The original game Diablo practically defined the hack-and-slash computer game. When Blizzard Entertainment published it in 1996, programmers and designers at other game companies greedily devoured it, realizing that this game would define its genre for years to come. It’s been a mainstay franchise of the game industry ever since.
The appetite for new Diablo games is high, but with that appetite being at least temporarily served by the release of a port of Diablo III for the Nintendo Switch, it was beginning to look like Blizzard wasn’t going to be offering anything new for the players who love this game.
According to an announcement from Blizzard at this year’s BlizzCon, there actually is going to be a new Diablo game, but not for the platforms we’re used to seeing it on. The new game isn’t a step forward, but a step sideways, if you will: it’s Diablo Immortal, and it’s for mobile devices. It carries all the classic action that made the game popular in the first place.
Diablo Immortal is set five years after the shattering of the Worldstone, the event that ended Diablo II – this puts the game between Diablo II and Diablo III on the timeline. It fills in some of the gaps in the story between the two major releases.
You’ll play as your choice of six familiar heroes: the Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Crusader, Monk, Necromancer, or Wizard. There will be new abilities and story arcs for the heroes, new zones to explore, and MMO gameplay is added to the mix. The trailer suggests that up to six players can fight together simultaneously, the most in the franchise’s history.
Here’s a gameplay trailer, showing actual gameplay. What used to take a top end computer to run now fits in the palm of your hand, yet nothing of the rich texture of the game is lost.
There was speculation that Diablo Immortal was simply going to be a reskin of Crusaders of Light, but no, the new game is completely scratch built, from the ground up. It shares no code or artwork from previous games, and is not just an old horse with a new blanket.
The reaction to the new trailer, however, has been dramatically negative – so much so that Blizzard tried deleting the trailer and reposting it a couple of time to try to shake the thumbs-down votes. This has not worked. The gameplay trailer has 14K upvotes – but an alarming 213k downvotes at this writing.
Maybe Blizzard shouldn’t have teased a new Diablo title for months on end without telling people it was only going to be for people’s phones.
There’s no release date yet. You can preregister for the game now on Battle.net.