Hell hath no fury like a gamer scorned.
At Blizzcon 2018 over the weekend, Blizzard’s Wyatt Cheng and Matthew Burger excitedly took to the stage for a Q&A after the reveal of Diablo Immortal, a mobile MMO Action RPG.
What Cheng (lead game designer) and Burger (level designer) didn’t expect – but perhaps should have – was the extreme backlash from fans, many of whom see the announcement as a cash grab in the world of microtransaction-filled mobile games.
If the audience’s thoughts on the announcement weren’t obvious enough, one fan made it abundantly clear when he took to the microphone and stunned the Blizzard representatives with a question that had them lost for words.
Watch the moment unfold in the player above
That wasn’t the only awkward moment, either. When it was explained that the title isn’t coming to PC or console, the crowd reacted with a chorus of boos loud enough to make the Blizzard reps visibly squirm on stage.
Much of the bitterness among fans seems to stem from an October 17 blog post, in which Blizzard built hype for “some Diablo-related news” to be announced at Blizzcon. Many expected a sequel to Diablo 3 or some other project targeted at hardcore gamers, only to see the release of a mobile game that appears to be built for mainstream audiences.
For some context, Blizzard’s fanbase largely consists of some of the most hardcore console and PC gamers out there: to them, this move is a betrayal of the company’s most loyal followers.
Blizzard is being slammed left, right and centre on social media following the event, with one of the top posts on the Diablo subreddit expressing dismay at the company’s decision.
“Blizzard used to cancel games like Ghost and Titan for not meeting Blizzard quality,” it reads.
“Now they are outsourcing and reskinning games. I’m not sad, just disappointed and angry.”
Executive producer and Blizzard co-founder Allen Adham told Kotaku the company expected some backlash, but “not to this degree”.
“We know our audience here is passionately PC- and console-focused. We’ve also seen this before. We saw a similar response when we announced that we were bringing Diablo to console, and we saw a similar response to the announcement of Hearthstone.”
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