Blizzard’s quadrilogy of Diablo games are busy experiences to throw at your eyeballs. Between the hordes of hell doing throwing themselves at you and hoping your blades will break after you’ve slain a million demons, there’s a whole lot of other stuff happening at any given time. Resource management, making certain that your character has enough power to pull off certain skills, juggling health potions, and keeping a teleport scroll on standby just in case, makes for a packed monitor of action.
So how do you translate all of that digital information, onto a smaller smartphone screen? By making those iconic systems of Diablo more fluid, focusing on the core of each character and their various abilities. “We put a lot of time and energy into making certain that the controls feel and play as good as possible,” Diablo Immortal technical designer Kristopher Zierhut explained.
The challenge is that you’ve just got this smaller space that you’re working with. Diablo 1 is iconic when it did this, because you had these globes for your health and your mana onscreen. There just isn’t room to show those resources on a mobile device.
Because we don’t have that energy resource being displayed, the way your abilities work is different. Instead of them consuming a resource like rage or mana, most of them have their own cooldowns. There are some that have their own dedicated source of energy, like the wizard’s ability to disintegrate. I can disintegrate for a period of time and its energy bar will run down while I’m using it, and then I have to wait for it to refill before I can use it some more.
We made those kinds of adjustments to keep all the complexity of using all these different abilities together. Each character is going to have five abilities equipped at once, a health potion, their legendary items, their legendary gems, and their paragon powers. All that stuff is still going to be there, but to make the interface a little bit easier, they’ll have their own separate cooldowns or energy resources.
There’s no solid release date yet for Diablo Immortal, but it’ll be popping up on the App Store and Google Play eventually. Like any free-to-play game it’ll feature in-app purchases, although Blizzard has a few ideas to keep that side of the game reserved for showing off your Barbarian or Crusader in a new light with purely cosmetic items. More on that, later this week.
Last Updated: February 22, 2021