Blizzard announced Diablo Immortal at BlizzCon 2018, and some fans weren’t happy. Some reactions to the news was akin to kids at Christmas whose precise present specifications weren’t adhered to. The fans hungered for Diablo 4. The fans didn’t get it. But despite the dour reception that awaited the announcement of Diablo Immortal, there remains a deliciousness to downsizing. There’s something about stealing pockets of time with a device that lives in the pocket, and I’d like to see more thievery from some of my favourite series.
Forza Horizon 4
Live tiles and tabs and colours that pop, with alpine charts and chequered to-do lists, Forza Horizon 4 is already a hulking racer dressed up like an app. It’s part of its nonsensical charm. It should be jarring – like seeing a solemn vicar in vibrant trainers – but it works. Even though I was immensely fond of Forza Horizon 4, Playground Games can rest assured that I shan’t be grumbling if, when the next Horizon is announced, they give the game the shrink. I can see it now: crunching through my credit points like Pez, trying to win big at the super wheelspin on my way to work, and relishing the rush of tilt-controlled cross-country races while stuck at a red light in real life. That, for me, is the – oddly untapped – draw of mobile games: the joy of juxtaposition. Augmented reality, but of a different sort.
Red Dead Redemption 2
With a glut of Grand Theft Auto games, Max Payne, and Bully available on iOS and Android, Rockstar is partial to playing around with phones. The Red Dead Redemption 2 companion app is like a lavish wing mirror – a glance-worthy portal of speedy reference with maps, diaries, and HUD info all on display. It’s retrofitted design, all scratched wood and sketch paper, recalls the chess board levels of Hitman Go. But, as brilliant as it is, it also makes me crave a further condensing of the cowboy formula. I’ve long yearned for a pistol duel on the London Underground; such is the jostling crush of a Central line tube carriage. If only there were a way to act out my violent rage in virtual form – Rush Hour Redemption!
I might not be inclined to crown myself with a backwards cap, and my parents, unfortunately, may not have been inclined to crown me ‘Deacon St. John.’ But none of this is to say I’m not looking forward to tearing around the rusted trash heap of Days Gone. The game is due out in April of next year, and I wouldn’t be the least bit cantankerous if Sony Bend announced the game was a mobile-mounted affair. The irony in having Days Gone in your hands is that you need only look up, at the staggering hordes on any city street, each glued to a screen, to feel something of Deacon’s plight. Moreover, many’s the joy of touchscreen resource management; the failure of ZombiU was lamentable purely for the wonder of rummaging through your inventory on the screen between your palms. Throw in some motion sensor motorbiking and we’d have an all-devouring time sink before us. Days gone, indeed.
Perhaps it’s the old anxieties about radiation, or maybe it’s the way I use mine like a T-51 series Power Armor helmet – guarding against the wasteland of quiet reflection – but Fallout fits nicely with phones. Fallout 76 is already something of an irony. The series’ main entries are rich studies in solitary gloom – a world of romantic ruin to spend hours sifting through, role-playing strategies to tinker with, the entire thing draped in doomy humour. The idea of filling a wasteland with fellow wanderers already seems a curious contradiction; a mobile release would make a wasteland of the world and wanderers of us all. On top of that, Fallout Shelter already proved the platform was a base-builder’s dream. If Bethesda released Fallout 76 mobile, not only would I not be upset, I would never have reason to look up at the world again.
This last one is as much mischief as anything else; after all, not much is known about Anthem yet. We've heard tell about Shapers, about the Anthem of Creation, and have seen colourful mechs float by dreamy planetscapes. Given the sheer grump of the #notmydiablo hashtag, it would be intriguing to see Anthem fans react to the news that it would be on its way to mobile. It would likely be fine. It’s not like BioWare fans to complain about things not going their way… eh? Eh?