On November 2, 2018, Blizzard closed its annual BlizzCon keynote by announcing, to scattered applause, a Diablo game for phones. It was a baffling marketing decision that immediately set off controversy, as fans of Blizzard’s iconic action-role-playing game franchise loudly accused the company of neglecting its PC players.
Tagged With blizzcon
There was a time, hard as it might be to remember, when Overwatch's wackiest hero was a peanut-butter-loving science ape from the moon. Earlier this year, however, he was usurped by a mech-piloting, robo-voiced, Thunderdome-battling hamster who's also from the moon. How do you top that? Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan isn't sure he wants to.
Since our deep dive into the culture of crunch underpinning Red Dead Redemption 2, and how ingratiated it is throughout the industry, developers have been a little more open about the human cost of making games.
At Blizzcon this year, I took the opportunity to ask multiple Blizzard developers on how their attitude towards crunch, and how they manage it within their own teams.
This year’s BlizzCon was an odd one on a lot of levels, but I was personally stricken by the number of friends and acquaintances who told me they’d taken weeks or months off from playing Overwatch.
Last year and the year before, it was an obsession. Lately, though, it’s felt a little stale. Despite that sentiment, game director and proud internet papa Jeff Kaplan isn’t sounding the alarms just yet.
At first glance, remastering 2002’s Warcraft III seems like a fairly straightforward task. Take the ugly bits and make them pretty. Overhaul the cutscenes. Give all the muddy terrain and building textures a 2018 makeover. Redo Arthas’ weird face. For Blizzard’s classics team, though, that’s just the beginning.
In many ways, Overwatch’s newest hero Ashe is a contradiction. She’s pinpoint-accurate at a distance, but she’s not a sniper. Her HP pool drains faster than a water balloon hitting a ceiling fan, but she can get down in the thick of things and help capture points.
Esports is a brutal world: there's a lot of gamers and not a lot of positions. But what happens when you have to compete for one of those positions while playing at 200ms at best? That's the unfortunate reality for Australia's Overwatch World Cup members, who have been trialling under some truly crappy circumstances.
People aren't happy about Diablo Immortal. Some of that is a backlash against Immortal directly, some of it is directed towards the state of mobile games, and some due to the lack of Diablo 4.
None of that is a great start for Immortal, which has ambitious plans for the Diablo formula. But judging off what was available in the Blizzcon demo, we're no closer to understanding how that ambition plays out.
Yesterday, during a BlizzCon Q&A shortly after the announcement of mobile game Diablo Immortal, a fan in a red shirt approached the mic. "Just was wondering," he said in a deadpan tone, "is this an out-of-season April Fool's joke?" The audience cheered.
At first glance, the upcoming mobile game Diablo Immortal looks a lot like Diablo III. Similar classes, similar environments, similar art, similar abilities. In the demo I played at BlizzCon, however, much of the resemblance was only skin deep.