The internet has finally caught up with the recent Activision Blizzard 2020 Q3 Investors Call and it is everywhere… Activision Blizzard plans to bring Warcraft, StarCraft, and Overwatch to mobile. But not only that. Some of the franchises are coming to console as well. The tricky part is that none of this was spelled out exactly that way, in those words. But for non-believers, the quote speaks for itself.
Blizzard Franchises coming to iOS & Android
This is what Activision Blizzard CEO said in his opening statement during the investors’ call:
Blizzard has also dedicated creative talent focused on delivering multiple mobile experiences in the coming years. Our franchises are well-suited for global mobile, console and PC gaming audiences.
And we’re determined to deliver compelling mobile experiences for both existing fans of our franchises and the hundreds of millions of players around the world who haven’t yet played our games.
Reading between the lines here, there is so much to unpack out of that quote alone — and I am not even done yet. Those words came out of Robert Kotick. Daniel Alegre expanded upon that — but let’s focus first on this quote above.
Let’s streamline the quote a bit. By saying “Our franchises are well-suited for gobal console audiences” — you have to seriously think about the implications of what he is saying here. For example: these are the Blizzard games currently played in console right now — Diablo III and Overwatch. Therefore, “our franchises” well-suited for console are the franchises that are not yet in console. Well, let me think — what are the candidates left?
- Warcraft in console — World of Warcraft, Warcraft III, or new game based in the Warcraft universe. If the later, then what kind of genre?
- StarCraft in console — StarCraft II (well, without a keyboard this doesn’t work). Well, there have been rumors about Keyboard and Mouse support for Xbox Series X and PS5. PS4 already does this, but PS5 is a far better architecture. But this could also mean other type of genre based in the StarCraft franchise.
- Heroes of the Storm — Pretty positive that this moba game can translate well to consoles. You only use 4 ability buttons most of the time.
- Hearthstone — now this one is intriguing. Hearthstone has grown exponentially over the years with at least 3 yearly major content updates around the clock. Is there room for a card-game in the console? Surely, yes. How does it translate to a console controller, I don’t even want to overstrain neurons overthinking that.
- Diablo IV — no-brainer. If Diablo III is a console game, Diablo IV is coming to the Xbox Series X and PS5 eventually. Just a matter of time.
Blizzard Entertainment has only announced one mobile game is currently in development: Diablo Immortal. By saying that Blizzard has developers right now focused on multiple mobile experiences in the coming years — they are out of the bat acknowledging that there are at least more than one mobile game secretly in development.
Curiously, Cory Stockton (known as Mumper) has been rumored to be working on a Warcraft-meets-Pokemon Go mobile game for many years. Yet, we have never heard an official announcement of its title nor even an acknowledgement that a Warcraft mobile game is in development. We simply go by knowing it exists in the back of our mind, and go BlizzCon after BlizzCon pretending we haven’t heard the rumor nor ask about it.
The rumor started at Kotaku several years ago, if I am not mistaken. Yet, checking on Cory Stockton’s Linkedin — it shows he is been lead game designer for World of Warcraft up to the present —
Lead Game Designer
Dates Employed Mar 2014 – Present
Employment Duration 6 yrs 9 mos
Working on a large variety of things with the World of Warcraft team these days. Level design, systems, dungeons and world building just to name a few.
Is the mobile game integrated into World of Warcraft somehow, or is he working in World of Warcraft on and off — and working on the mobile game in his off times? Was it cancelled? Kinda confusing.
There can be room for Warcraft to go mobile beyond a Pet Battle game. For example, Diablo Immortal takes place before Diablo III, and 6 years after Diablo II: Lord of Destruction. The Warcraft universe has a very ample story spanning at least 25,000 years. That’s how far ago Sargeras arrived to planet Argus — as read in the pages of World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde (affiliate link).
Blizzard could explore the history of the Night Elves shortly after the War of the Ancients. Or revisit the Troll Wars that led the High Elves to seek the help of Humans in Stromgarde. Or the Three Hammers War that had the Iron Forge and Wildhammer clans battling against the Dark Iron Dwarves. So much to explore lorewise, and that’s where mobile could be really good a platform to tell those stories in a single player setting or a mixed setting (Single and multiplayer).
Now with Overwatch 2 in the horizon for PCs, Nintendo Switch and Consoles — I wouldn’t doubt some kind of mobile adaptation. But there is also room to explore other time periods in the history of Overwatch to expand that lore several years in the past. A technology Blizzard hasn’t tamed yet is cross-platform save. Genshin Impact can be played in the PC, and you can simply login into the mobile version and continue where you left off in the PC, and viceversa.
Heroes of the Storm in mobile? Well, if League of Legends: Wild Rift is coming to mobile, then why not?
Starcraft in mobile? An RTS seems out of the question unless a ton of work is done in the UI to make a playable StarCraft II game, but kinda doubtful. So how about a different genre based in the StarCraft universe? That’s doable. Call of Duty and Fortnite are proof it can be done.
Multiple Blizzard Mobile Titles
Nope, you didn’t read the sub-title wrong. Nope, I didn’t mistype. Nope, that’s not a clickbait title either. You read it correctly. This is exactly what Daniel Alegre said during the Activision Blizzard Q3 Investors call:
Daniel: And finally, amongst multiple Blizzard mobile titles under development, Diablo Immortal saw a hugely enthusiastic response in internal testing in the third quarter and will soon enter external regional testing.
This is confirmation that there are at least two unannounced mobile games under development. Unless this means existing games like World of Warcraft and Overwatch are coming to mobile, this could also be brand-new games based on the main franchises: Warcraft, StarCraft, Overwatch, and Heroes of the Storm. Or even the Classic games: Warcraft III and Diablo II: Resurrected. Hopefully, some of these are revealed at Blizzconline.