Mark Kern, former Diablo II Producer as well as Team Lead on World of Warcraft before leaving the company, shared his opinion on the Diablo Immortal backlash that a large portion of the fanbase expressed after the reveal at BlizzCon 2018.
In a lengthy Twitter thread, he went on to say that Blizzard seems unable to understand gamers anymore. They should have anticipated the backlash and waited to reveal Diablo Immortal until a proper PC Diablo game could be showcased, he reckons.
Since I was Producer on Diablo 2, a lot of people have been asking for my thoughts on the whole “Diablo Immortal” fiasco. I hate to say it, but what you are seeing is Blizzard not understanding gamers anymore.
There is nothing wrong with having a mobile version of Diablo. In fact, I would have wanted one as an option. But the way it was hinted at, and presented, and the failure of Blizzard management to predict the backlash caught me by surprise. Blizzard used to be really gamer driven.
Blizzard coyly played up the Diablo hype, which is a good move, but failed to anticipate that their PC based audience was going to expect…well…a PC based announcement. And that following all that hype up with a *different* product is a huge bait-n-switch feeling moment.
Blizzard has said now, that they are working on multiple Diablo projects. They really should have dropped a teaser for their PC based project alongside their mobile announcement if that’s the case.
Blizzard never used to have to ask, because it was made up of hardcore gamers from top to bottom. We used to say we were our own harshest audience for our games. I would have had a line of devs outside my door telling me this was a bad move.
The fact that Blizzard was A) unprepared for this reaction and B) had no plans to mitigate it even knowing some of it was coming, is a great disappointment to me. It smacks of “Ya well, suck it down” (sorry J. Romero, wasn’t your fault).
This isn’t a toxic gamer issue, it’s not an entitlement issue. It’s just bad PR handling and …a bad culture on the part of Blizzard I’m sad to say. It’s a culture that says “we know better” and fits right in with “you think you do, but you don’t.”
Maybe you don’t know better, anymore, Blizzard. Maybe you’ve really lost touch with gamers and you are now in some billion dollar a year ivory tower. That needs some reflection on your part. Because that’s out big businesses fail. Remember Nokia? Remember Blockbuster Video?
On the other hand, Diablo creator David Brevik asked fans to give Diablo Immortal a chance during a recent live stream on Twitch. The game will launch next year on Android and iOS devices.