The long-rumored remaster of Diablo II was finally announced at this year’s BlizzConline. What makes this particular remaster more noteworthy than most other reworks is that Diablo II has had a significant impact on the evolution of the modern-day action-RPG, influencing other RPG franchises like Destiny and Borderlands. Seeing the classic game return with a new look and tweaks to its gameplay loop has got many fans of the original interested in what’s to come. Yet, there’s a clear legacy that Diablo II has established since its release in 2000, which means this remaster must walk a fine line between meaningful update and preservation.
Now that the dust has settled, we’re here to offer a refresher on all the details we know about Diablo II: Resurrected. During BlizzConline, we had the chance to talk with the game’s developers about how the team approached making this remaster. In addition to the new look, Resurrected will add deeper online-functionality and a round of quality-of-life changes that improve the game while retaining what makes the original as it was. According to Blizzard, Diablo II: Resurrected will still be the game that fans have come to enjoy more than twenty years since its release.
Diablo II: Resurrected is launching on PC via Battle.net. It’s also launching on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Nintendo Switch.
Currently, Diablo II: Resurrected is planned for release sometime in 2021. While there is no set date pinned down, Blizzard has announced that an alpha test will occur in the months ahead of launch. You can sign up for the PC alpha on the official site.
Diablo II: Resurrected is the complete edition of the original game, including the base game and its Lord of Destruction expansion. The most significant change is the new visual style, which runs at 4K resolution. While the original was 2D, the remaster runs on a new 3D engine that has reimagined many iconic characters, locations, loot, and monsters. The original game’s cinematics and soundtrack have also been rebuilt from the ground up. If you still want to experience the original Diablo II as it was, you can tap the legacy button and instantly swap to the classic look in real-time, now playable in modern monitor resolutions.
On a mechanical level, Resurrected doesn’t change much of the core gameplay from the original game–which was the intent, according to Blizzard. However, there are updates to the game that aim to make the dungeon-crawling and power growth less tedious for your chosen class. The biggest change that relates to the flow and management of loot is the new shared stash box, allowing you to easily share items with your different characters. In the original game, if you wanted to share items amongst all your characters, you would have to find an empty server, drop your gear, swap over to a different character, and pick up the items with them to do so. This new mechanic doesn’t substantially change the game, but it does make things for the more dedicated players a bit more manageable.
In our talk with game designer Andre Abrahamian, he explained that many of the more esoteric and even antiquated original game elements are still meaningful.
“When we were revisiting Diablo II, even 20 years later, we saw that there’s still a lot of great elements of this game,” he said. “There’s still a lot of enjoyment we could have out of it. So, one of our game pillars is to maintain the fun [of the original]. There’s a lot of things in there, a lot of great elements. This is a game that helped define a genre, the action-RPG genre as we know it. Even though it’s a dated game, many interesting design elements still carry to this day in interesting ways and add a lot of story moments for players. That’s why another gameplay pillar we have, that we like to say, was to ’embrace The Quirks,’ which is like a lot of these things about Diablo II, is what makes it Diablo II.”
Will There Be Multiplayer and Cross-Progression?
Diablo II: Resurrected will still have online multiplayer. Along with bringing back 8-player games, Resurrected’s online infrastructure has been updated to protect players against cheaters and those looking to hack, and it will also allow for cross-progression. Much like Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition, you can also bring over your save files from different versions of the game. However, it has been confirmed that the remaster will not have cross-play amongst the different platforms.
Who Is Behind This Remaster?
The remaster of Diablo II is coming from both Blizzard Entertainment and developer Vicarious Visions. The latter previously worked on the Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy remaster and 2020’s Tony Hawk: Pro Skater 1+2, the studio has quite the pedigree when it comes to updating classic games. Along with handling the remaster, Vicarious Visions is also behind the process of bringing Diablo II to consoles, which marks the game’s first appearance away from PC.
“Diablo II has never been on consoles, so there were a lot of interesting takes on our end on how to approach things,” [speaker name] said. “When we approached how to do a console port, a common challenge was that you no longer have a mouse, so how do you approach character movements and use different abilities and targeting? So, Vicarious Visions has a lot of experience with consoles, which helped us a lot with addressing a lot of the technical aspects. We kind of combined our knowledge and ways of syncing with what we’ve done on Diablo III as well as the knowledge Vicarious Visions knows. So, that was always a great relationship with how we came together and building Diablo II: Resurrection on consoles.”
Will This Remaster Replace The Original Game?
During our interview with the remaster developers, we spoke about the different lessons learned from the making of the WarCraft III: Reforged, which was released to a mixed response from fans. Much of fan disappointment for WarCraft III: Reforged came from Blizzard using the remaster to replace the original game on Battle.net, making it the only way to play the last strategy game in the WarCraft series. In our talk with Blizzard, the studio stated that they plan to keep the original version of Diablo II on Battle.net, which will be playable alongside the remaster. While Resurrected will keep the classic game and visuals in its legacy mode, players who are still used to the original can opt to play that instead.
Where To Find More On Diablo II: Resurrected
Since BlizzCon, we have posted several breakouts and reveals for the game. Here’s a selection of other news and details we’ve learned from the show.
For more on the big reveals from BlizzCon, check out our roundup of all the latest on Diablo IV, World of WarCraft, Hearthstone, and more.