There have been hack-n-slash games before Diablo, but no other series has mastered the compulsive nature and satisfying play of Blizzard’s dungeon crawler. It’s a game many of us return to again and again, as if it was an enjoyable but slightly dysfunctional relationship. Being a Diablo fan is to be someone who is always looking for a reason to return.
Which is why Blizzard needs to drop its coy act about the game possibly coming to the Nintendo Switch. The company can’t be telling us nothing is going on while also dropping hints that something is probably going on.
It also helps that the idea of Diablo on the Switch is such a natural fit that it feels almost ... well, demonic. Whether it is a port of Diablo 3 or a package of classic games optimized for the Switch, this is too good an opportunity for Blizzard to pass up.
This could be amazing
This whole thing started when Blizzard sent out the following tweet. It’s not so much a hint of a Switch port as it is a hammer to the forehead.
But then Blizzard immediately tried to calm people down. “We can assure you we’re not that clever,” a spokesperson for Blizzard Entertainment told Polygon via email. “[It was] meant to be a fun community engagement piece. We have nothing to announce.”
The responses to the tweet, of course, jumped to the only possible conclusion.
“Switch version?” one asked.
“Would love to see Diablo 1 on the Switch, can’t be to hard to do since it was on PS1,” another stated.
Another fan brought up what might be the mother of all weird and seemingly impossible ports to respond to someone else’s skepticism:
I feel like people forget about this all the time. Anything is possible when it comes to Blizzard. pic.twitter.com/hlXjPlwElo— Erik (Winter) Caswell (@LevawitzWolfcat) March 2, 2018
It goes on like that for a long time. Many people are assuming the tweet is hinting at Diablo coming to the Switch, and I’m inclined to agree.
There’s a reason so many people — myself included — are so passionate about the idea of any Diablo game coming to the Nintendo Switch: It would be a perfect fit.
The thought of a version of Diablo 3 or even a collection of past Diablo games that you could play on the TV in docked mode, possibly even using the motion controls of the Joy-Con as a kind of mouse, and then take with you in portable mode is almost too exciting to contain. Imagine a high-quality version of Diablo that was always with you, perfect for a few minutes during your lunch break or your commute.
This all seems a bit far-fetched, but Blizzard was already willing to rework so many aspects of Diablo 3 to make it enjoyable on a controller rather than a mouse and keyboard, and Diablo 3 on the PC has gone through so many changes and updates that it’s almost a different game from the Diablo 3 that was originally released. It wouldn’t be out of character for Blizzard to create an exciting port of Diablo that took advantage of the Switch’s hardware.
It would be enough to get many people back into the Diablo series, if they ever left, and it might even sell a Switch or two. It says something about the Switch’s unique appeal that it can get fans this excited about the possibility of a company porting a series that has already been on just about every platform you can think of, and it helps that the Diablo series is already so well-suited for a portable experience.
The other aspect of this that’s so exciting is that Blackthorne, The Lost Vikings and Rock n’ Roll Racing for the Game Boy Advance were the last Blizzard games released on a Nintendo console, and that happened back in 2003. Diablo coming to the Switch in 2018 would be the first Blizzard game on Nintendo hardware in 15 years.
Is it going to happen? We hope so. If it doesn’t, tweets like the above are just Blizzard playing with fire by getting its fans excited about something it’s not going to deliver. But, if a port is announced, Blizzard is likely to have another huge hit on its hands.
As fans, we just want Diablo on the Switch. No matter what form it ultimately takes. We’re ready to come back.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that StarCraft 64 was released in 1998, not 2000, and neglected to mention that Blizzard relicensed three classic games from its days as Silicon and Synapse for release on the Game Boy Advance under the “Blizzard Classic Arcade” label. Those details have been added to the post.