Blizzard has had a long history of creating iconic games and franchises; many of which of set the standard for their industry and genre. From Warcraft to Diablo, Starcraft, and their newest franchise Overwatch; the company has had a magical run of success and has seemed to be Teflon from any serious criticism as their offerings have been eagerly embraced by fans the world over.
All of that seemed to change at Blizzcon 2018 as fans expected to hear a new Diablo game announced and were underwhelmed and disappointed to learn that the announced game was a mobile game named Diablo Immortal. In the days following the showcase and backlash of negative comments toward the game and company it has been revealed that Blizzard is looking at mobile games based on their franchises.
Warcraft III is getting a Reforged edition with new animations and updated graphics but many including myself would ask why would you update an old game versus making a new entry into the series.
I am sure there are time and financial reasons behind this but it can give the appearance of moving backwards versus moving forward. Let us also not forget their planned new MMORPG game was scrapped after many years of development as it was not shaping up to be what they had hoped it would be.
The company rebounded nicely with Overwatch but since then it has seemed as if the future has become less clear as to the direction the company will follow.
For a company that was firmly established with cutting edge PC games they have transitioned lately to have console releases as well as ports of their prior classics to reach as large a base as possible.
The company has also transitioned more towards a focus on eSports even making outlets that specialize in that a priority for Blizzcon access and coverage versus more traditional outlets and forms of coverage.
The negative backlash has been large and extreme from fans and in many ways I do not think that Blizzard was expecting nor prepared for the furious negativity their announcement has received. This was supposed to be their big celebration which excites fans about what is to come. Instead it became in many ways a P.R. mess and is forcing the company into a mode that they are not used to and that is having to defend their projects and announcements from a hostile press.
I have my reasons for being unhappy with many aspects of the company in recent years but the recent announcements has even further diminished any enthusiasm for what they are bringing to consumers. I am trying to stay optimistic that there will be other great things to follow and that I should wait and see, but I find myself caring less and less about their content and the company to the point that we are already limiting our coverage plans for them in the future.
Perhaps this is simply an overreaction on the part of gamers and despite a loud backlash Diablo Immortal and its likely plethora of micro transactions will be eagerly embraced by gamers. I will not be one of them and neither will most of my staff and it is time for Blizzard to once again become an innovator and return to what made them great.