So, yeah. A few days ago this happened on Twitter:
Naturally, a LOT of people jumped on this (including yours truly) and thought right off the bat that this cryptic tweet was not at all cryptic and meant we’d be seeing a Switch version of Diablo III at some point. Well, Blizzard says nope, it was all just a misinterpreted tweet. Boo. That said, I think they’re at the very least planning something and that tweet was a means of teasing and testing the waters as far as responses to a Nintendo version. While I despise speculation, I’m about to speculate on what’s up while adding a few thoughts on this matter.
For one thing, I’m gathering based on current and upcoming PC titles that have been ported to Switch from DOOM to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim to the upcoming Wolfenstein games (as well as too many indies to count), Diablo III wouldn’t be “impossible” to to port successfully. On the other hand, games such as Blizzard’s hugely successful Overwatch would need to be completely remade from scratch for the console, something that would be fairly expensive and very much watered down on a few fronts. Or in plain English, don’t get your hopes up for that one.
Diablo III, on the other hand, can probably be targeted to run in handheld mode on the Switch at a full 1280 x 720 at a locked 30fps with that same frame rate target for docked mode. Why 30 and not the more desirable 60 as a target? Well, any multiplayer modes as well as the online play will need to be as smooth as possible and having a 30fps target across the board for all modes is going to be the best solution. Even if the team that handles the port can get it running in single player at 60fps, the drop in frame rate to half that for online or co-op would be deemed unacceptable by those who notice (which will be most people who go from solo to online play).
In terms of content, it’s pretty obvious that the Switch version would have to include all the content including the base game, Reaper of Souls and Rise of the Necromancer expansions right out of the package. I’d gather this would very likely be a premium priced game ($59.99), so giving players everything all at once will go a long way in silencing those who feel the need to gripe about the cost before realizing this is a game where you get every cent of your money’s worth once you fire it up, stay a while and loot things.
Not only that, Blizzard has the golden opportunity to mine Nintendo’s first party games for Legendary to Ancient loot drops, sets and other goodies. Hell, who wouldn’t want a Minish Cap, Skyward or Master Sword, Triforce or other themed gear from The Legend of Zelda series? Fire Emblem-based drops would also be hot items, Metroid, Kid Icarus, and other classics could make for some great new Transmogs and yep, Bayonetta-themed costumes and gear for Demon Hunters? That’s going to not only piss off console and PC DIII fans who don’t like the Switch, it may even sell a few of them on buying the system just to check out whatever cool new gear they’re not going to see elsewhere.
That and think about the brilliant idea of adding certain classic Nintendo sound effects and brief music cues into the game when certain items drop. Hey, I think it’s brilliant, so you should as well. Add in optional Amiibo use and the possibility of unique seasonal content for Switch users and you get something that’s very likely going to become an evergreen game that will do well as retail as well as digital if it’s done up right. Granted, I know Blizzard knows all this stuff already and may even be tinkering away on it in secret for a later this year or so reveal. But we’ll see what’s what at some point, as there’s no way in hell they didn’t have a clue what they were slyly implying (or is it inferring) earlier this week.
About the only thing I’d not care to see is dopey stuff like Ghom with a Kirby reskin or Waluigi clomping around as a boss or other eyeball-rolling content that felt shoved in to capitalize on anything Mario-related. Okay, maybe adding a few mascot pets to the game’s roster would be cool. A little Bowser, Toad, and Kirby? Sure. A baby Metroid, Kraid or Ripley? Yep. That stuff would be great and optional fun. But let’s not get too overboard now. Killing the hell out of the devil should be more fun than funny when all is said and done.