BlizzCon may have been ushered online because of everything 2020 had to throw at the world, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t news coming out of the gates at Blizzard this year.
One of the best, worst-kept secrets has been the remastered edition of the iconic Diablo II, complete with the Lord of Destruction expansion. Widely regarded as a genre-defining game, Diablo II set the bar for dungeon crawlers and still holds up pretty well given it hit a lofty 20 years old last year.
“To be clear, it’s not a remake,” executive producer Rod Fergusson told CNET. “It’s not us trying to reverse engineer it, not trying to build it from the ground up and make it look and sound like Diablo II. This is Diablo II. This is the same core gameplay you know and love.”
Except it’s in 4K resolution, with brand-new 3D visuals replacing the 2D sprite-based models and with 27 minutes of completely rebuilt cinematics. The sounds and voices you remember are all the same, complemented by brand new sound effects and quality of life enhancements to bring the game firmly into 2021.
It’s also playable across all platforms. If you’re the type of person who wants to play on the go, you can sneak some game time in on your lunch break on PC, use a Nintendo Switch on your commute home, then boot up your console of choice and continue playing without a hitch.
Principal designer Rob Gallerani told CNET, “[Cross progression] basically has to keep you confined to a certain kind of rule set across everywhere,”
“So, if we were to say, ‘Oh look, you know what, inventory management is tricky to do with a controller so let’s not worry about that, let’s make it a list.’ How would we know how you organized your items when you played on your console and then brought it back?”
Thankfully, due to the move to modern Battlenet, characters and gameplay will be hosted on dedicated servers and kept in the cloud, so you can pick it up easily enough.
According to Fergusson, “The actual cross progression side of being able to access the same character for multiple platforms was actually relatively straightforward, the hard part is making sure the experience felt the same across all platforms.”
For those seeking a truly authentic Diablo II experience, there will still be a button you can press to toggle the graphics back to the original 2D sprite-based models and shave the new sounds away. But the intention behind Diablo II: Resurrected really seems to be ‘the original, but better’.
“The way that we approached the process, at least from the art perspective, was this idea of the 70% nostalgic, 30% new,” said Fergusson. “We realised we could go too far and it wouldn’t feel like D2 anymore, so embracing that 70% nostalgia means that when you play the game … you’ll still feel a bit of the clunkiness … it’s all about that authenticity of what the original game was.”