Wait and Listen: Everything About Diablo 2: Resurrected

We tell you about the new functionality, improved graphics engine and the team’s approach to the remaster

In recent years, Blizzard fans have often asked the company to release a Diablo 2 remaster. For a long time, this seemed like something unrealistic. Largely because of the stories of former studio employees. They talked about lost code and asset backups. However, the announcement of the remaster at BlizzConline 2021 convinced otherwise. The project is in good hands: the game looks great and has preserved the basic principles of the universe. They may seem outdated to some, but that’s what sets Diablo 2 apart from other action RPGs 20 years later.

Diablo 2: Resurrected is a true remaster, not a remake. The internal team of Blizzard and Vicarious Visions is responsible for the project, responsible for the re-release of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2. The developers managed not only to recover the lost pieces of code, but also to find the necessary assets. Everything went into action: from rough drawings on paper to concepts for tabletop figures. Game designer Andre Abrahamian said that sometimes the team had to refer to Diablo 1 models and use them as references (the developments of the first part were used to create a sequel in the 90s).

The Diablo 2 remaster uses the original 2D engine and 3D graphics system, written from scratch on top of the old one. This feature allows you to switch from a pixelated image to a modern picture (in 2160p or 4K resolution) in a couple of clicks. Improved animations, detailed rendering, dynamic lighting (which makes the game look darker), re-created models and icons, camera controls, completely re-shot cinematics (the only one that was redone) – all this is made possible thanks to the new 3D engine. Examples of how graphics switching works can be seen on the official website or in the video posted below.

“Every artistic choice, whether it’s a model or a setting, should evoke nostalgia and heighten an emotional connection with the original,” Lead Artist Chris Amaral explained the team’s approach to graphics. – For the appearance, we came up with the principle “70 to 30”. 70% are classic. We don’t change anything here. We don’t touch what works. We keep familiar shapes, colors and shades. Everything should be “one to one” and completely repeat the original. We want to recreate the original while retaining the original design decisions. 30% of what is new gives us room for improvement. Every change should be a visual step forward. ”

However, the graphical innovations do not affect the mechanics of the original in any way. The authors have retained the principle of 25 frames per second, which is at the heart of the game and is necessary when calculating the speed of blows or spell casting. Despite this, the action on the screen looks much smoother due to the high FPS. The usual sound has not gone anywhere either. If you hear a bubble gurgle in your head at the sight of a mana potion or healing, the same will happen in the remaster. Even the original voice acting remained intact. The only difference is that the system uses 7.1 surround sound. Due to it, the developers have added more background effects to make the sound more saturated.

This is what the game looks like when the camera approaches

Inventory

Updated character selection menu

This is what the game looks like when the camera approaches

Inventory

Updated character selection menu

This is what the game looks like when the camera approaches

Other innovations include an updated interface adapted for consoles and modern standards. Players now have an extended stats window, item-based general information, and the ability to compare gear using Shift. The game, of course, will not tell you which of the two helmets will be better based on the properties, as in Diablo 3, but it will facilitate the decision-making process.

A common cache will appear in the game for all heroes, depending on the mode (important: it has become larger – the number of cells has increased from 6×8 to 10×10). The developers took such a step so that users no longer have to fiddle with mule characters. However, there are limitations: a hero who fights for a line in the seasons cannot share the contents of the chest with an unrated fighter. The same goes for online and offline.

A new character selection menu will appear in Resurrected. The background will depend on the act the hero is in

A new character selection menu will appear in Resurrected. The background will depend on the act the hero is in

Autogold is another innovation that should make life easier for console and PC players. However, if you wish, the function can be disabled in the settings and never touch it.

The use of the controller also forced the creators to resort to simplifications. This also applies to management, and some of the abilities of the heroes. For example, the distance for a sorceress teleport is always the default. The player only has to indicate the direction. On a PC, if the user is using a keyboard and mouse, the distance depends on the position of the cursor on the screen. However, the platform will support both options. And it is not yet clear how this will affect the process in the seasons.

It is also not completely clear how the progress synchronization system will work. The authors promise to give the opportunity to play on different platforms, provided that you own the required copy (buying a remaster on PC and running it on Switch will not work). However, the creators are not yet ready to talk about the new feature in detail. First, they want to make sure everything is working as expected.

But with the game offline and online there will be no problems. The authors left intact the co-op mode of up to 8 people and all the principles that the community has built over the years. Onsite and PvP. The only thing that has been changed is that the seasons have been shortened, the search for groups has been improved, server restrictions have been removed (there will be one global server) and the automatic deletion of characters after a while.

And finally: the remastered version of Diablo 2 will not replace the original, they will exist separately and develop according to their own rules. In part, this move will affect cheaters who want to find a loophole in order, for example, to make a duplicate of an item in an unfair way, and mods. Resurrected will support third-party enhancements, but on what terms is still unknown.

Diablo 2: Resurrected – the same Diablo, only more pumped up taking into account new platforms and opportunities so that a new audience can get acquainted with the classics (Lord of Destruction is also included in the kit, which costs 2,000 rubles). The release is scheduled for 2021. The game is coming to PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S and Switch. To participate in the technical alpha test, anyone can leave an application on the official website

 

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