Blizzard landed themselves in a bit of hot water over the weekend when their Diablo announcement ended up being a mobile-exclusive title, with no console or PC franchise entry in sight. After immense amounts of backlash, it turns out the announcement may not have gone quite as Blizzard had originally planned. A report by Kotaku’s Jason Schreier indicates that the company had originally planned to tease Diablo 4, but it was pulled at the last minute, leaving a void that caused the disappointment of expectant fans.
Few publishers and developers can have an entire massive convention devoted just to them and their games, but Blizzard is a long lauded studio with a great stable of games and franchises that warrant just such an event. At the BlizzCon 2018 opening ceremony Blizzard took the opportunity to reveal a number of things, such as the 29th character for Overwatch. Near the end of the ceremony, fans finally got what they thought they’d been waiting for: a Diablo announcement. Except it wasn’t the sequel they’d been hoping for. Diablo Immortal is a free-to-play mobile title, and with that, Blizzard concluded their announcements. No Diablo 4 trailer. Not even a tease. Just a free-to-play mobile game that many fans saw as a stain on the franchise they loved.
Schreier’s report cites to sources familiar with the situation, both of whom said that Blizzard had intended to show Diablo Immortal and then end with a brief teaser confirming Diablo 4. The teaser was going to be a video from Blizzard Co-Founder Allen Adham, who would tell everyone that Diablo 4 was indeed in development, but not quite ready to show off yet. Those plans were changed in the last couple of weeks, due to Blizzard being uncomfortable with committing to an announcement just yet. Apparently, Diablo 4 has “changed drastically in the last four years,” with Kotaku reporting it’s gone through two different iterations under two different directors.
Well before the BlizzCon fiasco, Blizzard wanted to temper any expectations that Diablo fans might have, while still reassuring them that the title they are waiting for was coming. ““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,” an October 17, 2018 blog post from the company said.
Diablo Immortal may have disappointed fans by being a free-to-play mobile game, but Blizzard already announced that there are multiple Diablo projects in the works. The company as good as announced a fresh entry to the series, and if these reports are anything to go by, we almost got official confirmation of Diablo 4 over the weekend. While the announcement that actually happened may have been a little tone deaf as Blizzard failed to read the room, it’s just a matter of time before we hear additional details about Diablo 4 and potentially other Diablo projects the studio has in the works.