Home Gaming Blizzard wasn’t expecting such a negative fan backlash over the announcement of Diablo: Immortal

Blizzard wasn’t expecting such a negative fan backlash over the announcement of Diablo: Immortal

3 min read
92

Diablo-Immortal

In the run-up to BlizzCon 2018, Blizzard wanted to emphasise a point: There would be no Diablo 4 announcement this year. Breaking the news long before the conference started, Blizzard did tell fans that there would be some Diablo news to share at the event, but that expectations might need to be tempered.

In the opening ceremony of BlizzCon 2018, Blizzard dropped their bombshell: A new Diablo game, but for mobile devices. In case you missed it, here’s the fancy trailer for Diablo: Immortal.

As for the skinny on this game? It’s co-developed by Chinese developer NetEase, a company that has had a working relationship with Blizzard in providing operational support for their games in the lucrative Chinese market. It honestly looks alright, although chances are it’ll be the usual free to play formula that seeks to pump out some extra coin along the way. Heck, fans reckon that Diablo: Immortal is nothing but a Blizzard-skinned update of their other mobile RPG Crusaders of Light.

Some people might like it, others might not. That’s how games work. Blizzard fans on the other hand, have been less than enthusiastic towards the reveal of the Diablo spin-off:

It’s okay to be disappointed. It’s fine to be let down by the fact that BlizzCon 2018 had nothing to say about those rumours regarding a proper remaster of the original Diablo. The backlash on social media however, has been nothing short of Hulk-level anger so far however, with various Blizzard communities dialling up their outrage to 11 over what they perceive to be a sign that their beloved company has decided to cast loyal PC gamers to the side in favour of a more lucrative mobile market.

It’s hot take supreme on reddit especially, with numerous threads lambasting the developer. Honestly, I don’t see the reason for the outrage. Don’t like the game? Don’t play it. It’s not as if Blizzard isn’t working on Diablo 4, as the studio is known for taking their time on their projects before they eventually release them.  A quick diversionary slice of Diablo on another platform, isn’t going to murder your loved ones in their sleep.

“We know our audience here is passionately PC- and console-focused,” executive producer and Blizzard co-founder Allen Adham said to Kotaku.

Diablo Immortal (4)

We’ve also seen this before. We saw a similar response when we announced that we were bringing Diablo to console, and we saw a similar response to the announcement of Hearthstone. We tried to get ahead of that a little bit with the blog post to let that group know that we are working on multiple things and continue to work on multiple things. But it’s pretty clear that their incredible passion for Diablo manifests in interesting ways.

As for the game itself? Development on it is being carried out by a team that’s seperate from the A-list talent team that’s currently grinding away on Diablo 4. “There are actually two distinct teams,” Adham explained.

Diablo Immortal (1)

That’s something we tried to communicate. I know our community here, there’s a concern that we are focused on this instead of that. The truth is that we have multiple Diablo teams working on multiple unannounced Diablo projects even after announcing [Immortal].

I’m surprisingly keen for Diablo: Immortal. I’m a big fan of mobile games, and when the idea for a freemium title is handled correctly, it can be a joy to grab an iPad and flick away the night in bed. Just look at Hearthstone or Final Fantasy Brave Exvius as an example here, for games that continue to offer content without a need to bombard players with microtransactions.

Handle the design and the messaging of a game right, and you’ve got a quickfire distraction that’s always enjoyable for a few minutes of action.

Last Updated: November 5, 2018

92 Comments

  1. Lol as I was just saying to Geoff in the other topic – I don’t understand how they didn’t predict this kind of fallout. There are a number of examples where fans have had high expectations for a sequel, a mobile version is announced, and the resulting fallout would make Chernobyl seem like a summer destination. It’s a pattern that has repeated time and time again. I don’t think it’s fair, but it’s what happens. For Blizzard to not expect this is just them being out of touch with gamers.

    The better thing to do would be not to announce the mobile game on main stage Blizzcon. That was not smart. Or maybe just a logo animation for D4 or D1/2 Remastered and then moving into this would’ve changed the whole thing around. People would be praising Blizzard. And a logo animation really doesn’t take much.

    Reply

    • @Sargon_ZA

      November 5, 2018 at 07:50

      Agree with this. Should have predicted the response. Shouldn’t have announced at Blizzcon.

      Reply

      • Geoffrey Tim

        November 5, 2018 at 08:59

        Or if at Blizzcon, announced later..or just handled better. It’s baffling that they didnt see this happening.

        Reply

    • Mielies the Magnificent

      November 5, 2018 at 09:36

      Bethesda did it perfectly with announcement of Fallout 4 and accompanying mobile game. Just actually confirm to people that you are in fact working on a proper Diablo game. Can almost promise you that reception to Immortal would’ve been praised.

      Reply

  2. Raptor Rants

    November 5, 2018 at 07:52

    *cracks knuckles for reply*

    Reply

    • Pariah

      November 5, 2018 at 09:52

      You’ve got 7 minutes. Go. 😛

      Reply

  3. Brian

    November 5, 2018 at 07:53

    They chose the wrong event, with the wrong audience and a misguided PR strategy to announce this. Horrible mismanagement that immediately put the title in the line of fire. Did they not see the fallout when EA announced C&C: Rivals at E3?

    Having said that, the devs do not deserve the hostility.

    Reply

  4. @Sargon_ZA

    November 5, 2018 at 07:54

    It’s like we don’t understand fandom anymore. Supporters can be the harshest critics, and rightly so. Everyone is entitled to have a voice, and use it. I personally don’t care about the mobile title. Diablo 3 was so bad I can’t imagine how they’re going to get me to buy Diablo 4. Buuuut at the same time let people get upset.

    We can’t on one hand say, “Wow Blizzard has such a passionate community! It’s amazing!” Then on the other hand go, “Look at these entitled shits get so outraged.” Like… hello?

    Reply

  5. Kromas

    November 5, 2018 at 08:07

    I was way to busy traveling the country roads of Apalachia to even care.

    Reply

    • Pariah

      November 5, 2018 at 08:08

      It looks like a worse Fallout 4 from everything I’ve seen. I’d rather play Diablo: Immortal. Just saying.

      Reply

      • Kromas

        November 5, 2018 at 09:08

        It isn’t for everyone I will admit. Just as CoD is not for everyone. Hell I am sure Diabli Immortal will be amazing but not for most PC gamers.

        Reply

        • Pariah

          November 5, 2018 at 09:10

          Very true. 🙂

          Reply

  6. Raptor Rants

    November 5, 2018 at 08:22

    Ok so let’s start off with what people are upset about:
    A game being released on Mobile and that it’s not on PC or Console.

    Now we, as gamers, have a history of being disappointed by mobile adaptations of games. *Cough C&C Cough*. So an immidiate dislike of this announcement is really not surprising and is one that Blizzard did foresee (As they released the blogpost asking people to not hype too much) but clearly didn’t consider just HOW MUCH people would hate it. So from a PR perspective Blizzard have really blundered here.

    I mean you could have wet people’s appetites by marketing it as the game to play while you wait for the next, super secret, totally not D4 no ways not D4, that the core team are working on.

    So Blizz, as a company that usually does really well with the community, a massive blunder here.

    BUT

    But. I cannot understand the hate that is being generated here. It is very clear this is not being made by the core team and while you may then argue that it means the game won’t be so great and polished it also means that Blizzard isn’t focusing their core at mobile.

    The biggest thing I seem to be getting from folk is that they feel Blizz are now going to move mobile and the end is nigh for PC and Console. I just can’t see that happening. I mean all the information is there for folk to start relaxing themselves a bit.
    1) Not the core team
    2) Multiple titles in the work for the franchise. The Core Team are currently working on that totally secret, totally not D4 title that Blizz won’t outright say is being made but we all know it is
    3) It does expand their business in to a new target market that can help bolster the franchise and ensure future growth of said franchise.

    It honestly boggles my mind when I think about gamers and how we have to complain about everything.

    Exclusive game? THIS IS STUPID PEOPLE SHOULD MAKE GAMES ON ALL PLATFORMS SO THEY MAKE ENOUGH MONEY! IF IT WAS ME I WOULD TOTALLY MAKE GAMES ON ALL PLATFORMS TO REACH AS MANY AS I CAN

    No Exclusives? WHY SHOULD I BUY THIS PLATFORM IF THERE ARE NO GOOD EXCLUSIVES!? I CAN PLAY THIS GAME ON PLATFORM X SO WHY BOTHER?

    Game goes mobile: WHY IS THIS HERE? I HATE IT IT’S GOING TO SUCK! MOBILE IS NOT REAL GAMING

    To be completely honest I don’t think the move to mobile is a bad thing at all. Just because you are not the target market doesn’t mean there aren’t folk who could be introduced in this way.

    I also feel the argument of a “Reskin” is a bit weak. Yes the control layout on the bottom right is very much the same. But you know what other games use same control layouts? : Almost every single game in existence.
    Racing games use similar, if not exactly the same keymappings across many titles.
    Free flow combat games? Well you could then say Shadow Of Mordor is a Batman re-skin.
    First person shooters? Oh no! Right mouse button to aim. Left to Shoot the enemy. Headshots do double damge. It’s a re-skin of every other FPS game.

    The design of the attack button layout is just something that works in other titles of the same that have already done well in their respective markets.

    To call a game a reskin because of a controller layout (Your screen being the controller) is a little sillyu imho.

    And to that end, D:Immortal isn’t a re-skin of the netease game. The netease game is effectively a Diablo clone. Or a NWN clone. Or any other semi top down dungeon crawler and then just adapted for Mobile input.

    Look, it’s ok to be upset if D4 wasn’t announced and yes I think they should have re-iterated their blog post in the conference and stated that Immortal is there as a separate path to the core franchise and that a core game is still being worked on, but honestly the hate for this seems a little out of proportion.

    I wouldn’t call it entitlement. The community is a very passionate one. One that stuck with Blizz through the horrible release of D3 and stuck it out. Blizz in turn stuck it out too and turned D3 in to something amazing.

    So yes, Blizz was sub par, but to hate the game simply because it’s mobile is just a little weird and out of place when you consider how mobile is becoming such a massive market for many companies.

    As long as they do it right and implement the gameplay correctly. Don’t lootbox to heck and you should be good.

    Reply

    • Pariah

      November 5, 2018 at 08:26

      Agree with this in its entirety. I have no issue with the mobile game itself, I just think they handled this whole thing very poorly. They could’ve done much better. They should’ve. And you know what? People would be excited for that mobile game instead of this current mess.

      Reply

    • Jiggy

      November 5, 2018 at 08:35

      Then announce that they are actually working on D4 and give some confirmation that it is in fact coming, even if its years out. Don’t take features that people have been asking for on the forums and put it in the mobile game and not the actual game where most people are playing. Like a HUB city for players to log into and form groups with others instead of being random dropped into a group, that was one hell of a blow and the reason they booed the guy on stage.

      Reply

      • Raptor Rants

        November 5, 2018 at 08:39

        Announcing a game far too in advance is just as disastrous as you get the people complaining that it will happen only in the year 3031 when all life has passed away.

        I’m really glad not to be a publisher in the gaming industry as the announce to release issue is a big one. Announce too late and it’s missed, announce too early and you are blasted for not releasing in what the public thinks is an acceptable time.

        Also, they did specifically state in their blog post that the hub community read that the core team is working on another Diablo title so they did announce it. Perhaps in the wrong way, but it’s pretty easy to conclude that there is another core title in development.

        Reply

        • Jiggy

          November 5, 2018 at 08:42

          A bigger disaster than saying here is a mobile game from china, and about that “other project” we are working on…you can just keep guessing.

          Reply

          • Raptor Rants

            November 5, 2018 at 08:47

            That’s pretty much every developer out there. No developer likes to announce anything that isn’t near ready enough to be or to give info too early. Again because of the risks of “X or Y was said way back and now it’s not in what was released”

    • Admiral Chief

      November 5, 2018 at 09:21

      tl;dr

      Reply

    • Pariah

      November 5, 2018 at 10:23

      HOLY tl;dr

      Reply

  7. Captain JJ

    November 5, 2018 at 08:27

    Hold up… BlizzEArd didn’t expEAct this to happen? Surely there must’ve bEAn another company who has made similar mistEAks they could’ve lEArned from?

    Reply

    • Jiggy

      November 5, 2018 at 08:49

      Although EA does not keep removing and re uploading trailers just so they can reset the 99% down votes.

      Reply

      • Captain JJ

        November 5, 2018 at 08:51

        • Jiggy

          November 5, 2018 at 08:53

          At least they had the balls to keep the video uploaded and not re upload it just because the “fans” did not like it.

          Reply

          • Captain JJ

            November 5, 2018 at 08:56

            Yea of course. I get that.

          • Captain JJ

            November 5, 2018 at 08:57

            However, EA did completely manipulate their ratings on Dungeon Keeper Mobile. So they’re no different really

          • Jiggy

            November 5, 2018 at 08:58

            Sounds as scummy as Ubisoft

          • Pariah

            November 5, 2018 at 08:59

            It’s a little sad that I expect this of EA, and not Blizzard. But then, Activision has its influences after all – and they’re not exactly known for their ethics either.

          • Captain JJ

            November 5, 2018 at 09:00

            Yea.

          • Geoffrey Tim

            November 5, 2018 at 09:06

            It’s worth noting that they’re run as separate entities under Activision blizzard. Activision exerts no control over blizzard, and Blizzard exerts no control over Activision. It’s easy to point the finger at Activision., but honestly the finger should be pointed at the success of mobile games and people who continue to spends tons of money on mobile game microtransactions. it’s a very tempting proposition for anybody who likes money. I still blame Bethesda and their goddamned horse armour tbh.

          • Pariah

            November 5, 2018 at 09:12

            That’s fair.

          • Captain JJ

            November 5, 2018 at 09:54

            that fkn horse armour XD

      • Raptor Rants

        November 5, 2018 at 08:54

        This part I have to agree with. Removing the videos or changing the stats in any way is just terrible. There’s unfortunately no excuse for that.

        Blizz have always been about listening to the community. So they need to take this as an opportunity to really and truly listen to the community and take the punches as they come (Punches being a metaphor here and in no way meaning they should take any physical harm. That is just wrong and death threats and threats of physical harm is uncool yo)

        Reply

    • Pariah

      November 5, 2018 at 10:28

      yEAh!!!

      Reply

  8. konfab

    November 5, 2018 at 08:38

    “It’s hot take supreme on reddit especially, with numerous threads lambasting the developer. Honestly, I don’t see the reason for the outrage. Don’t like the game? Don’t play it. It’s not as if Blizzard isn’t working on Diablo 4, as the studio is known for taking their time on their projects before they eventually release them. A quick diversionary slice of Diablo on another platform, isn’t going to murder your loved ones in their sleep.”

    And yet somehow that standard doesn’t apply when the SJW see that there are not enough trans-ginger blue aliens in games.

    Reply

    • Captain JJ

      November 5, 2018 at 08:55

      It’s also not as simple as “don’t like the game? don’t play it.”
      The problem is thanks to companies like EA, it has the community scared shitless that another great game is going to be turned into a shadow of what it used to be. People might not be acting the right way here, but they have reason to be worried.

      Reply

      • Pariah

        November 5, 2018 at 08:56

        I don’t think they have reason to be worried, to be fair. Blizz have stated in multiple instances that they’re working on a number of Diablo projects. We all know D4 is in dev.

        Reply

        • Captain JJ

          November 5, 2018 at 09:00

          Not the point though. Players are tired of good games being tarnished with cash grabs.

          Reply

          • Pariah

            November 5, 2018 at 09:02

            Yeah, but if done right this could be a great mobile experience. And it’s a completely different target market, so treating it like a core Diablo game isn’t doing to do it any favours. We don’t know enough yet to make any judgements.

          • Captain JJ

            November 5, 2018 at 09:03

            Then call it something else… unless they are of course riding on the fame of the name to pull in more people to play it….

          • Pariah

            November 5, 2018 at 09:04

            Well it’s still Diablo lore in a Diablo world. But it’s an experience tailored for a different market. I remember when they first announced D3 for consoles, everyone was like “that’ll never work” – and yet at the time it was the definitive D3 experience. It was only once they removed the RMAH that the PC version became something worth actually playing. People tend to forget.

          • Captain JJ

            November 5, 2018 at 09:13

            Yea, I get that. I don’t disagree with you there, and I don’t have an issue with different platforms. Mobile is just a very sensitive thing for die-hard fans of any big game at this stage and devs should know that by now.
            They can’t go in with the attitude that fans must get over it….because they’re making a game to profit off it in the end.

          • Pariah

            November 5, 2018 at 09:14

            Yeah 100%. Their attitude, approach, and general response on this has been very deaf and insensitive to their core fans. There’s no defending that. They should’ve done better.

          • Raptor Rants

            November 5, 2018 at 09:02

            This. Probably the biggest reason fans are so angry

          • Jiggy

            November 5, 2018 at 14:02

            This x 1000000!

      • Raptor Rants

        November 5, 2018 at 08:56

        But isn’t the whole thing behind the franchise about things happening in shadow? *Runs away quickly*

        Reply

    • HvR

      November 5, 2018 at 10:53

      LOL

      Totally going the following on all politcal and SJW CH articles that pop each week:
      “Do not like the game? Don’t play it” – Darryn Bonthuys

      Reply

  9. Hargrim

    November 5, 2018 at 09:00

    So here’s my take on it. They are making a Diablo mobile game, and that’s fine. What is not fine is making it the centrepiece announcement of the biggest Blizzard event of the year, especially after they have been hyping up the community with their constant talk of “multiple Diablo projects in the works”. And it isn’t even a Blizzard designed game! I’m not buying the ‘reskin’ theory just yet, but regardless of whether it is a resin or a ground up build, Netease games are notoriously P2W. That just feels a bit scaly.

    If they announced it alongside the SC2 Zeratul and HotS Orphea spots with a ‘so we’re still working hard on the next big thing, but here’s a Diablo mobile game in the meantime’ and had a clear (or any for that matter) answer to the monetization questions, I don’t think there would have been nearly as much backlash

    Will I play it? Probably, so long as it is not monetized like other Netease games

    Reply

  10. Skittle

    November 5, 2018 at 09:02

  11. CrAiGiSh

    November 5, 2018 at 09:03

    Well sheet …

    Reply

  12. Original Heretic

    November 5, 2018 at 09:06

  13. Nikola

    November 5, 2018 at 09:08

    More like Diablo “Immoral” with all the micro transactions, pay to win and who knows what kind of loot boxes to drain your pocket…

    Reply

  14. Gavin Mannion

    November 5, 2018 at 09:16

    Honestly how did Blizzard not predict this? Releasing the mobile game to much fanfare at Blizzcon was idiotic and some marketing person needs a slap with a wet fish.

    Gamers have a right to vent their disappointment on social media and on gaming websites such as this. As long as it doesn’t become personal attacks, threats or any of that childish nonsense then go ahead and let Blizzard know you are pissed off.

    I’m not a massive Diablo fan so I don’t care either way, but I am getting bored of Blizzards treatment of Overwatch. The same crappy events every 3 months, one new character every 3 months even though we all know the game desperately needs more healers and tanks.

    It feels like the monkeys (accountants) and running the asylum over there.

    Reply

    • Skittle

      November 5, 2018 at 09:21

      I’ve found that the best way to enjoy Overwatch is to play it religiously for a few weeks/months and then take a nice long break so that when you jump in again there is new content.

      Reply

  15. BradeLunner

    November 5, 2018 at 10:03

    Always a joy to flick the night away 😀

    Reply

  16. Matthew Figueira

    November 5, 2018 at 10:42

    It’s ok to be disappointed, but holy shit some of the reactions have been AWFUL. Diablo 4 is coming – just wait for that if that’s what you want :/

    Reply

  17. BakedBagel

    November 5, 2018 at 11:36

    The blizzard that released D2 would be laughing in hysterics at this.
    This is not the same blizzard of old. A damn shame

    Reply

    • Pariah

      November 5, 2018 at 11:57

      Actually… I’ll just leave this here.

      Reply

      • BakedBagel

        November 5, 2018 at 13:04

        Was a pretty cool vid.
        Breaking down diablo to be a toilet break game while saying “they are trying” just doesnt cut it imo. Would be great to see other old devs opinions on D:I tho.

        Reply

        • Geoffrey Tim

          November 5, 2018 at 16:08

          I love that it’s been abbreviated to D:I which looks like a mildly uninterested dude wearing a hunting cap

          Reply

  18. Scritty

    November 6, 2018 at 19:19

    Dumb time to announce it. Dumb audience to announce it to. A room full of PC gamers who had paid $100+ each to be advertised to for a weekend and told to expect something for Diablo.

    As for D3 being still relevant. I’ve got a couple of characters max level and now at paragon level 300 ish (dunno can’t be bothered to log on to find out) Never found it very good. Class play is too restricted.
    From rolling a new toon you know exactly what pieces of end game equipment you want in each slot, the exact rotation of your skills and exactly at what point you are going to increase your Torment levels at end game.
    D3 is “balanced into boredom” If you deviate you from the well known BiS or rotation – then you are knowingly and willingly becoming sub optimal.

    There are no surprises in loot or new gameplay ideas. D3 is “Balanced to death”

    Path of Exile I pick up a gem of a piece of equipment 100 hours after a toon has got to end level and the way I play changes completely. Even Grim Dawn has this to an extent. We are told Torchlight Frontiers will try and do this as well.

    I believe the Frontiers devs because many of them were Diablo 2 devs (including the music. Oh yes!!) and they also made Torchlight 2, which, despite giving the player too many cookies “up front” also allowed so much player freedom.

    D3 is neither the strict theory crafting of Titan Quest or Grim Dawn nor the; “What the hell is this and what can I do with it” journey of discovery that is Path of Exile.

    D3 is a ride that Blizzard has carefully laid out every step of the way.
    No surprises, because surprises mean players might make choices, and some of those choices might be mistakes and then they’ll go and cry on the Battle Net forums about their class of choice being unbalanced.
    PoE says “Yeah you messed up – start again” and sometimes, just a magical sometimes “Wow – you have a build no one else has ever done, and for your playstyle it is AWESOME”
    D3 never offers that. It’s a paint by numbers, hand holding guided tour in a carefully sanitised environment,

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Check Also

Xbox Series X Restock Update Today: Track on Twitter, Walmart, Best Buy and More

New consoles are on the horizon, and while Sony and Microsoft have spoken plenty about wha…