If you’re excited to have Blizzard’s blockbuster lootfest on your Switch, you’re not the only one. Nintendo worked closely with Blizzard to move Diablo III over to its portable system. In fact, Nintendo had practically been waiting for Blizzard to make the call.
“The Switch came out and we were all playing it,” says Blizzard associate producer Matthew Cederquist. “Some of us were playing Mario and some of us were playing Zelda, and we were kind of thinking to ourselves, ‘We’ve got a pretty good game for this.’ We all travel a lot and we were sitting on a plane and thinking, “We’ve got the perfect game for the Switch.’ So we brought the pitch to Nintendo and they said, ‘What have you guys been waiting for?’ They were pumped. They were as excited as us.”
However, Diablo III isn’t a small game. It’s currently over 14 GB on PC, which is almost half of the Switch’s internal memory, so Blizzard knew it would have to trim the game a bit to fit it on Nintendo’s portable system – not to mention optimize its processing power.
When Blizzard decided to bring Diablo III over to Switch, the studio made a promise that it wanted to stick to 60fps as much as possible, and by-and-large it has. The lowest we saw it dip was into the mid-50s. If you don’t believe us, just read our hands-on impressions (you’ll just have to believe us, I guess). Impressively, Blizzard obtained this miracle almost solely through reducing the texture sizes on the art assets.
“We did most of the work a few years ago when we moved the game to PlayStation, so, by-and-large, thousands of hours have already been spent getting this right for console,” says senior producer Pete Stilwell. “Where we did spend time playtesting and iterating on the game was with the joy-cons. Individual joy-cons have fewer buttons, so we replaced the second joystick’s roll with the joy-con’s flick.”
When we asked if Diablo’s move to the Switch opens the door for other Blizzard games to jump over to Nintendo’s system, Stilwell added, “We’re focused on D3. That’s where we’re at. One thing that I think is really awesome about Blizzard is that each team is very autonomous and gets to play in their part of the pool and decide what they want to do. Sometimes that means other teams don’t have that much transparency. Our team is really excited about the Switch and what we’ve accomplished on it, but we can’t speak for other teams.”
So that is one question dodged. We’ll played Blizzard … but we’ll be back.
Check out our hands on impression of Diablo III and other games in our Gamescom preview roundup.