According to senior staff members of the studio's Diablo Immortal team, many of the best developers in Blizzard are working on mobile game projects. Diablo Immortal is the first mobile-exclusive title that Blizzard has made using one of its popular IPs, and it won't be Blizzard's only mobile game, either.
Blizzard's foray into mobile gaming first started with the mobile version of Hearthstone, one of the most popular online card games in the entire world. While Hearthstone got a mobile version after being successfully launched on PC, however, Diablo Immortal is going straight to handhelds. Diablo Immortal is being designed as a mobile game at heart right down to requiring users to maintain an internet connection to play it, yet another point of contention for a game that has already seen much controversy in the first week of it being a known entity.
In an interview on YouTube, Executive Producer Allen Adham and Principal Designer Wyatt Cheng were asked about where they see Diablo Immortal, and Blizzard as a whole, going post-announcement. Adham had a particularly interesting take, optimistically tagging mobile gaming as a huge part of Blizzard's development process in the future:
"In terms of Blizzard's approach to mobile gaming, many of us over the last years have shifted from playing primarily desktop to playing many hours on mobile. And we have many of our best developers now working on new mobile titles across all of our IPs. Some of them are with external partners, like Diablo Immortal. Many of them are being developed internally only."
The news that Blizzard has an eye toward mobile isn't shocking given the interviews that have surfaced since Diablo Immortal's BlizzCon announcement, but the developer allocation in-studio is surprising. If Blizzard is willing to move some of their best developers over to mobile game design, then the company clearly has bigger plans for mobile gaming than experts first anticipated. While it isn't confirmation that Blizzard is outright moving its focus from PC to mobile - nor does that seem to be the plan - it is tangible evidence that the company considers mobile a key part of its future rather than just an exploratory design space.
Even the biggest skeptics of mobile gaming have to admit that this isn't a bold or particularly bizarre decision from Blizzard. Hearthstone has been a smash hit, and despite the early criticism of Diablo Immortal, it's likely to be one too. Even World of Warcraft's companion app has been widely praised by fans. With games like StarCraft 2 beginning to fall behind esports competitors on PC, is it much of a stretch to imagine that Blizzard would take a shot at reviving the IP with a new mobile spinoff?
Given the way Adham is talking about things, it probably won't be long before we see what other mobile titles Blizzard has cooking. Hopefully by the time those are revealed, the community will have calmed down a little and we won't be diving headfirst into the next Diablo Immortal fiasco.