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The Diablo III Switch Port Took Nine Months

Illustration for article titled The iDiablo III/i Switch Port Took Nine Monthsem/emem/em

It’s official: Diablo III is coming to Switch. Later this year, you’ll be able to cosplay as Ganondorf from Legend of Zelda and kick the crap out of Diablo from Diablo. It’s the first Blizzard game on a Nintendo platform in 15 years, but fortunately, Blizzard had help.

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During a meeting in San Francisco earlier this week, senior producer Pete Stilwell said that porting Diablo III was a relatively smooth process, with “conversion on the graphics side” of things presenting the biggest challenge. Nintendo offered assistance with trouble-shooting, though. Stilwell said the experience paved the way for potential future Blizzard ports to the Switch.

“Yeah,” he replied when asked if other Blizzard games could end up on Switch. “Without going beyond [the Diablo port], I think it was a good exploration into the platform and into the relationship with Nintendo that has been extremely positive, extremely healthy and forward-thinking.”

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In a lot of ways, Diablo III was ideally positioned for a Switch port. Blizzard had to re-tune and re-imagine the game—originally PC-only—for consoles a few years ago, so the roadmap was already there. Plus, it wasn’t just Nintendo helping Blizzard with the Switch version: Stilwell said that a team of “eight or nine” Blizzard staffers collaborated with Iron Galaxy, the studio that helped bring Skyrim to Switch last year. The whole process of bringing Diablo III to Switch took them about nine months.

If you think this means Overwatch on Switch is just around the corner, though, think again. Stilwell said that there was “nothing to say about that today” when asked about Overwatch, and he added that each potential port of a Blizzard game will be its own process.

“Blizzard is really comprised of many unique game teams, so the game engines are equally unique,” he said. “I wish I could say it’s simple, like ‘flip a switch.’ But it’s not.”

He did, however, tell GameSpot that Overwatch on Switch is “feasible,” so that’s something.

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As for Diablo on other mobile devices, that, too, is its own can of worms. “I don’t think there’s current interest,” he said when asked if Diablo III could end up on smartphones next. “I think that has another set of problems and challenges with it.” He was similarly skeptical of the idea of Blizzard doing a game developed with Switch in mind first and foremost.

For now, the focus is on Diablo III’s Switch version and letting people who might’ve only been privy to the game’s rocky, auction-house-embattled launch back in 2012 know that, hey, the water’s fine now.

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“Hopefully, with the renewed attention around [the game], people will find out that it’s not just that version of the game you knew right after launch,” he said. “There’s meaningful change with Loot 2.0 and the Kanai’s Cube and all the other cool things that aren’t necessarily on the box.”

“Where the game was at launch compared to where it is now, it’s light years forward.”

Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, streaming, PC gaming. Writing a book about streamers tentatively titled "STREAMERS" to be published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in the future.

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DISCUSSION

lilgamerman
lilgamerman

This game is so huge these days. It’s really fun and the moment-to-moment is great, but it’s almost overwhelming. I played on PC at launch and liked it but bounced off because of the auction house element. Played it again last December on PS4 after a Black Friday sale and its SO much better, but there is just so much content there that you could play for hundreds of hours (200? 300? 1,000?). It’s like walking into an MMO that’s been around for years and having all that content— without the shame and frustration of being so much lower level than everyone else.

Seems like a perfect fit for long road trips and commutes.I’ll just be a little ashamed for the first 10-20 hours that I spent a full $60 on an old game, but by hour 30 I’ll probably be completely over it.