The rumours of Diablo 2 getting remastered had already floated around, though of course with BlizzConline did we get an actual confirmation of its existence. Diablo 2: Resurrected is a remaster of the original Diablo 2, as you might expect, promising to give a refreshed appearance of what is apparently everyone’s favourite Diablo game. Feel free to raise your hipster objections here. In any case, on board we have Principal Designer, Rob Gallerani and Game Producer, Maxine Virtue, to answer an array of questions regarding the title that will definitely come out sometime 2021! In fact, sign-ups are open for the technical alpha that’s coming soon, so you’ll be able to directly give the devs your thoughts!
Gallerani talks about how Diablo 2 is an incredibly important title for the entire series, it celebrating its 20th anniversary, while Diablo itself is 30 years old. “It just seemed like a really great time for it to happen,” what with these milestones. Of course, they want to give the game the justice it deserves. With all that effort behind it, he doesn’t disclose how long they’ve actually been working on the game, but simply that they are “really honoured” to be on the team.
Why not 1 first instead of remastering 2? Well, when you think about 2 being a fan favourite entry, that answer seems pretty obvious:
“It’s also the one that still has an active community that really loves and still plays the original game. We want to capture that same gameplay that they love and bring it to a modern audience with all the updates we have done, so it’s great for all of us.”
With remasters for Starcraft and Warcraft 3 behind them, it sounds prudent to ask if they’ve learnt anything from those releases. If you’ve been worried about your original copy of Diablo 2, worry not: Resurrected is on a separate client, a separate game, which is what they felt was right for it.
Virtue talks about how difficult it was to translate the 2D art into its new 3D style. They had to figure out how to make things still readable in 3D with the additions of elevation, being on different planes, and the like. She believes they’ve gotten that right, making for rich and immersive levels, but still being able to tell at a glance regarding your position / condition. Quality of life things have been added to the game too, with the shared stash for one. As much as they wanted to add in these modern conveniences, they also had to make sure it didn’t detract too far from the original, prompting much discussion.
Funnily enough, in the case of Diablo 2, the 3D models came before the 2D sprites, so the team have had access to these concept models to truly understand what the original team were trying to go for. The ratio of 70:30 is given as an example of how they chose to work those models into the remaster:
“The 70 has to hit nostalgically, where you instantly recognize the character or the environment, and the rest we’ve added functional design and story telling elements.”
With all the loving details they’ve poured back in to put their spin into these models, it’s hard to pick any particular favourite that they’ve worked on.
Resurrected isn’t the first Diablo game to be brought to consoles, but it’s definitely been a while since the first game made its home on the Playstation. The challenge lay in making the console controls make sense for Resurrected, when Diablo 2 has certainly been made solely for keyboard and mouse in mind. Plus, there’s now cross-progression for Resurrected, so they had to figure out how to tweak it to make it feel similar to the original while making the controls responsive. It helps that they can refer to the teams of 3, Immortal and 4 to discuss with too.
For the online interactions – like PVP – the modern Battle.net client can provide much better and convenient ways to report any abuses of game systems or toxic behaviour. It’s pretty unlikely it can ever be fully stamped out, but at least it’ll be easier to get bad eggs punished.
CHANGE OR NO CHANGE
There will be no secret cow level. Or will there?! Any fun bugs or glitches that exist will be looked at as a case by case basis.
Besides that though, they touch a little more on the whole QOL changes for Resurrected: removing the inventory grid was considered, but then it wouldn’t feel like Diablo, would it? There’s no potion stacking either, so you’ll still have to do the whole jig with inventory management. You’ll also get item comparing, auto party/auto invite, game finders besides more languages, hotkeys and accessibility options.
All the skills and balancing done will be identical to the current live version of Diablo 2, which would be 1.14. The tweaks have been focused to the controller er, controls, with set defaults depending on the skill you are using. Sorcerer’s have a teleport which you can indicate with a cursor on the PC, but that cursor is not available for a console version. Thus, console players will be given the allowance to teleport a fixed distance, and it will work the same way to similar targetting spells.
If you want to trade items, you’ll just need to be in the same game together. You can link the item in the trade chat even if you’re not in the same world yet, hop on over and just hand over the stuff. Easy! There’ll be both online and offline play in Resurrected, if you were worried about that. Especially considering there won’t be personal loot as it’s considered too big a shift to the economy and systems, you might want to play only with friends.
For those who enjoy the competitive aspect of the game, seasons will be a little shorter, but also happen more frequently, with your placing immortalized over the seasons for you to look back on. Now that it’s on a more modern Battle.net client, that leaderboard’s also going to show players across platforms.
THE REST OF IT
While there is cross-progression, cross-play is not on the cards for now, nor is there news for Mac yet, unfortunately. Otherwise, differences will primarily boil down to graphics and resolution, since, as mentioned, they’ve worked hard to make the controls feel virtually identical across platforms. Consoles get to play around with the trophies on their platforms where applicable for those achievement hunters though.
You have the option to play without the Lord of Destruction expansion, but if you decide to later play that, you can continue using your classic character with the expansion content. They’re currently working on really nailing that authentic experience, so there aren’t plans for any additional content. They sure hope you will love what they’ve done in Resurrected to want more! It promises to be a faithful remaster, just with that extra polish.
For something specific to the PS5’s controller, they’re still figuring out how they’d like to take advantage of that haptic feedback, so they won’t comment on that for now. We’ll see how the latest gen consoles can add to the experience, eh?
As with 2020, 2021 looks to provide the nostalgic comforts of yesteryear with a fresh look. I’ve personally never played much of Diablo myself, and many youngins would also be able to experience this for the first time. We’ll see how it goes when the gates of hell reopen, whenever it will.