The rumors have been circling for a while now, and a job listing from Blizzard all but confirms it. The once unthinkable is actually happening.
Let me lay some history on you. Back in the early ’90s, long before ‘World of Warcraft’, a little company called Silicon & Synapse knocked out some sub-par ports and an unimpressive racing game for the Super Nintendo. No one was impressed. The developer pulled out a few gems like ‘The Lost Vikings’ and ‘Rock and Roll Racing’, but didn’t find its true calling until 1994 – the PC. The company made ‘Warcraft: Orcs & Humans’, changed the name to ‘Blizzard’, and never looked back.
In fact, after ‘Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness’ in 1995, Blizzard nearly ignored consoles altogether, save a quick ‘Diablo’ port for the PlayStation. ‘StarCraft 64’ exists too, sadly, but was developed by THQ subsidiary Mass Media.
From there on, it was clear sailing. Blizzard knew its market and stuck with computers for games. There have been rumors of console ports, but nothing ever came of them. Games like ‘StarCraft: Ghost’ were developed, scrapped, developed again and then scrapped again. For a decade now, Blizzard has survived only on PC and Mac owners. It’s a giant of the industry, makes some of the most influential games on the market today, and develops solely for the home computer. But that’s all about to change.
The company’s job posting page shows several positions available for work on ‘Diablo III’, including “Lead Designer, Console,” “Lead Programmer, Console,” and “Senior Producer, Console.” That can mean only one thing: ‘Diablo III’ is coming to consoles. Just to clarify, this is something that was never supposed to actually happen.
The question, inevitably, is whether this is a good or bad thing. On one hand, similar games like ‘Sacred’, ‘Marvel: Ultimate Alliance’, and ‘DeathSpank’ have showed that the style can finally work well on a console. It’s also a new market for Blizzard to take. If I could choose one company to assert its dominance over the industry, it would definitely be Blizzard.
On the other hand, console development could potentially take resources from PC development, or delay a release. It’s also a bit risky on Blizzard’s part, since typically the console versions of Blizzard games haven’t exactly been good.
For now, I remain cautiously optimistic.
More coverage at Gamasutra.
An update from Blizzard:
We’re exploring a Diablo-related concept for consoles and are currently looking to fill a few senior console-related positions on the Diablo III team. As we’ve said in the past, with proper care the gameplay could suit the console platform, and we’re interested in seeing what talent out there might be interested in such a project.
If you’re passionate about all things Diablo and have the requisite skill and experience, then head over to our jobs site to check out the positions and apply. Please note that this is not an announcement of a console title. We are first and foremost developing Diablo III for Windows and Mac PCs and don’t intend to allow any possibility of a console interpretation to delay or affect the release of the game.