This week, Blizzard Entertainment announced that the next game in the Diablo franchise comes Immortal, a free-to-play mobile title. Leading up to the announcement was loads of hype from gamers and the company itself, mostly due to the series closing off this year’s Blizzcon presentation. The community has responded with tremendous amounts of backlash, which is mostly justified, but the game still remains. Diablo: Immortal may end up being a good thing for the series, but has unfortunately been overlooked by the truly abysmal handling of this reveal.

Diablo was placed at the end of the keynote conference to show off a major announcement, which caused many to speculate that Diablo 4 or even Diablo 2 Remastered was on the way. As the mobile game was unveiled, fans were dumbfounded and, justifiably, pissed off. Diablo: Immortal’s reveal trailer on Youtube has since been met with over 300,000 downvotes and has been, allegedly, deleting negative comments. During a Q&A panel with developers, one fan went as far as asking if this game was “a late April Fool’s joke.”

There is no doubt that Blizzard completely fumbled this announcement. Hyping fans up for a mobile game with nothing else to show is embarrassing. At least, Bethesda knew to showcase The Elder Scrolls: Blades in the middle of its E3 presentation followed by a quick teaser for The Elder Scrolls VIjust so fans knew there was more to come in the franchise. Blizzard did nothing of the sort, even though Diablo 4 is currently being worked on. The developer was also seemingly aware of the hype and attempted to downplay expectations in a forum post stating “We know what many of you are hoping for and we can only say that “good things come to those who wait.”

Even though fans are fuming over Diablo: Immortal, it does not automatically equate to a bad game. Mobile games are seen as a cheap money grab to Western audiences, so it’s strange that Blizzard didn’t see this backlash coming. However, this does not mean that all mobile games are bad. Yes, most of them are ad-filled and packed with microtransactions, but Nintendo has been able to release high-quality releases with Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem: Heroes. Ubisoft’s South Park: Phone Destroyer and Square Enix’s GO series showcase how a triple-A developer can utilize mobile devices for an engaging experience. Blizzard may not be so different from these companies.

Since Chinese developer, NetEase, was revealed as the game’s partner in development, their past works have been looked at much closer. Many have begun to claim that Immortal is, in fact, a reskin of NetEase’s Endless of God and Crusaders of Light. These games do look a bit similar, but they were already dubbed as Diablo clones. NetEase has the opportunity to take all the best elements of their previous games and insert them into a fully-fledged Diablo experience alongside the help of Blizzard. It’s an opportunity that is ripe for a mobile release, but they have to be careful with how microtransactions are handled, or surely there will be more backlash to come.

Diablo Immortal Deserves a ChanceDiablo Immortal Deserves a Chance

Although Diablo 4 was not announced, it is definitely coming at some point in the future. The development team has stated that multiple projects are currently in the works, but they take time to make. For instance, it took 12 years after Diablo 2 until Diablo 3 was released. At that time, many were also skeptical because of its console version, but that proved to turn out okay. More gamers had been introduced to the series which allowed for work to continue on the franchise after Diablo 3’s shaky start. This is another similar occasion that may aid in the funding of future iterations and should not be quickly overlooked.

Fans of the franchise can still enjoy the lore of the series since Immortal takes place in between Diablo 2 and 3. It is also a fully-fledged action-RPG, so it doesn’t seem like a huge departure from the series, but time is sure to tell whether it can hold its own. Just because the game is a mobile title doesn’t mean that it’ll be judged any differently. This is still a Blizzard title and can garner just as much criticism as Diablo 3 did during its launch. At least there is support for Diablo, with a Nintendo Switch port and an exclusive amiibo, unlike what Blizzard has done to the Starcraft series, but that is a whole ‘nother story.

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