Revealed by surprise during the fair BlizzConline 2021, the remake Diablo 2 Resurrected put our expectations up high quickly. 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 introduce 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
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 most recent releases, Vicarious Visions also brought a cutting edge look to its reinterpretation of Diablo 2, which easily goes through a neat blockbuster straight from 2021.
However, the version Resurrected it has an extra attraction, which is the possibility of, with just one click, immediately transform the beautiful remake in 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, loyalty was not exactly the watchword during development. As Rob explained to us, “even when we caught a movement of Tony Hawk’s 1, two or 3 and subtly mixed them up in the remake, people were fine with that, 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 it was your first PC game, your high school companion, and the game obviously needs to give these people the right feeling, but there is also a group of players who may not even have been born in the original release yet 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 haven’t tried Diablo 2 in its early years, and especially for those who recently played video games and didn’t keep up with the evolution of action RPGs and dungeon crawlers, the structure of the classic game can be a bit confusing, as the game never holds you by the hand of a point to the other of 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’ll try to summarize, “Rob was amused.” 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 worry about graphic fidelity and enabling one or the other graphic 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? “
“It turned out that we like the joysticks so much that we encourage PC players to try this form of control, not least because you can switch between the two modes instantly. Knowing that we had to always stay on these tracks allowed us to be even more creative, after all, the experience and rules are similar, but on the controls it’s much easier to move your character. Dodging is simpler, for example. “
“On the other hand, on the joystick you lose the ability to aim your attacks at a very specific point, since we wanted to keep the pace of gameplay as fast as possible. If the player had to stop everything he is doing to aim, no would look like Diablo 2. This game has never had controls before, so naturally it will be different now, and that’s why we try to balance the pros and cons of each way of playing. “
On the right track
During the technical alpha it was possible to play with only three classes (Sorceress, Barbarian and Amazon), but naturally we will have all seven original classes when the final version arrives at our homes. The most interesting thing here is to notice how the character models were adapted in the transition to the most modern look.
The graphics of the new version of Diablo 2 leave nothing to be desired compared to modern action RPGsSource: Blizzard
While the ancient heroes had few animations, frames and super slow movements, their modern redesign makes them absurdly fluid, surrounding the world around them with beautiful lighting effects and particles flying all over the place as you fire your spells.
It even looks like a totally different game, although the aforementioned instant migration tool between classic and modern versions reminds us that the old game is always running under the hood of the updated update. Comparing the new scenarios, character models and fluidity of movements is easily one of the main attractions of the remake!
Diablo 2 Resurrected will be released in versions for PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PS4, Xbox Series X | S and Xbox One still in 2021. What did you think of what has been shown in the game so far? Are you excited about this remake? Comment below!