Following the firestorm of gamer outrage surrounding the ill-received announcement of Diablo Immortal, Activision-Blizzard is trying to put out the flames of negative feedback by assuring gamers that things aren’t as bad as they seem.
For those who’ve been unplugged for the last few days, BlizzCon 2018 got underway this past week. And during the opening ceremony the company announced a mobile-only Diablo game called Diablo Immortal. The game is being developed in partnership with Chinese company NetEase, which immediately set off alarm bells for some. This is because NetEase is infamous for being a mobile developer focused on making money over making quality games, according to some. Things got even worse when Diablo Immortal gameplay was found to be very similar to another NetEase game,
But that was only the beginning of the backlash from this announcement. Gamers were quick to make their displeasure known by the thousands. Mountains of negative comments flooded the trailer for the newly-revealed game, and the Activision-Blizzard social media accounts were inundated with feedback, almost entirely negative in nature.
In response, Blizzard reached out to the gaming media to try and get ahead of the backlash. Co-founder Allen Adham got into it more in an interview with Kotaku. In said interview, he stressed that the company is working on multiple projects, with only a portion of the team involved in collaboration with NetEase. He also made sure to mention that all art and assets used in the game are unique to the project.
“There are actually two teams, that’s something we tried to communicate. I know our community here, there’s a concern that we are focused on this instead of that. The truth is that we have multiple Diablo teams working on multiple unannounced Diablo projects even after announcing [Immortal].”
Adham also made sure to acknowledge the fans justifiable feedback, saying that the passion the fanbase feels for the Diablo property is a good sign. Although that doesn’t mean gamers being angry justifies itself. And when the more toxic elements of the gaming community came roaring out to rally around this latest issue, highlighting one of the more unsavory characteristics of the gaming scene, I tend to agree that the fans do overreact to some degree. Although it’s impossible to ignore the backdrop that the current state of the mobile games industry creates around this particular kerfuffle. All in all, it’s very complicated, and we may need to wait until we hear more about current and future Diablo titles before we lose our minds.
“We know our audience here is passionately PC- and console-focused. We’ve also seen this before. We saw a similar response when we announced that we were bringing Diablo to console, and we saw a similar response to the announcement of Hearthstone. They love what they love and want what they want. That passion, it’s actually what drives us, and we feel it too. It’s why we make games and why we’ve made games for almost three decades now—and why our community is so passionate about our franchises. I understand their feeling and wish we could share more about all the amazing things we’re doing, not just with the Diablo franchise but across the company as a whole.”
What do you think of this whole ordeal? Will you give Diablo Immortal a chance, or are you out for good and heading for a new game?