So are we finally getting a remake of Diablo II?
It is coming up on five years since Blizzard first gave us a hint that they were planning to remaster some of their older titles. And they have managed to deliver, though not always with unambiguous success.
The StarCraft remaster seemed to go okay.
The price was right, so I bought a copy. It was really a strict remastering of assets rather than an expansion of the game in any way, but they didn’t promise us anything else. And they did add in the option for some customization, so we got the StarCraft Cartooned pack out of it.
The Warcraft III remaster however… Blizzard botched that out of the gate.
My pet theory is that somebody felt they had to kick it out the door when they did as it had been over a year since they had told people it was coming. So we got something that was less of a game than the original. The feature list seemed quite pared down.
And if that wasn’t enough, Blizz seemed really sensitive to the idea that somebody might make another DOTA from the scenario editor, so claimed ownership of all work anybody did there in the way that tone deaf corporate lawyers tend to do, which always manages to alienate fans.
I had pre-ordered it but asked for my money back once the situation became clear, though I will give Blizzard credit for being easy to get a refund from.
Which leads us to Diablo II. Long rumored, some of the team from Blizzard North, which created the game, have derided the idea, pointing out that they, through their own incompetence, lost some of the source code to the game and had to recreate it from local builds on dev machines and compiled binaries.
That sounds bad, though for me that message is tainted by the fact the same few former members of the Blizzard North team seem bitter at how things turned out and have been up front and ready to crap all over everything Diablo related that Blizzard has done since they left.
Still, that was definitely cold water on the embers of Diablo II nostalgia.
Then earlier this week some news appeared on a French gaming site about the possibility of a remaster titled Diablo II Resurrected, which seems on point given the asset loss story. This was quickly picked up by English language sites and the word spread.
Apparently the Activision studio Vicarious Visions is working with Blizzard on the remaster and the news has raised hopes that maybe the long awaited return of the game may come as soon as late 2020.
And, of course, I am torn on this.
I would very much like a remastered version of Diablo II that played at modern screen resolutions without looking like something from 1977. I will no doubt buy it if it becomes available.
But after the Warcraft III debacle a lot of people will be giving Blizzard a hard look rather than trusting what they (over)promise, myself included. The French site says that Blizzard may have learned its lesson on that front, but everybody says that after a mistake and many go on to make the same mistakes over and over.
And this all might be very premature. Speculation about getting a remaster this year could be blue sky estimates. We shall see.
But I will be keeping my eye open for news on that front. I want it to happen, and I want it to be… I’d settle for adequate. I was good with the Diablo remake Blizzard did in conjunction with GoG.com. If they could just manage that maybe? We shall see if I get what I want this time.
It would at least keep a few people satisfied until Diablo IV comes along in… did I guess 2022 back when they announced it? That sounds about right.