Let me preface this by saying I have absolutely no interest in the Immortal, but I'm a big fan of the Diablo franchise and I was just as let down as everyone else by Blizzard's announcement of a mobile exclusive game at last year's Blizzcon. That said, I'm extremely curious about it.
We've heard next to nothing about the game since it's announcement, and despite Blizzard still standing by it have been relatively silent about it.
From a quick google search, there's almost nothing on the game. There's a few "Everything we know" articles and forum/reddit posts, but the only substantial pages I could find were these. A listing for the game on the google play store with no date, an article about Netease being finished with the project, and an IGN article where Blizzard talks about "learning from the controversial announcement". I'm ignoring anything Relating to Diablo 4 because I feel like it's irrelevant to Immortal.
Then there's been some of the recent shakeups at Acti-Blizzard. Massive layoffs, and a large portion of the e-sports team leaving. There's also been murmurs about loot-box regulation becoming a thing. The only reason I bring these up are because I feel like they might have some relation to Blizzard's current state/the State of the game.
So, why am I writing this? Well, I'm just genuinely curious, what's going on with Diablo Immortal? For a game from a company like Blizzard, it's very strange that there's been such little coverage.
Now, I want to hear what everyone else thinks, but I think there are a few reasons they've been so quiet.
One theory is that the game just wasn't good. Yeah, I know this just seems circle jerky, but I mean that it wasn't up to Blizzard's standards. Say what you want about them, but Blizzard does have decent quality control, more so than a lot of other companies. Outside of the Diablo 3 launch Fiasco, I can't think of a Blizzard game "not working", or being unbelievably buggy (ie: a Bethesda game). At their worst, I think that Blizzard just doesn't know how/ doesn't want to design"fun". But they obviously have a vision for their games, whether you like it or not (current state of WoW being a perfect Example of such). I think it's a distinct possibility that Blizzard did not like what Netease made. Whether it didn't function properly, or they didn't like the gameplay/mechanics of it, It was not up to Blizzard's standards. So looking back at the fact that Netease has finished working on the game, is it possible that Blizzard took it off their hands and started developing in house (which if you ask me should have been from the beginning).
On the front page of this sub is also another game published by Tencent. One that looks eerily similar to Diablo. Now, I know that it's commonplace for tencent/netease to re-use assets for releases, but I feel like there had to be some agreement on Blizzards end to not release something so similar. There's no evidence for that, but it seems like a common sense thing to not cannibalize your own game. Was there bad blood or something? It's not like Blizzard could really do anything given China's loose "copyright laws".
It's unlikely that they would straight up cancel the game, considering their feelings about announcing games too early since Titan failed, and that from other interviews/articles it seemed like something the devs legitimately wanted to make.
It's also possible that they intend to release after announcing another Diablo game- a way to build hype while simultaneously restoring some good will within the fanbase.
I think the least likely possibility is that they took the "don't you guys have phones" backlash to heart and are intending to release the game for other systems as well.
Then there's the esports and loot box aspects. Once again going back to WoW, a common sentiment going around is that WoW has become too mathematical, and that Acti-Blizzard's focus on chasing esports has been detrimental to the development process. Now, I'm in no way saying that Immortal was going to be an esport, but they sure as hell wouldn't mind profiting from it if it was marketed like one, and as we all know esports/live service games primarily made money via lootboxes. It's the way the market was, but the market's starting to shift. Customers are becoming less and less happy with Lootboxes as a mechanic and there's more and more public outcry about it by the day. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to assume how the game was going to be monetized. While the esports and lootboxes don't need to be intertwined, I think the esports division had given a lot of insight on how to monetize the game.
Essentially, They might just be reworking/rethinking how they want to profit off this.
Let me know what you guys think, because I've spent more time thinking about Diablo Immortal than I'd like.
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