Two of Blizzard’s biggest franchises, Overwatch and Diablo, could be getting the animated series treatment, according to information revealed by Nick Van Dyk, the president of Activision Blizzard Studios, on LinkedIn. On his resume, Dyk confirmed that he worked on both animated series — an Overwatch cartoon and a Diablo anime, the latter of which is in pre-production and will be distributed worldwide by Netflix. This news was first reported by IGN.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard that a Diablo animated series is in the works. In 2018, Boom! Studios founder Andrew Cosby posted and then deleted an announcement on Twitter that he was in talks with Netflix to make a Diablo series. Blizzard never confirmed these talks and has yet to confirm them now, but the company has been pushing more projects based on its Diablo IP, including a new sequel, the highly anticipated Diablo 4, and a mobile title, Diablo Immortal, so an animated series makes sense as the next step. Whether Blizzard meant for Dyk to slyly drop the news on LinkedIn and will make an official announcement soon remains to be seen. But this isn’t the first time someone has accidentally leaked something on the networking platform…
As for Overwatch, Dyk said that he “developed and sold” an animated series based on the first-person shooter franchise. He didn’t go into detail as to who Blizzard sold the show to. The fact that he didn’t mention Netflix outright might mean that this show has a different destination than Diablo. In the meantime, Blizzard is planning to release Overwatch 2 at some point in the future as part of an aggressive release schedule that also includes a new World of Warcraft expansion as well as several other unannounced Diablo projects.
Blizzard is known for the relatively large gaps between its major releases but it’s clear that the studio has been rethinking that strategy as of late, and a multimedia approach to its IP could be a way to get its franchises in front of a more mainstream audience beyond loyal PC and console gamers.
But why animated series? Blizzard tried to bring its lucrative Warcraft franchise to the big screen in 2016, but the movie’s poor reception has seemingly soured the idea of a sequel (although the movie remains the highest-grossing video game movie of all-time at $439 million worldwide). Meanwhile, Netflix has found much success with its Castlevania animated series, which is regarded by some as the best adaptation of a video game ever. Unsurprisingly, Netflix has wasted no time greenlighting more animated series based on games, such as the upcoming Devil May Cry and Magic: The Gathering cartoons.
Overwatch and Diablo feature rich universes full of tons of lore and beloved characters that would fit in right in with Netflix’s nerdy fare. In particular, Diablo‘s dark fantasy, demon-infested medieval world could hit similar notes found in Castlevania. It seems like a no-brainer, but we’ll have to wait to see if Blizzard confirms as much.