When rumors started surfacing that Blizzard had a big Diablo announcement prepped for its annual convention, fans naturally prepared themselves for the next game in the franchise: Diablo 4. But they prepared wrong, and instead saw Diablo Immortal.
Near the end of the opening ceremony for Blizzard's annual BlizzCon convention Friday, the company announced that would debut on a completely new platform: mobile devices.
That's unexpected, to be sure, but Diablo Immortal promises to be more than just a watered-down tablet version of the original trilogy. Blizzard claims that Diablo Immortal will be not only a true action RPG, but an in-depth online multiplayer experience.
Specifically, Blizzard said Diablo Immortal would feature large, "shared outdoor zones" where players could explore the overworld and encounter other players online. If you meet a friend in that overworld, you'll be able to invite them to an instanced dungeon for a more traditional Diablo experience.
And Blizzard stresses that this is a traditional "fully-fledged" Diablo experience, complete with six traditional classes, challenging boss fights and deep gameplay. And, true enough, the onstage announcement showed off Barbarian, Crusader, Demon Hunter, Necormancer, Wizard and Monk classes. Blizzard also says the game has an active place in Diablo lore, taking place in the lull of time between Diablo 2 and Diablo 3.
It's an interesting and ambitious take on the franchise, but fan reaction is already mixed. Shortly after the announcement, the team took questions from the audience. There were audible boos when the team said they had no plans to bring the game to PC. One audience member asked if it was an "out of season April Fool's joke."
It's not. The team says the game is only coming to iOS and Android for now, and it's doubling down on the choice to keep this game mobile.
"Our mobile phones are super powerful super computers," Blizzard's Wyatt Cheng said. "We're walking around with full-fledged gaming devices in our pocket and we want to make a full-fledged game for mobile."
Diablo Immortal does not have a release date. The team says it will be available "when it's ready."
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