Blizzard has made a smartphone spin-off of Diablo and fans are so angry theyre already petitioning to have it cancelled.
At the annual Blizzcon event at the weekend Blizzard ended the show with the reveal of smartphone game Diablo Immortal… and it was not warmly received.
By all accounts the game is actually quite good, but the complaints stem from two main issues, starting with the fact that Blizzard are making Immortal instead of a new Diablo on PC (hardcore Diablo fans dont even like the fact that Diablo III is on consoles).
But theres also the argument that many fans paid to watch Blizzcon live and this was not the sort of reveal they were expecting for the finale. Especially as a remaster of Warcraft III was announced before it, which to many fans would imply that what was next would be more exciting – not less.
The point about virtual tickets is fair enough; they cost hundreds of dollars and its pretty obvious hardcore fans would never be that interested in a mobile game. But as always seems to be the case reasonable complaints have already given way to pure hysteria.
The lighting rod for fan discontent was a Q&A question at Blizzcon itself, where one attendee asked: Is this an out-of-season April Fools joke?
He was roundly cheered by the rest of the audience and Blizzard has been on the defensive ever since.
Part of the problem is that fans completely misinterpreted a pre-show blog, which gave fairly clear hints that the much-rumoured Diablo IV would not be unveiled this year.
These are very exciting times – we currently have multiple teams working on different Diablo projects and we cant wait to tell you all about them… when the time is right, reads the blog.
We know what many of you are hoping for and we can only say that good things come to those who wait, 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.
For some reason this was taken as meaning thered definitely be some kind of tease of Diablo IV and they were riled up further when, after it became obvious there wouldnt be, designer Wyatt Cheng asked jokingly, Do you guys not have phones?
A conspiracy theory also quickly sprung up that the game was just a reskin of smartphone game Crusaders Of Light by Chinese company NetEase, who are making Immortal with Blizzard. The smoking gun is supposed to be that the control systems are very similar, even though its pretty much the only way to play that sort of game on a touchscreen.
A far more reasonable concern, though, is whether or not Diablo Immortal will have microtransactions, which Blizzard has been suspiciously evasive about so far.
The general reaction is all very reminiscent of when Diablo III, which by coincidence was released on Switch last week, was revealed and fans were furious the graphics were too colourful. So Diablo fandom does have some history with overreaction.
As you can probably guess theres already a petition to have Immortal cancelled, the YouTube trailers have been downvoted to oblivion (with Blizzard desperately trying to delete negative comments), and Reddit in particular is absolutely seething with rage.
This isnt the first time fans have got upset about a mobile spin-off this year either, as EAs Command & Conquer: Rivals provoked a similarly angry reaction back in June. Except it was never as bad as this and yet, unlike EA, Blizzard has made it very clear that multiple other projects – almost certainly including Diablo IV – are already underway.
Its also reminiscent of the fan reaction to Pokémon: Lets Go Pikachu and Eevee, where fans are upset the game is being aimed at newcomers to the franchise – even though Nintendo has made it very clear therell be a mainline sequel next year.
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