Diablo II: Resurrected is an action RPG video game co-developed by Vicarious Visions and Blizzard Entertainment. It is the remastered version of Diablo II which was released back in the year 2000, and its expansion Lord of Destruction, which was released in the following year in 2001. The game was recently made public for a multitude of platforms, namely Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Series S on September 23, 2021.
The major differences between Diablo II and Diablo II: Resurrected
Diablo II: Resurrected does not have a lot of major changes when compared to its predecessor, Diablo II. The game developers decided to keep the original basic game mechanics.
One major element they tweaked though was that the newer game now features 3D models, instead of the 2D sprites that we see in Diablo II. The remastered version also steps up in terms of graphics and audio, as it supports 4K graphics resolution and a 7.1 Dolby surround sound system.
The developers also did some minor changes to the game to ensure players had a better experience. This included the Shared Stash function which allowed players to store items between their characters.
Before this, previously players had to involve a tertiary “mule” character to facilitate the transfer. Players can also toggle automatic gold pickup, display ground items, and other small upgrades. A reminder was added that reminded the players to spend their skill points and that the allocation of skill points will be permanent.
Players were also given the facility to reload their saved files from the original Diablo II to continue their progress in the remaster. Unlike the original Diablo II, the remaster allowed players to infinitely repeat the secret cow level also known as the Moo Moo Farm.
Development of the remaster
Diablo II: Resurrected went into its development stage in 2019, as a joint project between Blizzard Entertainment and Vicarious Visions which was at the time, a child company of Activision. According to the President and CEO of Blizzard Entertainment J. Allen Brack, Blizzard Entertainment was responsible for handling the back-end server and battle.net integration aspects while Vicarious Visions was responsible for handling the front-end and 3D client of the game.
Around a month before the February 2021 announcement of the remaster, Activision announced that their child company Vicarious Visions had been transferred into Blizzard’s corporate structure. Brack said that this move was due to Vicarious having in-depth knowledge of the Diablo series by this point. This not only helps Vicarious Visions to continue to provide help for Resurrected but further proves to be a good resource for Blizzard regarding Diablo IV and other Blizzard Entertainment projects.
At a media event in 2019, members of Blizzard Entertainment Max Schaefer, Erich Schaefer, and David Brevik stated that they were not sure if the remaster of Diablo II would be possible due to a near-release loss of much of the game’s source code and other assets, due to data corruption in their database. They were able to recover some of the code and assets through copies that Blizzard North had taken home with them or through other means, but the Schaefers felt that there were still too many things missing to fully remaster the game while staying true to the original release.
However, later on, according to the main lead developer for Diablo, Rod Ferguson, and principal designer, Rob Gallerani, the missing data was not as bad as Schaefer had thought. Their team searched through other sources at Blizzard, such as the marketing department, to find additional material to fill in the gaps. These efforts were not in vain.
After assembling all the available data, Blizzard decided they had enough to proceed with the remaster, with the potential to remake any missing assets and polish the existing assets with higher definition with the help of the original artists and animators from the game.
The remaster’s design philosophy required the game to be identical to the original game and its mechanics. While the developers did not make even minor changes to core gameplay, they improved the game visuals, modelling its remastered graphics on art from the original game.
The remaster included some quality-of-life changes like the shared stash and automatic gold pickup. Some new conveniences, like the conclusion, can be toggled to the user’s playstyle preference. The core principles for the remaster were preserving the authentic, original game experience and making it accessible for modern play.
The title was announced in an opening ceremony of the Developers’ Annual Convention in February 2021. Its development was an open secret having been leaked during Blizzard’s acquisition of the development team Vicarious Visions the month prior. A single-player beta version of the game will precede the release.
Unlike Warcraft III: Reforged, the prior remaster of Warcraft III which was bombarded with criticism from players and journalists, Diablo II: Resurrected will be a separate release instead of being a DLC for the existing game. Brack had said that they had learned various lessons from how they approached Warcraft III: Reforged. Using the information they collected from fan reactions, they will move forward to avoid any unlikeable approaches and make sure Resurrected gets a great response.
One of their approaches to avoid negative criticism from the public was development tests for their alpha and beta versions. These were conducted in April and August 2021 respectively. The alpha was set to be single-player, while the multiplayer beta served as early access for pre-orders on the supported platforms.
Blizzard made use of the reviews and criticism gained from their alpha testers and other members of the community to make several tweaks, additions, and modifications to the game. This includes touch-ups of visual effects, revised item icons, interface usability toggles, as well as integrations of new features such as an in-game clock and extra item storage.
Ultrawide monitor support was removed due to its interference with the game’s built-in AI, and TCP/IP multiplayer support was removed due to it being outdated and having security flaws. The game finally hit the markets on September 23, 2021, for a large array of platforms comprising Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.
If you have not played the original 2000 and 2001 versions, but still want to dive straight into the action, then fret not! Grab your desired games’ CD Keys and jump straight into the action!
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