On Friday, Blizzard pulled the curtain on an ambitious new project from one of its most beloved series: Diablo Immortal, a mobile spin on Diablo. Fans were… furious?
In the wake of the announcement, an army of Blizzard fans materialized on social media to deride the exciting news of a brand new Diablo game — the first in six years. One especially graceless fan asked the developers, in person, if this was an early April Fool’s joke.
Mashable’s Kellen Beck zeroed in on the blowback after trying Diablo Immortal for himself at BlizzCon, the annual event where the reveal happened.
“Grow up,” Kellen wrote. “You are entitled to nothing. Game companies owe you nothing. You don’t just get to have whatever you want and then throw a tantrum when your own personal dreams don’t come true.”
Unfortunately, “throw a tantrum” is exactly what a bunch of fans did in the hours after the announcement. The dude that asked the “April Fool’s” question was crowned a “hero” by angry fans (his idiotic question also spawned a parody account aimed at making fun of gamer entitlement).
Here, have one tweet that I think embodies the ridiculousness of this latest gamer tantrum (not the tweet itself, obviously; the screencapped tweet inside the below tweet):
I’ll distill it all down here so we don’t have to venture any further into troll Twitter. Diablo 3, the last properly new game in the series, launched in 2012. It’s had a couple of (well-received, largely game-changing) expansion packs as well as a string of console releases, most recently for Switch. But 2012 is when the last truly new Diablo game launched.
Blizzard has a reputation for taking its time with releases. Where most studios and publishers paint themselves into a corner by announcing release dates way ahead of time, Blizzard is more careful. “When it’s done” is the common refrain that’s recited whenever someone asks about the next Diablo or StarCraft.
That said, six years is a long time in game development terms. Most big-ticket releases take three or four years to build and fans of Diablo are primed for a new game. There had been heavy expectation in the months leading to BlizzCon 2018 that a Diablo 4 reveal was coming.
Then Blizzard threw the cold water of reality on those hopes just a couple weeks before the big show. A blog post from the developer didn’t come out and say “No Diablo 4, sorry” explicitly, but it was pretty evidently aimed at tempering expectations.
A mobile version of Diablo might not be for every fan, but that’s OK. It doesn’t have to be.
“We appreciate your patience as our teams work tirelessly to create nightmarish experiences worthy of the Lord of Terror,” the post reads. “While we won’t be ready to announce all of our projects, we do intend to share some Diablo-related news with you at the show.”
That’s exactly what happened. There wasn’t a big Diablo 4 reveal. There was, however, a Diablo-related reveal. A cool mobile version of Diablo. It might not be for every fan, but that’s OK. It doesn’t have to be.
Unfortunately, lots of people who play video games don’t actually understand how they’re made. One common belief among Immortal haters is that Blizzard’s focus on the mobile game means Diablo 4 will take even longer to come out. They hate the mobile game not because of what it is, but because of what it means for what they really want.
Another “argument” you’ll see a lot of if you delve into the Blizzard trolling: No one asked for this mobile Diablo game. To which I say: So what?
Blizzard is a team of creators. The studio isn’t a sequel factory. It’s a business where creative-minded artists come together around the ideas that excite them. That process leads to the creation of worlds and franchises that beget other, related ideas.
Diablo Immortal is neat and surprising exactly because no one asked for it. It’s a new way to play Diablo. It might even introduce a whole bunch of new people to the series. That’s great news! More fans means more income for Blizzard. (More income pays for more resources and gives games a better shot at being amazing, to be clear.)
Fortunately, the social media noise is just that: Noise. Entitled gamers are a loud bunch, but they define the “vocal minority.” We see them most visibly when stuff like this comes up because they attack news they don’t like with an unhinged degree of passion, even when it’s an incomplete picture.
Diablo Immortal‘s reveal amounts to a pair of trailers: A cinematic look at the game’s story/world and a gameplay-centric look at what Immortal actually is. Two. Trailers. No one other than BlizzCon attendees who have tried the game firsthand really understands what this is yet. Angry fans are yelling at a concept, springing off their vague, incorrect idea of how game development works.
I started off writing this with the intent of sharing a look at how reactions to Diablo Immortal were playing out on social media. But I realized as I started unpacking my thoughts on all of this: There’s nothing new to this episode. We’ve been here before.
A segment of the Blizzard fan community is mad because of some stupid bullshit they’ve manufactured entirely out of their own ignorance. That “April Fool’s joke” guy was an asshole for asking that question. And if you’re holding that guy up as some kind of a hero, or even just attacking Blizzard for making something you’re not into, you’re an asshole too.