Diablo 3 is indeed coming to Switch in 2018, Blizzard officially confirmed today. And like Skyrim, which was released last year, it will have exclusive Nintendo-themed content.
The port of Blizzard's 2011 RPG will bring with it all of the content from the original game, including the Reaper of Souls expansion and the Necromancer. And like its siblings on other consoles, it will feature local and online multiplayer, the latter of which will require a Nintendo Switch Online account once the service launches.
It still won't be possible to transfer over existing characters from the PS4 or Xbox One, nor will it feature crossplay. But knowing that a sizable portion of its audience is comprised of returning fans, Blizzard is making it possible to skip the main campaign. This will allow veterans to enjoy Diablo 3's missions at their own pace, though they will still start at Level 1.
"This game has been out for a day or two, so we had the assumption some of our players might be returning, and we had some trepidation that they wouldn't want to do the campaign again," senior producer Pete Stilwell tells USG. "So we decided to give the option to jump straight to adventure mode."
To highlight its return to Nintendo platforms, Blizzard is also putting in special Zelda-themed content. The extras include the ability to transmorify gear so that it looks like Ganon's armor; Majora's Mask-inspired wings, and a cucco pet. "We had to pick one IP to go with, and we picked Zelda," Stilwell says.
Diablo 3's arrival on Switch is made more momentous by how little Blizzard has been on Nintendo platforms over the years. StarCraft 64 was ported to the Nintendo 64, and StarCraft: Ghost was slated for the Gamecube before being canceled, but otherwise its presence has been virtually nil.
The Diablo 3 Switch port has been in development for just nine months. It's being developed in conjunction with Iron Galaxy, who worked on the aforementioned Skyrim port.
On the genesis of the project, Stilwell says, "We were just having so much fun with it. Our only gripe was that it didn't have enough games for it, and we realized that we could do something about that."
Rumors of a Switch port emerged back in March after a mysterious Diablo-themed teaser hit the Internet. Blizzard quickly moved to quash the reports, but not before Eurogamer independently verified them through its own sources.
Sweet dreams. pic.twitter.com/tZvCnjjzWb— Blizzard Entertainment (@Blizzard_Ent) February 28, 2018
Stilwell characterizes the port as a "restart" for the two companies. In its infancy, Blizzard made games for the Super NES, making Diablo 3 a homecoming of sorts. Whatever the case, there's the sense that is the beginning of something new for the two classic powerhouse companies.
Diablo 3 on Switch doesn't have a release date yet, but it will definitely be out sometime this fall. The total package, which includes the two expansions, will cost $59.99. If you can't wait, consider checking out our Diablo 2 retrospective, which went up yesterday. And here's our original review of the 2014 PS4 and Xbox One release of Diablo 3.