Blizzard’s Diablo Immortal gameplay trailer at ChinaJoy 2020 is shiny, but not necessarily new
Blizzard and NetEase games are joined the Chinese Digital Entertainment Expo ChinaJoy this year with a shiny new Diablo Immortal gameplay trailer.
Well, kind of new.
Yes, we get some sharp new character renders with extended class trailers. Still, the video is eerily similar to the original gameplay trailer originally released during BlizzCon 2018. Does that mean it’s not worth watching the new video? Nah.
The class character models are more detailed from the original gameplay trailer. They’re honestly beautiful; the Crusader and Demon Hunter both have much sharper facial detail, and the Monk is way more defined in appearance when compared to the 2018 video. Unfortunately, the Necromancer has that vaguely uncanny valley appearance going on — this may be personal aesthetics, but the skin is just eerily smooth. Another noteworthy change shows up with the Necromancer, who is accompanied by skeletons that are closer to fully skin-covered creatures in the ChinaJoy video. This variation is likely to account for China’s Ministry of Culture restrictions and avoid game censorship issues. While skeletons are not explicitly taboo, the inclusion of skin where we expect a skeleton may make for a smoother game release in the region.
Excitement is abounding over the inclusion of a Baal-style model towards the end of the trailer. Note, this is not exactly new as we see the exact same clip at the end of the original 2018 gameplay trailer. But there’s a new enemy cited on the Immortal website concerning the plot: Skarn, Herald of Terror, and lieutenant of Diablo. Skarn’s concept art has similar humanoid elements to Baal. Coincidence?
Now, Baal is the Act 5 boss in Diablo 2; the player takes him down in the Worldstone Chamber. Tyrael’s destruction of the corrupted Worldstone also destroys Baal’s soulstone (as the source of the Worldstone’s corruption). The combination of both wrecking the soulstone and killing Baal likely sends him to Black Abyss, as is put forward in the Book of Cain released prior to Diablo 3. So it’s possible we’ll see the Lord of Destruction — Immortal falls five years after Baal’s death in the chamber, and there are 20 years between D2 and D3 (when Baal and his siblings occupy the Black Soulstone) — but don’t hang all your hopes on his appearance.
Finally, we’re getting to view some UI updates for the client itself. The player details are a little more condensed, with your character’s health bar right under the portrait (where your level sat in the 2018 trailer). The player level has shifted from the bottom-center of the portrait frame to bottom-left, oriented over the moved health bar. This more condensed player icon opens up the screen a bit more, definitely welcome on a mobile game. Monster details are still at the top-center of the game window; instead of text identifying the mob type under the health bar, there is an icon designation to the immediate right of the bar. The finished effect reduces the feeling of the HUD framing the game content, with less blocked by UI elements.
Overall, the new video feels a little anti-climactic after almost two years of very little in the way of news and updates. However, the new visuals alone make it worth checking out the ChinaJoy video below. Give it a watch and let us know what you think in the comments below!
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