Blizzard Entertainment is making Diablo: Immortal with Chinese mobile developer NetEase, lead designer Joe Hsu told GamesBeat during an interview at BlizzCon 2018 on Friday at Anaheim, California. NetEase is not developing the game alone.
Blizzard announced Diablo: Immortal at the end of the event’s opening ceremonies. Immortal is a multiplayer mobile version of the action role-playing game series. I enjoyed my hands-on demo with Immortal, but some Diablo fans on sites like Twitter and Reddit have been raging that they aren’t getting Diablo IV or a Diablo II remaster instead.
One popular refrain you see in these angry threads is that Blizzard has farmed the game out to NetEase. According to Blizzard, this isn’t true. When I asked what each company was working on for the game, Hsu responded:
It’s really a co-development. There’s no clear divide — you do this; we do that. From both sides, we can come up with ideas and work on implementation. It feels like one team, even though we’re not physically together all the time. It’s a very good partnership, where we’re all in it together.
The anger surrounding Diablo: Immortal is reaching high levels. On YouTube, even popular Blizzard content maker Octavian “Kripparrian” Morosan is being called a shill and receiving mostly downvotes on a video where he says people should give Diablo: Immortal a chance. Kripparian has often been a vocal critic of Hearthstone, the Blizzard game he plays the most.
This community anger is leading fans to echo the same complaints about Immortal, like this claim that Blizzard is farming Immortal development or that Immortal is a reskin of an existing NetEase game called Crusaders of Light (which Blizzard says is also not true).