Blizzard has officially confirmed that Diablo 3 is coming to Nintendo Switch. Titled “Diablo 3: Eternal Collection,” it will feature the original game, alongside the Reaper of Souls expansion, Adventure Mode (fully unlocked from the outset), Challenge Rifts, Kanai’s Cube, and the Crusader class. Additionally, it’ll also have the Rise of the Necromancer pack, which primarily consists of the Necromancer class. The game does not have a specific release date but Blizzard has said it is tentatively aiming for Fall 2018 with an MSRP of $60 in the US.
The Switch version of Diablo 3 is being developed in-house and utilizes the work done for the well-received PS4 and Xbox One ports of the game. Senior producer Pete Stilwell described the portability that Nintendo Switch offers as a new evolution of the Diablo 3 experience.
“I think this [is] the next evolution. The portability of Switch [and] the ability to play offline with your friends locally between multiple Switch [consoles] is really powerful. We’re excited to be able to travel, [play] this on a plane, get off the plane, [and] upload progress.”
By utilizing the Nintendo Switch’s online service, save files will be automatically uploaded to the cloud, allowing for progress to be backed up and also transferred onto other devices.
“Switch automatically uploads save files. The only thing that won’t upload is leaderboards, but anything else such as achievements or progress that’s made through campaign will be [uploaded],” explained associate producer Matt Cederquist.
“Another cool feature is the ability to play offline and still have progress count, and you can load your profiles back and forth, so if you’re on a buddy’s Switch you can load your file and get the character you want in the game too,” added Stilwell.
When the console version of Diablo 3 launched, Blizzard implemented a feature that let players transfer characters from PS3 and Xbox 360 to PS4 and Xbox One, respectively. However, this functionality is not going to be available for the Switch version. Cross-platform play will also not be supported. Online multiplayer in the Nintendo Switch version will be up and running when the game comes out and, like uploading saves to the cloud, it will use the Nintendo Switch’s paid online service.
In terms of performance, Diablo 3 on Switch will run at 60 frames per second “across the board.” In handheld mode the game is displayed at 720p and then flips to 960p when docked.
“That was a huge focus, to make sure we were giving a responsive, awesome gameplay experience and we’ve managed to achieve that,” said Stilwell. “Part of the technology itself changes [depending on whether] you’re docked or not. That was one of our learning experiences along the way, dealing with how the architecture changes depending on whether you’re docked or mobile. It’s just an optimization effort.
“In my mind the only thing that changes is the Switch itself goes from 720p to 960p. You should not be feeling any different; we don’t feel anything different … We for the past couple of months have spent more time just making sure that the game feels as great no matter what controller setup you have, whether you’re plugged in or not. Our biggest motivation was to make sure that we weren’t giving you an inferior experience.”
Diablo 3: Eternal Collection accounts for the various controller configurations available to Switch owners, supporting everything but touch.
“The real power of the Switch is the multiple ways you can play it, whether it’s handing your friend a controller and playing on the same Switch at the same time, linking multiple Switches, or going old school and playing it on your TV,” said Stilwell. “We’re taking full advantage of what Switch has to offer. The responsiveness you get from Diablo with controller is an evolution of the experience from clicking on PC, and we’ve done the work to get it as playable and as responsive on Switch as any other platform so we’re extremely excited about the offering.
“We support everything except for touch at this point,” he added. “We did some experiments with touch and we didn’t think there was enough compelling reasons to use it in the current state. We felt the controllers were a superior method of controlling the game.”
The Switch version also comes with some exclusive goodies for Nintendo fans, including the ability to use the transmogrification feature to turn into The Legend of Zelda villain Ganondorf. You can read all about the Diablo 3 Switch Nintendo tie-ins here.