You might have heard that Blizzard is bringing Diablo to mobile with Diablo Ultimate. There's been plenty of controversy surrounding that decision, and it's meant that a really important piece of information has been glossed over a little. Namely that Blizzard is bringing all of its IP to mobile in the foreseeable future.
Obviously that kicked our brains into gear here at 148App's palatial research unit. We got to thinking about how Blizzard's massive franchises could make it onto the App Store. And then we wrote down those thoughts. What you're looking at now is the culmination of that endeavour.
If you've got your own suggestions as to how Blizzard could squish its game down to pocket-sized, then be sure to let us know in the comments at the bottom of the article. First though, let's find out what we thought about the obstacles and challenges that are waiting for Blizzard.
World of Warcraft
This is probably the big one. It's felt for a good long while that World of Warcraft should be on mobile in one way or another. After all it's got a massive playerbase, huge name klout, and it's getting on a bit which means it should play pretty well on your phone or tablet.
But what's the best way to do it? Well, Blizzard could take a leaf out of Jagex's book. Old School RuneScape is a version of the game that's suspended in time, distinct from the main RuneScape game. Why not release a free to play version of an older version of WoW?
MMOs work reasonably on well on mobile as it is - Order and Chaos Online from Gameloft proved that (in fact it proved that WoW could work really well on mobile, since it's pretty darn similar). There's nothing to stop World of Warcraft coming to the App Store in its entirety, after all Fortnite and PUBG have proven that that's possible - that approach would make for a more unified experience, picking up on your mobile where you left off on your PC, for example.
We've got some pretty slick shooters on the App Store already, from Guns of Boom to Shadowgun Legends, but it's fair to say that in terms of quality they fall behind what Overwatch has to offer on consoles and PC. That's only to be expected, of course, but it offers a challenge.
Overwatch is one of the games that's made its name through eSports, and that's definitely something that Blizzard could tap into. Mobile eSports are in their infancy, but there are definitely signs that that corner of the industry is starting to mature, which makes the ground well prepared for Overwatch on mobile.
The big problem to overcome here will be the controls. Players with controllers are going to have an edge, no matter how good you are with touchscreen buttons. It's unlikely that there's going to be cross platform play then, which means Blizzard is going to have to figure out how to make Overwatch accessible to as many people as possible, but offer higher level players something extra.
Iron Marines showed that the mobile RTS isn't as much of a pipedream as some people have claimed. It's a brilliant game that zooms the action in, giving you a smaller battlefield to work on and adding in some tower defence ideas to make sure that you're never too overwhelmed.
A full version of Starcraft wouldn't work on iOS. It's too big, and the time you'd spend swiping around the map would likely be painfully dull. Instead we wouldn't be surprised to see a skirmish-based version of the game coming to the App Store.
Rather than huge battles, think something closer to Xcom. Tight, taut experiences with just a few units on the screen that tie in with the overarching narrative of the series. Zerg rushes might be out of the question, but Blizzard has showed it can make its brands work on a smaller scale with Hearthstone already.
It honestly wouldn't surprise us that much if Warcraft 3 came to mobile in its entirety. If you need some sort of precedent, then you need only look to the Rome: Total War games that landed on iPhone and iPad over the last year. Less graphically complex games work so much better when your hands are going to be waving over the screen to control things.
Square Enix has proven over and over again that there's a market for premium ports of older games (you can get more Final Fantasy games on mobile than you can on most other platforms, and none of the ports come cheap), and it wouldn't be too much of a leap for Blizzard to look at that success and fancy some of its own.
In our heart of hearts we'd love Warcraft 3 to come out at around the $4.99 mark, complete with the multiplayer that made the game so essential. Even if it's three times that price though, expect it to do really well. We mean, come on, it's Warcraft, it's almost certainly going to do brilliantly however it comes out.
Now it's your turn - let us know what you think in the comments below