During the BlizzCon reveal of Diablo Immortal, it was discovered that Blizzard had teamed up with renown publisher NetEase for the mobile launch, and gamers noticed that the game seemed eerily similar to the Asian company’s mobile ARPG, Crusaders of Light.
VentureBeat reported on the initial similarities between Diablo Immortal and Crusaders of Light, but couldn’t conclude if the game really was a reskin.
You can check out the gameplay trailers below to compare Crusaders of Light and Diablo Immortal to see if they’re the same game or not.
In a follow-up to the controversy involving game journalists attacking their own community because gamers didn’t like the implications of a pay-to-win version of Diablo on mobile devices, Blizzard told Polygon in a piece published on November 3rd, 2018 that Diablo Immortal is not a reskin and was built from the ground-up in partnership with NetEase, with production director Dan Elggren saying…
“[Diablo: Immortal] was created from the ground up — from the initial get-go [our intention] was to create that Diablo experience on mobile,” Elggren said. “So the feel, the UI and everything around this game is built with the philosophy to make the best Diablo experience we can on a mobile platform.”
Many gamers – whether it was a reskin or not – didn’t like that Blizzard wanted to pawn off on them a mobile game that had all the signs of being another microtransaction cash-in title on mobile devices aimed at casual audiences who don’t know any better.
The backlash against Blizzard resulted in plenty of gamers downvoting the initial gameplay and cinematic trailers for Diablo Immortal, which Blizzard kept re-uploading in hopes of masking the amount of disdain and downvotes gamers had for the announcement. Even more than that, many of the dislikes were mysteriously removed from the trailers, as reported by AnimeRight. There was also a video by Mister Metokur covering the topic as well.
Allen Adham, the executive producer and co-founder of Blizzard, told Polygon that in some ways they expected resistance from the community given that even Adham recognized that the BlizzCon audience who paid to be in attendance were mostly made up of hardcore console and PC gamers, so quite naturally they weren’t going to be fond of a mobile game announcement…
“We’ve had many conversations — and I’m sure we’ll have many more actually in the aftermath of this — about the strategy of weaving mobile gaming into our BlizzCon audience, which is a very passionate desktop PC and console audience. We had a fairly similar reaction when we announced Hearthstone; if you think back to the Hearthstone announcement at [PAX] our audience at the time, [fans were] a bit unsure of what to expect from a digital card game given our history of making other game types. But then if you look at our history, part of what we do at Blizzard over many years is make different games and different genres, one after another on different platforms. So we’ve done this for a long time, and it usually starts with a little bit of sort of uncertainty and then we win [over] our community over time.”
It’s not so much that it’s a mobile game, it’s that mobile gaming is synonymous with predatory practices these days. There’s no shortage of horror stories about some kid racking up thousands (or millions) of dollars worth of microtransactions haphazardly due to how they’re implemented into mobile games. This is precisely why Belgium banned loot boxes unless the publishers have a gambling license, because they equate premium loot boxes with gambling.
In light of this controversy, one must question just how far Blizzard is wiling to go to alienate their own fanbase for a quick buck from the ever-growing casual audience located in the mobile market?
According to the images shared around the net from the Diablo Immortal lines at BlizzCon [via KIA], it doesn’t seem like too many people were excited about the upcoming game.