Diablo: Immortal, a new Diablo game coming for iOS/Android was announced a few days ago at BlizzCon 2018. It features a roster of 6 characters, familiar locations, and skills taken from the Diablo universe and brings them to the mobile (smartphone) platform. This is different from the Nintendo Switch approach as they have a full Diablo 3 port. The story is said to take place between the stories of Diablo 2 and 3.
Personally I was excited for a mobile Diablo, mobile gaming is a big thing now and playing an Action RPG game similar to Diablo can be a decent experience on the go. Games like Dungeon Hunter and Titan Quest have already shown the potential, so what better way to reach full potential than to play the king of Action RPGs Diablo itself on your mobile phone. The wide audience benefits everyone, both blizzard and the customers. It exposes people to Diablo, people who’ll otherwise have no interest in it, proven by games like PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legends. Imagine talking about Diablo lore with your wife, parents, boss, or coworkers, all because they got hooked into it with Diablo Immortal.
This worked for relatively similar games like Ragnarok Online and Dragon Nest, popular MMORPGs that kinda moved from the PC to Mobile genre. People were happy to learn that now only they’ll be able to play a new iteration of the favorite game, they’ll also be able to play it on their mobile phones. This is a more popular and better received approach in Asian countries it seems, where online gaming and the mobile genre is a lot more popular.
However for a big PC game franchise like Diablo, with fans spanning all over the globe including a lot westerners, the announcement was met with mostly negative reaction, especially that it has been a long while since a new Diablo game or even Diablo III content was announced. Most of the fan base are hardcore PC gamers and the move has been widely regarded as a slap in the face of fans who have supported the franchise for years.
With the rumors that Blizzard were working on multiple Diablo projects, most of the attendees at Blizzcon were PC gamers waiting for an Diablo 4 announcement, what they get is an entirely new game not for the most of them. If this was just a port, people wouldn’t react so negatively, like with the Switch version, or the announcement of PUBG mobile.
If they had announced Diablo 4 together with Diablo Immortal, this would have had an entirely different ending. Similar to how Bethesda announced Fallout Shelter along with Fallout 4, and Elder Scrolls Blades with Elder Scrolls VI (which ALMOST didn’t get announced, and could have possibly led to a similar backlash Blizzard is having)
No worries though as it’s almost certain now that they are making Diablo 4. Obviously the partnership with NetEase and the lack of new Diablo III content or meaningful seasons means that the Blizzard Diablo team is busy working on something else. As to the reason why they won’t announce it, maybe the game is still too early to be announced like Elder Scrolls VI. And they just wanted to save the announcement for later when they had made more progress.