Blizzard: Console Diablo 3 ‘Was Not Planned from the Start’
Meanwhile, players who bought the Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 versions of Diablo 3 might never get to see Reaper of Souls without buying a different version of the game. Berger said the size and scope of the expansion, along with new features like Adventure mode, mean it’s possible those consoles won’t be able to handle it.
“We’re exploring the possibility of doing it on current gen. It’s not as straightforward as you would imagine,” he said. “One of the wonders of doing it on PS4 is that the graphics have been greatly improved, it’s 1080p native. We’ve taken steps to leverage all of that power, we’ve improved the graphics engine. Also, some of the features from Reapers of Souls are actually fairly horsepower-demanding. So Adventure Mode, one of the new features on PC and PS4, the way it work is all the way points are available to you which means it all has to be to be loaded in memory, and PS4 can do that, but that’s not as easy to do in current gen.”
Berger also said that further console titles for Blizzard was a possibility, in spite of the company’s longtime PC focus. He said that while it’s tough to anticipate what Blizzard’s future might be, the company has seen philosophy shifts in the past, and that it was willing to change and grow.
“I think if you look at our history in general, there are a lot of these shifts,” he said. “You know we went from RTSs, to MMO, we went from MMOs back into action RPGs, we’re branching into Hearthstone, and Heroes [of the Storm]. So we are as a company constantly trying to make ventures into new game genres that excite us as gamers, and that we want to bring to our fans, so that we’re not always doing the same thing.
“We’ve wanted to go back to console for a very long time. We’re extremely happy with how Diablo 3 on console turned out, we’re very excited about all the changes that we’re doing for the Ultimate Evil edition, we’re very excited about all the sort of features we can add on top of everything that’s already been there, and I think as long as we’re able to continue making awesome games on console, and as long as our fans want to buy them, then I think we can say that we’re just going to make more and more. Because that’s what we want and that’s what our fans want. So as long as those two things kind of line up, that’s our future — as much as it is possible to dictate Blizzard’s future.”
Still, one can’t help but wonder how a continued focus on console gaming might affect Blizzard’s core, PC-playing fan base. Many are still feeling burned after Diablo 3′s launch, and seeing an improved version on Playstation 4 with exclusive features isn’t helping make it any better.
For the time being, however, BlizzCon 2013 showed that Blizzard isn’t slowing down on its dedication to making games for a PC audience, with the impending releases of Hearthstone, Heroes of the Swarm, StarCraft II: Into the Void, Reaper of Souls, and World of Warcraft’s Warlords of Draenor expansion. Whether that changes in the future will surely have a lot to do with the ultimate capabilities of the Playstation 4 and Xbox One, and the success of console experiments like Diablo 3.