Diablo 2 Resurrected: Revealed by surprise during the BlizzConline 2021 fair, the remake Diablo 2 Resurrected set our expectations high on the head in no time. And how could it be any different? It was enough for the first chord of the classic soundtrack to appear in the trailer for fans all over the world to shiver and be transported back to the year 2000, the release date of the original game.
Things got even more promising when confirmation came that none other than Vicarious Visions, responsible for other great recent remakes like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 and Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, had taken on the colossal endeavor to present the classic action RPG to a new generation.
Rob Gallerani, the main designer of the project, had already talked to us exclusively during the fair, but since then we had the announcement of an alpha technician and, at the invitation of the producer, we were able to check firstly the gameplay of the title, in addition to talking a little more with Rob about the progress of the project. Find out all about this game below!
Back to the future
Just like the remakes of Tony Hawk’s and Crash modernized the visuals of the old games to make them coherent with the graphics presented by the latest releases, Vicarious Visions also brought a cutting edge look to its reinterpretation of Diablo 2, which easily passes through a neat blockbuster straight from 2021.
However, the Resurrected version has an extra attraction, which is the possibility of, with just one click, immediately transform the beautiful remake into its glorious original version! The retro graphics are respectfully called the “Legacy” mode here, and the transition to a much lower resolution even seems like magic on computers so natural, which is a huge technical achievement.
Although the game is the way any computer game fan in the past decade must remember, fidelity was not exactly the watchword during development. As Rob explained to us, “even when we took a Tony Hawk’s 1, 2 or 3 move and subtly mixed it up in the remake, people were fine with it, because in fact they had memories of playing like that, you know?”
“I think the key point here is to be aware that we are making the game that people remember, and that it is not necessarily the same as what the game was like,” he continued. “It was a great honor to work with Blizzard on this game because it means a lot to a lot of people, including the people here! That was the title that put many of us in the industry.”
“We always think that everything we do involves two types of players: maybe Diablo 2 was his first PC game, his high school companion, and the game obviously needs to give the right feeling to these people, but there is also a group of players who may not have been born yet in the original release and who are now used to more modern action RPGs. ”
“So we tried to focus on making it an authentic experience, reminding people how amazing the game was. It was fun at the time, and it’s still fun today.” Fun really was ubiquitous during all our test hours, partly because of nostalgia but, in large part, because of the new features in this new version.
Everything under control
For those who did not experience Diablo 2 in its early years, and especially for those who recently played video games and did not follow the evolution of action RPGs and dungeon crawlers, the structure of the classic game can be a little confusing, since the game has never it holds you by the hand from one point to the other on the map.
On the contrary: at each match your goals will be in different locations, so you need to explore a lot, all without clear goal markers, something that has been maintained both in the most recent look and in the original experience. See how the first half hour of Legacy mode gameplay is true to the design of the 2000s:
The reason behind this decision was just to remind everyone how fun the original exploration experience was. Even so, some modernization of mechanics proved to be necessary, especially with regard to support for joysticks, something that did not exist in the original PC version.
“We could spend the whole day talking about the process of adapting Diablo to the joysticks, but I will try to summarize it,” amused Rob. “When we talk about the various platforms we work on, how different the Nintendo Switch is from the PlayStation 5, the truth is that all gameplay decisions revolve more around the interface and controls. Because once you get around it, everything is easier. and you just need to be concerned with graphical fidelity and enabling one or the other graphical feature. ”
“In the controls we had to take into account even the fact that our game has cross-progression, that is, you can play on your PC, do a lot of things there, and then continue to progress on the console. That means that we we couldn’t take as many shortcuts as expected. For example, if we wanted to adapt the inventory system to a list running on the controls, what would the migration of items between platforms be like? “