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Blizzard's Diablo mobile game meets community backlash

NetEase co-developed Diablo Immortal sparks online petition, Blizzard categorises response as fan "passion"

Blizzard Entertainment is bringing Diablo to iOS and Android, and in doing so has incurred the wrath of a small, incredibly vocal part of the game's fanbase.

Diablo Immortal, which is co-developed with NetEase, was announced at Blizzcon this weekend, marking the classic series' debut on mobile. Blizzard described the new game as an MMO, and an experience designed to be "living, breathing, and constantly evolving."

New storylines, character classes, loot and challenges will be added to the game on a regular basis, making Diablo Immortal a game that could be played for years to come.

"With their incredible passion for Diablo and proven mobile expertise, the development team has spawned an ultra-responsive and breathtakingly beautiful mobile game, and we can't wait for players to get their hands on it," said Blizzard president J. Allen Brack in a statement.

A Diablo game for mobile makes a lot of sense from a business perspective, and having such an accessible entry point for the series would seem to be a good thing for the community, too. However, Diablo Immortal has actually proved controversial, stirring a part of that community into action.

A petition calling for the project to be cancelled was drawn up soon after the game was announced, and it has since collected almost 30,000 signatures.

The reasons for this ire are numerous, but for the most part it seems to be rooted in the fact that the next Diablo game isn't a full sequel, and won't be playable on PC or console. Speaking to Kotaku , Blizzard co-founder Allen Adham admitted the company's surprise at the the size and intensity of the backlash, but he didn't categorise the reaction as entitlement.

"They love what they love and want what they want," he said. "That passion, it's actually what drives us, and we feel it too... I understand their feeling and wish we could share more about all the amazing things we're doing, not just with the Diablo franchise but across the company as a whole."

It should be noted that Blizzard said before Blizzcon that it is working on multiple Diablo projects, and it has restated that fact in the aftermath of the backlash.

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Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.