Blizzard’s Diablo just picked up a new overseer, and some fans are worried

    
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Blizzard’s Diablo just picked up a new overseer, and some fans are worried

Well now, the Diablo franchise just got a wee bit more interesting. Prominent Epic and Microsoft developer Rod Fergusson announced last night that he’s moving on from his long tenure overseeing the Gears of War series to work on a different franchise entirely: Blizzard’s Diablo, which is currently due for not just Diablo 4 but Diablo Immortal.

“I began working on Gears of War over 15 years ago and since then, it has been the joy of my life,” he tweeted. “But now it’s time for a new adventure. I leave Gears in the great hands of The Coalition and can’t wait for everyone to play Gears Tactics on April 28. […] Starting in March, I will join Blizzard to oversee the Diablo franchise. Leaving is bittersweet as I love our Gears family, the fans, and everyone at The Coalition and Xbox. Thank you, it has been an honor and a privilege to work with you all.”

It’s not entirely clear what’s going on with the franchise’s last boss, but a small group of players on the Diablo subreddit is freaking out, accusing Fergusson of “ruining” Gears of War with microtransactions. The larger video games sub, on the other hand, seems to be hoping he’ll save Blizzard. Order more popcorn, folks.

When we last mentioned Fergusson, we’ll note, it was last year, when he gave an interview saying that he had tried to cancel the then-in-development Fortnite while he still worked at Epic.

Source: Twitter, Reddit

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agemyth 😩

Rod Fergusson is far more than some dude who led the Gears of War teams. He has worked on that franchise a long time now, but he had a reputation in the industry for being a closer, someone who can join a project team at early or late stages and kick some ass by keeping a project on-rails and released on-time. He is the only reason Irrational Games was able to turn Bioshock Infinite into a shippable product, for example.

For modern Blizzard who lacks strong leadership and protection from corporate mandates, this sounds like the right move for everyone. We already don’t get “Blizzard-quality” releases anymore, so getting someone on the Diablo team that can steer languishing projects to shippable games is a good thing. If you want a true sequel to Diablo 2 you are looking in the wrong place. Blizzard is not a special place where magic happens and creates special games anymore.

The Microtransactions that infected the Gears games were made to appease Microsoft/Xbox in its worst period. If Diablo 4 has nasty mtx it will be because of Fergusson’s bosses. Most likely D4 will have pre-order and special edition cosmetic bonuses at launch and that’s it. Every game (especially service games, but obviously im generalizing) has hats and sparkleponies and anyone who expects any AAA game to be 100% free of extra things to buy is being unreasonable. It sucks that this is what the industry grew into being, but be happy that they aren’t selling you endgame gear with fancy jpgs like Star Citizen.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

I’ve got nothing. This is clueless and dumb. Now I’m going to go game.

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Bryan Correll

accusing Fergusson of “ruining” Gears of War with microtransactions.

Before this guy came in was there anyone who honestly believed D4 wasn’t going to have microtransactions?

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Tee Parsley

In my opinion, the Diablos have been surpassed by almost all of the spin offs and clones. Maybe getting someone who isn’t following the paint-by-numbers plan is a good idea.

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Jack Pipsam

Oh that’s silly.
As the semi-resident Xbox guy who watches all the (very) stupid Inside Xbox shows and knows a lot about their studio setup/games, let me say this.

Is Gears of War’s multiplayer full/riddle of microtransactions just as so many other AAA franchises now are across the industry?
Yes.
Does it suck? Do I hate it?
Yes.
Do I think that Rod Fergusson is personally responsible.
No.
Just as I doubt that Jeff Kaplan is personally responsible for Overwatch’s lootboxes. I suspect all that came ‘from above’.

This is what I know, Rod Fergusson successfully transformed Black Tusk into The Coalition, which itself has become one of Microsoft’s premium studios and important assets this generation. Perhaps only second to Playground Games (Forza Horizon is the real understated MVP of this generation for Xbox).

Gears of War 4 didn’t set the world on fire, it was safe, but it was solid, fans of the series did enjoy it, they set out to prove they could in fact make a new Gears of War game and they did.
Gears 5 is the game they clearly wanted to make, a real refinement on the single-player in both mechanics, pacing and importantly by making Kait the real protagonist of this new story.

They’re co-developing the upcoming Gears Tactics which looks great and there’s long since rumour that on the side they’re working on a Rare IP (Perfect Dark).

They’re an effective studio working on a beloved IP making titles which are satisfying, fun to play, polished, graphically impressive and now have left the story in a place with non-fans of the series now interested.
To put simply, The Coalition is achieving what 343 Industries could not with Halo.

Rod Fergusson leaving is Microsoft’s loss and Blizzard’s gain if they allow him the ability to work/transform the Diablo team just as he was able to work with Black Tusk.
Diablo 4 will have microtransactions, let’s be real, but that was going to be part of the greater plan long before he stepped foot inside the building.

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Mewmew

I’m one of the people that’s actually excited to see what Diablo Immortal ends up being like. Of course, my expectations are tempered because of what we usually see companies do on their mobile games, but I play mobile more than anything else and am really looking for some quality mobile titles to dabble in.

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TherecDaMage .

Gears of War was a really dark game and a lot of fun. The franchise is really successful even today. Let’s see what new blood can bring to the series. I know it’s “en Vogue” to hate on Blizzard and to make rage posts/videos, but I’m willing to give this man a chance.

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Greaterdivinity

I’ll make the same joke I’ve made since yesterday.

RIP necks in Diablo 4. Just gonna be head and shoulders.

That being said, hopefully bringing in some outside, new blood will shake things up and bring some good new ideas. Not optimistic about “Blizzard”, but maybe some of the new guys can remind them what it means to be a good company.

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Hravik

Never played Gears of War and never heard of this guy. I feel left out on the rage train.

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rafael12104

Meh, the usual reddit pepegas losing their minds either way. Look, the guy has experience and Gears is a successful franchise. We’ll see what happens. This doesn’t mean Diablo will become Gears of War for good or ill.

Chillax redditors!

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Jack Pipsam

The thing I think is more important is what he has done to the studio, he has turned a studio which once made an awful spin-off Flight game nobody liked into one of Xbox’s biggest studios (yes I’m missing a step there, but still).
The Coalition is by all measures a rare success story for Microsoft in a disastrous generation. If Fergusson can bring the same energy/passion he had for Gears to Diablo, it would work out rather well from at least the behind-the-scenes side of it.

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rafael12104

A well reasoned and thought out argument. We need more of that and not the knee jerk reaction we often get from Reddit.