels the rage of the community. Furthermore, are being taken down in the Diablo subreddit. Blizzard takes down any images or posts that paint Diablo Immortal in a bad light.
Blizzard Aims To Continue Down The Mobile Path
Following the debacle, Blizzard co-founder Allen Adham revealed in an interview with Digital Trend that the company was going to make more mobile versions of its current IPs. When asked why they decided to go with the Diablo mobile development, Adham explained:
“It’s clear that for a large part of the world this [mobile] is now their primary gaming device.”
“It’s just a no-brainer for us to bring our IPs to this device, and Diablo really fits well.”
Regarding the concerns of their release:
“We have very high standards for ourselves at Blizzard about the quality of games we make. We wanted to be certain this game is going to be authentically Blizzard, authentically Diablo.”
And of course, they were asked about the backlash at Blizzcon:
“What we said was we have multiple Diablo teams working on multiple projects. We want them to know this isn’t instead of other things we’re doing, and in fact we’re doing a lot, and this is additive.”
On top of that Adham has also expressed to the angered fans that Blizzard has not forgotten them and that there will be more news to come in the future. So for now, it seems we have nothing to do but practice patience with Blizzard?
Production Director, Dan Elggren has also expressed that the people who tested the Diablo mobile game have enjoyed the gameplay and that Diablo Immortal was going to be something that the fans would enjoy. A very bold statement considering how angry the fans are right now. Especially since you removed their dislikes…
Diablo Immortal Is A Reskinned Version Of An Existing Game?
Despite Blizzard claiming that the game was build from scratch, side by side comparisons of the game mechanics by a YouTuber, YongYea revealed otherwise. Diablo: Immortal bears a striking resemblance to another mobile ARPG game called Crusaders of Light published by NetEase. Which makes sense considering a vast majority of the mobile gamers are within the Asia region. And the Asian gaming region is definitely expanding rapidly. So despite the bad publicity stunt, the release of Diablo: Immortal is actually economically strategic on Blizzard’s end, however, at the cost of their hardcore and existing fans.
Is Our Anger Justified?
The verdict is yes. If you’d have asked me after the announcement at Blizzcon, I probably would’ve said no. I would’ve been a disappointed, and maybe a little miffed that there was no Diablo 4 but I wouldn’t have been angry. However, after learning that Blizzard has been removing dislikes and posts by the community to cover the backlash. That’s pretty unethical, Blizzard.
Blet’sets be real, the game is probably going to be a hit with the Asian market, specifically China. With smartphones getting more and more powerful by the year, the gaming community may have to make room for mobile users soon. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be grumpy with Blizzard until the release of Diablo 4.