Officially Blizzard says it's "exploring" the possibility of Diablo 3 on consoles. Behind the scenes, it's hiring on new talent to tackle the project like this one position for a Game Systems Designer. Whether or not an actual product will hit the market remains to be seen at this point, but COO Paul Sams says that of all the Blizzard games, Diablo 3 makes perfect sense outside the PC arena.
"We're continuing to explore [Diablo 3 on consoles]," he told CVG. "We think that the way we built it for the PC may need some tweaking, but it will ultimately be the type of game that can really make sense and be really fun, well polished and a true Blizzard-level experience on a console."
So why didn't Blizzard just develop the action/RPG for consoles alongside the PC? Because the company doesn't build games for a specific platform/business model -- they build games that just happen to work perfectly on the PC. Gameplay is the primary focus whereas platform is secondary.
"We have to make sure the game is great and it's something that everyone wants to play," he said. "If we provide a great game, a great experience, the business model - if we're being fair with you - will work. Same with the console; we don't decide up front that we want to make a console product. We just want to make a great game."
"If the best experience involves a mouse and a keyboard, we'll put it on PC," he added. "If it plays better with a controller, that's the route we'd take. If it works on both, and we don't have to make any meaningful alterations or compromises to the experience, we'd make it for both."
Naturally a game like Diablo 3 can't be ported over to a console without a few hurdles to overcome, one of the highest being Microsoft. We've already seen Valve Software struggle to get its Steam-laced Portal 2 on Microsoft's closed Xbox Live network -- Sony was a bit more forgiving with Portal 2 on the PlayStation Network. As it stands now, Valve's upcoming Counter-Strike: Global Offensive won't even feature cross-platform gameplay as originally announced.
That said, Blizzard's Battle.net-connected action/RPG might not see an Xbox 360/720 release at all unless the team makes the multiplayer component Xbox Live-specific. Ultimately that might be costly in both time and money. "If I've got to jump through 17 different hoops and pay a lot more money to be on a console, that causes you to pause," he said. "But that doesn't mean we wouldn't do it if we thought we could deliver a Blizzard-quality product on the platform and it was right for the game in question."
"That's why we're looking at it for Diablo 3; we think that we can have a really exciting and compelling experience that will play well on console in addition to PC We do feel it's an exciting opportunity," he added. "If we feel we can have a game on multiple platforms, then we'll do it. We're not afraid to - that's for sure!"