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Diablo 2 producer says backlash over Blizzcon keynote was Blizzard's fault

By Cal Jeffrey · 9 replies
Nov 5, 2018
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  1. At last Friday’s Blizzcon keynote, fans were extremely disappointed to find out that Blizzard’s big Diablo announcement was a game for mobile devices. The company has teased that it had some news on the Diablo front in the lead up to the convention. Fans thought they might be getting a remaster or something along those lines with maybe a hint of a Diablo IV being in the works.

    “These are very exciting times—we currently have multiple teams working on different Diablo projects and we can’t wait to tell you all about them . . . when the time is right. 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”

    Instead, developers announced they were partnering with NetEase to bring the franchise to mobile devices. The Diablo community was not amused. There was a collective online hissy fit, and one Blizzcon attendee even asked the devs if this was some kind of April Fools prank. The backlash was fierce.

    Ex-employee and former producer on Diablo 2 Mark Kern called it “a huge bait-n-switch feeling moment.” Kern believes Blizzard has lost touch with gamers. In a series of tweets, he explained how back in his day the company was made up of hardcore gamers and this type of ill-advised announcement would never have occurred.

    “I hate to say it, but what you are seeing is Blizzard not understanding gamers anymore,” said Kern. “There is nothing wrong with having a mobile version of Diablo … But the way it was hinted at, and presented, and the failure of Blizzard management to predict the backlash caught me my surprise [sic].”

    He said that had this plan been presented back when he was still with the company, it would have never gotten out of the office.

    “I would have had a line of devs outside my door telling me [the Immortal reveal] was a bad move.”

    The good news is that fans are likely to get over their anger, especially when they learn that Blizzard is working on D4. In the lead up to Blizzcon, the studio made it clear that multiple Diablo projects were being worked on — some they would announce, but “bigger news” was not quite ready to be revealed. The bigger news certainly does sound like a new game is in the works.

    Indeed, Kotaku reports that two anonymous sources close to Blizzard indicated the fourth installment to the series was going to be revealed at Blizzcon, but the announcement was pulled at the last minute.

    “The original plan for BlizzCon 2018, according to two people familiar with Blizzard’s plans, was for Blizzard to announce the mobile game Diablo Immortal and then end on a video in which company co-founder Allen Adham told the audience that a proper Diablo 4 was in development but not ready to show just yet.”

    The decision to hold off hinged on the fact that the D4 project has seen a lot of changes in the last four years that it has reportedly been in the works. Furthermore, it is likely to change some more, and developers felt it was premature to announce it before things were more settled.

    Blizzard had no comment to Kotaku’s report, so take it as a rumor for now. However, the company’s previous statements on the matter seem to strongly indicated that we could be getting an official announcement for Diablo 4 very soon.

    Permalink to story.

  2. axiomatic13

    axiomatic13 TS Maniac Posts: 215   +153

    Blizzard management had every opportunity to know this was a bad idea. Look back just six months earlier? Check how bad the reveal/reaction for EA's Command and Conquer mobile game announcement. EXACTLY the same result.
  3. Jyrkz

    Jyrkz TS Booster Posts: 84   +75

    Rip bliz.
    Morris Minor likes this.
  4. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 685   +513

    So far all I've seen across the web is dislike how it was presented. Is the game itself any good or worth it? I won't buy a game that has microtransactions or loot box gambling.
    Morris Minor likes this.
  5. maddogmcgee

    maddogmcgee TS Enthusiast Posts: 31   +43

    It's not very far in development because they announced it really early. Devs were not able to say much as major parts of the game are not developed yet. It's being developed by a Chinese company known for churning out p2w mobile games that appeal to whales. The Chinese company has provided the engine and controls, looks like Blizzard is providing the artwork and story. The current web conjecture is that the Chinese company will also be doing the majority of the game design.
    Morris Minor likes this.
  6. kevbev89

    kevbev89 TS Maniac Posts: 181   +160

    As long as it lines their pockets... :\
    Morris Minor likes this.
  7. Shotgunnner

    Shotgunnner TS Member Posts: 19   +16

    They need to bring out Diablo 4 and hurry up cause Im not going to wait much longer.
  8. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,646   +304

    From what I've read from reporters who played it, it's pretty enjoyable, though there's still work to be done.

    Far as I understand, Blizzard hasn't yet decided on how exactly to monetise it. I imagine that microtransactions will be there, but the question is how play to win it will be. Microtransactions by themselves aren't that terrible, IMO (I bought cosmetic items in EQ2, for example; I have no problem with that).
  9. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 685   +513

    Thanks for the info. I will not play a game that is Pay2Lose. I also do not buy cosmetics because I don't play a game to dress up my "doll". Their goal is to just drain our wallet.
    Morris Minor likes this.
  10. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,646   +304

    You don't have to. The good thing about cosmetic items is that they don't affect gameplay, so those who don't want them don't lose anything, and those who do want them provide a revenue stream.

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