There’s been a theme to my current Google searches for new iOS games:
Games Like Diablo iOS
Diablo Clones iOS
Action RPGs Like Diablo iOS
With that said, let’s raise the question: why doesn’t Blizzard Entertainment get its act together and bring Diablo and Diablo II (and don’t be stingy — the Lord of Destruction expansion set must be included) to iOS? Blizzard needs to finally immortalize its classic computer games digitally as a mobile-friendly experience.
A Great And Worthy Game
The original Diablo was my first true gaming experience, and one I will never forget, taking root when I was a freshman in high school in 2000. My mother saw the CD-ROM on clearance for a paltry $9.95 at the local Wal-Mart, and knowing I’d probably enjoy it based off of the bleak black-and-red devil cover, she picked it up for me to give a try. What was a harmless gesture on her part turned into an obsession on mine: playing the sorcerer “Lord S” (I know, not the most elegant of adventuring names) after school and on weekends was my greatest reward.
Even after the release of Diablo II on 29 June 2000 — only months after my discovery of the first — was not enough to snuff out the earned love of the original game. At a younger age I had a strong appreciation for the aesthetics of time. The first Diablo came out in 1996, and while there were some drastic flaws (the slow and tedious walking mechanic, especially in town, comes to mind) the enjoyable elements abound and they will never die. I’d even be so bold as to rank it next to the Castlevania series as defining the genre of dark fantasy in games — whether they be computer or console.
Asking Too Much?
No, I don’t think I am asking too much. Granted, Blizzard doesn’t owe me anything, or anyone else for that matter. This isn’t an entitled demand as much as it is an impassioned request.
Exhibit A is the “enhanced edition” of Baldur’s Gate: has been converted and is available for sale in the App Store (it received three-and-a-half out of five stars compiled from 168 reviews to date). What’s more, so are Baldur’s Gate II (receiving four-and-a-half stars from 35 reviews) and Icewind Dale (receiving four stars from 16 reviews).
They were re-made in high definition by Overhaul Games, a division of Beamdog. With no research into this development, I’m assuming this project was outsourced. Though, after a small bit of Wikipedia reading (don’t judge too hard: it’s well-sourced at least) Baldur’s Gate was original developed by BioWare and published by Black Isle Studios. Currently, the guys at Beamdog are former code crunchers at BioWare, so there’s history there, which brings me to my next point…
Add Torchlight To The List, Too
If Blizzard doesn’t feel like committing the manpower toward creating digital renditions of Diablo and Diablo II, outsource the content to someone else for production. (Though, judging by recent product announcements, I’m sure they have a few programmers on hand for a project like this.)
An engaging player in cool fantasy dungeon crawlers I’d love to see get into mobile gaming is the 2008 startup Runic Games, which, funny enough, they too are partly a collective of former Blizzard North developers who created the iconic Diablo games (be aware that they weren’t responsible for the not-so-iconic Diablo III, which provided some blips of fun without having any memorable longevity). Alas, Blizzard North was dissolved in 2005.
Runic Games’ first release, Torchlight, was supposed to be (for me) a tide-me-over until the release of Diablo III, but it turned out to be a love letter to the game that started it all in my life. Some key elements include:
A fundamental dark-descent structure of uncovering new levels underneath each other (like the first Diablo)
Three core classes representing combat, agility, and magic (as expected, I was an Alchemist)
My favorite element: No Multiplayer (This landed the game its only true source of negative criticism, but for me it was one of the finest features.)
Is blood so bad that Blizzard and the Diablo-oriented minds at Runic cannot form some kind of alliance? After all, this is the team that created an entirely new game that better channeled the true spirit of Diablo than Blizzard’s own third installment to the franchise.
Now that Blizzard is free of Vivendi and is its own entity as Activision Blizzard, Inc. (they also own Sierra, which developed the Diablo: Hellfire expansion set) I’m sure something can be figured out.
Please, Please, Please!
Remember those Google searches I mentioned making? Several games popped up, like Dungeon Hunter (the first two — the good ones you have to pay for — have been removed from the App Store), Mages and Minions, Spirit Lords, Dungeon Quest, and Battleheart Legacy.
A point-and-click computer game like the Diablo series is prime material for a mobile, touch-based conversion — and the smartphones and tablets of gamers will be better for it. Why not revitalize this classic game, and its still-popular successor? If heavy games like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and BioShock can be converted, there’s no technical reason why these cannot.
Even if they were sold within a price range of $9.95 to $14.95, I’m confident sales would be more than respectable. The base content already exists: it just requires the conversion process, which I humbly admit I lack knowledge of. But something like this would market itself.
As Adria always said outside her witch’s shack, “I sense a soul in search of answers.” Here’s a soul searching for an answer: why isn’t the original Diablo, at least, a game that’s mobile yet? It will only pave the way for more games like Diablo II, Torchlight, and Sacred to make the transition as well, and that is a major win for all those who appreciate having their all-time favorite games on the go.