Diablo 2: Resurrected is An Impressive Remaster, Here’s Everything You Need to Know
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 10:10am 20/02/21 | Comments
Diablo II: Resurrected is out this year for PC and consoles and it’s basically a dream scenario of any remaster. Remake-level visuals with that authentic classic feel.
If you’re a fan of Blizzard’s seminal action-RPG release Diablo II (released in the Year 2000) or remember playing it when the excellent Lords of Destruction expansion dropped -- well, the very the idea of a Diablo II re-release or remaster will no doubt conjure up an image of two-things. Excitement in conjure form, and what a Diablo II remaster might look like.
Announced during BlizzConline, Diablo II: Resurrected is basically a dream scenario for the seminal action-RPG release -- it retains the core experience of the game yet still manages an impressive remake-level visual overhaul. A spectacular looking 3D overlay that sits on-top of a 2D core.
Check it out.
An all-encompassing Diablo II experience featuring remastered versions of Diablo II, the Lord of Destruction expansion, and countless hours of demon-slaying adventure. Ascend the Forgotten Tower, blaze a trail through the jungles of Kurast, and storm the gates of Hell to defeat Diablo himself. Then, scale the peak of Mount Arreat to face Baal, the Lord of Destruction, in Worldstone Keep.
What we see here is Diablo II being brought into the 4K-era, with remastered visuals that includes a 3D-layer of physically-based renderer goodness, new animations, lighting, textures, and visual effects. Basically every model and object you see recreated in 3D. All of this sits on top of the 2D core that is classic Diablo II -- meaning the original game is still here. No doubt the updated visuals look impressive in motion, but the fascinating thing is that they don’t mess with the timing and core systems that make D2, well, D2.
Diablo II: Resurrected is basically a dream scenario for the seminal action-RPG release -- it retains the core experience of the game yet still manages an impressive remake-level visual overhaul.
“For the decision to go 3D we really just looked at what the original creators could have done had they had today’s tools,” Rob Gallerani, Principal Designer on Diablo II: Resurrected tells AusGamers. “Diablo II is 2D sprites but you're still on an isometric 3D grid. There's this spatial awareness of everything, which means under the hood it already had a lot of 3D elements.”
Enough that even with the new look, it’s still very much a remaster -- a term that ultimately means you’re getting some version of the same game.
“If my character runs over to some place and swings at a monster and hits the monster, it's doing that, not because there's 3D-pathfinding and a collision sphere on the 3D sword hitting the vulnerability volume of the monster -- it's because the original sprite and systems said move to this grid square and roll some dice,” Rob Gallerani explains. Naturally, there’s a lot involved in making it all look seamless, 3D objects will interact even though the original 2D presentation is technically “flat”. And Blizzard is making sure it’s catching every bit of detail -- often literally.
“Taking a portion of the Cathedral wall from the original, our artists will recreate that wall,” Rob continues. “We start by creating grey meshes - a simple rectangle, a box. To make sure the proportions are right. From there you fill it in. But, everywhere the original game says this chunk of Cathedral wall goes, our 3D chunk follows. And we do that for every single item, every rock, every little beetle that walks around. Everything has that counterpart.”
For the team bringing Diablo II forward to 2021 there’s the expectation that it would look modern, and going 3D gives the team the ability to increase the visual fidelity across things like lighting and animation.
“The notion of being able to have this world and see it in 3D is great because underneath the covers the 2D game is running to drive all the logic,” Rod Fergusson, Executive Producer on Diablo II: Resurrected adds. “You can press a single key and you can play it the way that you played 20 years ago.”
“If my character runs over to some place and swings at a monster and hits the monster, it's doing that, not because there's 3D-pathfinding and a collision sphere on the 3D sword hitting the vulnerability volume of the monster -- it's because the original sprite and systems said move to this grid square and roll some dice.”
Pretty amazing really, the 3D overlay looks remake quality -- yet is still faithful to the 25-fps original. All content from the original release and Lords of Destruction expansion is here too, including the classic line-up of Amazon, Barbarian, Necromancer, Paladin, Sorceress, Assassin, and Druid.
Seeing the remastered campfire scene for the first time? Awesome. All 27-minutes of cinematics “remade, shot-for-shot, from the ground up”? Even better.
Also awesome? Diablo II: Resurrected is finally bringing a shared stash for all your characters. Automating gold pick-up is another quality of life improvement, but for the gold-clicking purists out there this will be optional. In terms of audio though things are kept classic, with the same iconic voice-work, music, and sound effects -- albeit remastered in a new Dolby Surround 7.1 presentation. Matt Uelmen’s score will sound better than ever.
Oh and Diablo II: Resurrected is coming to PC and consoles too -- with Diablo II's resurrection set to hit Xbox Series X and S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch in 2021. And it’ll do so with cross-progression so you can pick-up and continue playing the same characters on any version. Plus take part in the up-to 8-player co-op (D2 was kind of like the Blizzard MMO before the launch of WoW) or engage in PvP duels.
It’s a fairly extensive, again, dream scenario so one can’t help but wonder how long the Diablo II: Resurrection project has been in development. When asked Rod Fergusson smiles and tells us, “The official line is it's been in development for... some time now.”
With Diablo II: Resurrection out sometime this year a PC Technical Alpha is on the cards for “soon”.