Blizzard is thinking about a console version of Diablo 3 because gamepad support "feels even better" than the classic mouse/keyboard combo.
Diablo 3 game director Jay Wilson has said in the past that the studio isn't necessarily a PC developer despite its current library of titles. Instead, Blizzard is a games developer -- it just so happens that the titles they do develop work best on the PC platform.
"We don’t believe you can make a Starcraft style RTS and make it Blizzard great on a console," he told PC Gamer. "We do believe you could make an RTS that would be on a console, but we would have (to have) that idea, and that spark and that passion to make it."
Still, that doesn't mean Blizzard doesn't have an experimental flare when it comes to consoles. We've seen one or two of Blizzard's creations venture out beyond the PC realm, but they never met the same reception as the original PC incarnations. Yet Wednesday Wilson admitted that the team has recently experimented with Diablo 3 using an Xbox 360 controller, seemingly verifying previous reports that Blizzard is bringing the upcoming action-RPG title over to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
But don't get too excited/offended just yet: gamepad support is just an experiment. Maybe. "One of the reasons why we’re exploring the idea of a console version of Diablo 3 because we feel that the controls and the style of the game lend itself to a console," he admitted. "With some of our early experiments in putting a direct control scheme into the game via a 360-like analogue controller, I’ve been ‘Oh this feels even better, with direct control…'"
He might be right. After playing the Diablo 3 beta for a couple of nights (more later), the game may play extremely well with an Xbox 360-type controller. Then again, Diablo 3 just wouldn't feel like Diablo without the classic mouse and keyboard combo. But as we've already seen with the closed beta, the finished product won't shed its classic gameplay roots (like Dungeon Siege 3). Still, PC gamers could find that using a controller may be a lot easier in navigating the character than chasing monsters in a massive click-fest using a sword-like cursor.
As it stands now, gamepad support will likely not be available when the game eventually launches... hopefully later this year. "I can pretty much guarantee that if we decide to do a console version that we will look to support a pad on the PC," says Wilson. "But initially with release I don’t think we’ll be ready."