Fans were so disappointed by Blizzard Entertainment’s reveal of a mobile version of the popular Diablo franchise, Diablo Immortal, at the company’s convention BlizzCon that they took to Twitter, tanked YouTube videos, and drove gamers to Blizzard’s competitors on Reddit. None of that escaped the eyes of the company — especially since reports claim that all this ire was generated over something (no Diablo 4 announcement) that was supposed to happen anyway.
But now the gaming giant that’s home to World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Overwatch has made some official comments on the backlash. The gist? They hear you “loud and clear.”
According to Variety, fan reaction was a topic of discussion by Blizzard president J. Allen Brack and Activision Blizzard president and COO Coddy Johnson during the company’s third-quarter earnings call.
“So we’ve seen some interesting reactions to the announcement,” Brack said. “I think that it’s clear that there are a lot of players who are eager for more Diablo PC and console content. I think that came through loud and clear from BlizzCon. And frankly, we feel fortunate to have a community that cares so much about that franchise.” Brack noted, while talking about the backlash in a positive way, that hearing fan feedback “as to what they want to hear next and what we can do better, frankly,” is important for the company.
Johnson was much more optimistic. “While fan reaction was muted to the announcement,” he said, “players’ hands-on experience … confirmed what we believe, which is that Diablo mobile will be a very well-received game when it releases, and players around the world will love it.” Many anecdotal posts from BlizzCon seem to contradict this, with pictures showing empty lines to play the demo and those who played it noting that the game feels like a watered-down version of their favorite franchise.
However, generating even a similar experience to the games on a phone opens up a huge market for the company. “Mobile remains the largest and fastest-growing platform for gaming in the world,” Johnson said. “Mobile is the biggest platform in gaming today,” Brack reiterated. “And taking a game like Diablo onto that platform in a way that is really reflecting our quality standards I think can really open a lot of – it can open that franchise and other franchises to a global audience, including people who don’t have PCs, or especially in China, where Blizzard is a very, very strong Western brand.”
China, the endgame, makes sense for Blizzard, but don’t despair if you’re a fan of the main series. Brack maintained the company line that “Diablo is an important tentpole franchise for Blizzard Entertainment, and we have multiple teams working on multiple different projects for the Diablo community.”
He also showed plenty of optimism for the future of the mobile experience, saying, “Launching the game is only going to be the beginning. There’s going to be ongoing support, and we’re only going to release the game when we feel like it is meeting the community’s very high standards. In the end, Diablo Immortal is going to fulfill that, and we think that people are going to experience it, and we think that they’re going to love it.” Only time will tell. Pre-registration for Diablo Immortal is available now.