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Image: Blizzard Entertainment
The Dark Wanderer visits Marius in the opening cutscene of Diablo 2. The doors to the prison swing open on their own, as if magic has forced the hinges to move. It’s a memorable moment, one that establishes this presence of magic & power for the Dark Wanderer.

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But this wasn’t always the case. Pre-release sale materials for Diablo 2 featured a warden character opening the door for the Dark Wanderer. It was the original intent that the warden exist to open the door, but that character never made it into the game. It changed the context of the scene. In the shipped version, the Dark Wanderer doesn’t seem invited; they open their own path.

In Diablo 2 Resurrected, the recently announced remaster of Diablo 2, Blizzard Entertainment could’ve revisited that cinematic and brought the warden baông chồng in. But no matter the original intention or what makes more sense in the scene, that goes against Blizzard’s philosophy for Resurrected.

Prior lớn BlizzConline, we spoke lớn Rod Fergusson, executive producer of the Diablo franchise at Blizzard, & Rob Gallerani, principal designer at Blizzard’s support studio, Vicarious Visions. And after working on the industry’s “worst-kept secret,” the pair were clear on Diablo 2 Resurrected: This is the Diablo 2 you know, warts & all.

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The Andariel boss fight gets an nâng cấp Image: Blizzard Entertainment “This isn’t a remake,” said Fergusson. “We’re not reverse-engineering it; we’re not rebuilding it and trying khổng lồ make it look & sound like <Diablo 2>. This is <Diablo 2>. <...> It’s right there, underneath the surface. The entire simulation, the engine for this game, that lifeblood of this game, is <Diablo 2> right underneath. So there’s a toggle switch, a legacy toggle, that when you press the button, you’ll see behind the curtains, và there is Diablo 2 in 2D sprites running right there, & you can play the way that you played đôi mươi years ago.”

In our 30-minute chat, the pair couldn’t have made the philosophy for Diablo 2 Resurrected more clear. It is — because it needed khổng lồ be — the game players remembered. Blizzard felt that most deviations, even important quality-of-life features, would be a step too far.

“Most players play with the map up while they play the game,” said Gallerani. “And a request we got in the play demo — very much from people who have sầu never played <Diablo 2> but are used to playing more modern games — will be like, I just got a quest. Where’s the dot on the maps telling me where lớn go?

“We looked into lớn doing something like that,” Gallerani continued, “& you’re like, Well, it doesn’t doesn’t break anything, right? It’s not making my character overpowered or anything lượt thích that. And it totally changed the vibe of the game.”

While a revamped minimap or icons showing you where khổng lồ go may have sầu made for a more modern Diablo experience, it didn’t feel true to what Diablo 2 was trăng tròn years ago. And Blizzard’s philosophy was that if a feature doesn’t feel authentic, it gets canned.

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A look at the Cathedral in Diablo 2 Resurrected Image: Blizzard Entertainment Blizzard wants to lớn preserve sầu Diablo 2 for Resurrected as much as it can, because even if the game is unchanged, the world it will be released inkhổng lồ is completely different. As with World of Warcraft Classic, the wide variety of information available on the mạng internet nowadays, & the advent of services like Discord, makes socializing while playing a very different experience. You don’t need the manual when an answer to lớn “how vì chưng I complete this quest” is a Discord message or a Google tìm kiếm away. Blizzard is counting on that — the community — to lớn help ease new players into the experience.

Diablo 2 Resurrected isn’t completely unchanged from Diablo 2, though; it’s just that the scope of the changes is rigid & limited. Blizzard made clear improvements to the visuals, taking the game from 2 chiều sprites to 3D models. But those models are all either based on the original game’s art or molded by using the original architecture. It looks và moves lượt thích Diablo 2, but in a way that makes it much easier to lớn look at for prolonged periods of time.

There are also some unobtrusive sầu convenience additions. One example Blizzard gave sầu is the Shared Stash, which allows players to move items between their characters by placing the desired nhà cửa in a chest. This is a major shift from the original game, where players needed khổng lồ create a mule character whose sole purpose was to lớn move items from one character to lớn the other. “We felt like this wasn’t changing how you played,” said Fergusson. “This is just making it better.”

The Shared Stash is one of the easiest-to-swallow pills for players — it just saves time, so there are no downsides. But a feature like tự động hóa gold pickup was a little too much for some.

“We have other like the tự động gold pickup, which you would expect in a modern-day game — that you have the ability just to walk over và hoover up the gold — but maybe a purist doesn’t want that unique of life,” said Fergusson. “And so we’ve actually made some that are toggleable, và you can opt in or not.”

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Players confront Tyrael, complete with newly improved graphics Image: Blizzard Entertainment The actual changes in Diablo 2 Resurrected are on that cấp độ of minutiae. If it even comes cchiến bại to feeling lượt thích too much of a difference from the original game, Blizzard threw in a toggle to allow players to lớn tailor their experience.

Many of the game’s major changes fit into lớn the quality-of-life pool or the communication pool. In Diablo 2, it was easy lớn lose track of skill points, or assign something in a way that ruins your character. That rigidity is still there, but the game will now remind you if you haven’t spent your points, và tell you how to assign your abilities. It’ll give you a warning that buying that skill is a permanent choice, but once you move sầu past the warning, that’s it — introducing the ability to lớn reverse that decision would be too big of a change.

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These changes all work lớn make Diablo 2 Resurrected a more friendly experience, but not one that’s so friendly it ever stops feeling like the dark, brutal, và occasionally frustrating Diablo 2 that catapulted the franchise into lớn gaming history. And if players have concerns that Diablo 2 Resurrected will change too much, Fergusson assured us that unlượt thích Warcraft 3: Reforged, Diablo 2 & Diablo 2 Resurrected are two separate games; one will not override or impact the other.

Diablo 2 Resurrected is scheduled lớn be released on consoles và Windows PC later this year, with a single-player beta available in a few months.