It wasn't too long ago that the rumor mill started really grinding over a console version of the long-anticipated Diablo III. First it was a series of job listings late last year calling for a "Senior Developer, Console." For a studio that hasn't considered a huge console launch since StarCraft 64 (or, for my money, The Lost Vikings), hiring on a lead designer with experience on consoles almost seems extraneous. Luckily, Blizzard stepped in to clarify, saying they'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," but to "please note that this is not an announcement of a console title."
So, basically: have hope but don't have too much.
Well, after an interview with Atomic Gamer, fans of Diablo-likes using gamepads can bump their Hope-ometer up a few more notches. Lead Content Designer Kevin Martens was speaking on the possibility of a Diablo III for iOS devices, when he mentioned that the first direction they'd like to branch off would be the console realm. When questioned further, Martens opened up:
"We're definitely looking into it. We're seriously considering it. I would say that the whole system specs thing is one of the cool things about Blizzard. You're always hearing in interviews with us about the death of the PC gaming. We're always like, "What death?" I think one part of that secret...you know, quality and polish and all of that as well...but part of that is keeping the system specs low. Everybody had a PC, even if they just use it for nothing but e-mail and web surfing. Almost everyone has one, so we do have a pretty giant install base. That said, gaming systems like Xbox and PS3 and so on... Diablo is one of the more natural hits for a Blizzard title to go on those, so I think that's why we are looking at it pretty seriously.Even if it's only one more grain of sand on the beach of Diablo III's development cycle, I would personally love the opportunity to play one of the seminal action-RPGs with my buddies on Xbox Live. The improvements to group-looting that came out of WoW will also surely help reduce the pain of playing with strangers, assuming some decent PvP controls.
This strong consideration for a crossover title may be the result of so many other PC franchises hitting their stride by hitting the ever-growing home console market. Battlefield and Crysis spring to mind as recent examples, and let's not forget the downright-inspired digital downloads of DeathSpank and Torchlight. While the scope of these smaller games might not pioneer the way for a full port of Diablo III, they at least prove the market is there.
Still no date on this title, but Blizzard has already controlled for a public outcry, saying, "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."
Now, how to decide which version to get...?