It is 2023 and I am able to play on my modern-ish PC three generations of Diablo… four if you insist on counting Diablo Immoral… and we are waiting for a fifth generation of Diablo to be launched come June.
Seriously. We will soon have all the Diablos available.
Over at GoG.com you can find the original Diablo in a form playable on modern PCs, which isn’t bad considering it came out 26 years ago. It predates the launch of the Pentium II processor by 5 months.
When this playable version appears over on GoG.com back in 2019 I grabbed a copy right away and played through the game. It felt very raw two decades down the road, yet you could still see the magic it kindled, the reason that people get excited whenever a new Diablo title is talked about.
Then of course, there is Diablo II Resurrected, the amazing remaster of the second entry in the series. It is hard to explain just how much it felt like the original release back in 2000 when I first launched it and how startled I am every time I swap over to the original graphics mode… the fact that this is a feature is crazy greatness… and realize that somehow the updated graphic mesh in with my memories of the game so well that I accepted them as being authentic from the get go.
I don’t know how to explain how this is both NOT what the game looked like in 2000 and yet FEELS like the game felt in 2000.
I was honestly a little dubious about the remake at first, when it landed in beta. But it quickly grew on me. Vicarious Visions, the “nowhere close to Irvine” studio that did the remaster did a better job that we might have expected, especially given the fiasco that was Warcraft III Reforged.
Then there is Diablo III. As I mentioned in my post about the launch of Season 28, a bit of a troubled child of the franchise at launch, but things were sorted out and it has been the primary standard bearer for the franchise over the last decade.
It doesn’t *feel* like its two predecessors in some essential way I am still working out… I’ve played all three now in the last three years, I should be able to figure that at some point… I think the lighting is part of it… but it is a solid ARPG title of its own accord and has found a way to keep fans engaged with the regular season mechanic that sees players roll fresh characters every so often to chase down specific goals and grab special cosmetic items and pets and achievements. Not my cup of tea, not on a regular basis at least, but still solid in its way.
I suppose I will allow Diablo: Immortal into the club as well. Despite its expected predatory monetization practices, if you can just play the game and steer clear of the cash shop, it does come across as a decent ARPG.
It has a different “flavor” to it in some ways than the rest of the franchise, but it does capture the dark and brooding atmosphere at times and Blizzard did go and make it playable on the PC rather than just being a mobile only title.
Finally, we have Diablo IV coming up this year. In fact, this month. Early Access Open Beta or whatever terms they are using will land soon for those interested in getting an early look at the first 25 levels of the title.
So, at some point this month it will be entirely possible for somebody to play all of the flavors of Diablo in the same week. And come June and the actual release, we will have five versions of Diablo to choose from spanning the 26 year history of the franchise.
I am trying to think if there are other long lived franchises that offer similar options. Did they not remaster the Grand Theft Auto series at one point?
Final Fantasy RPG games fit I believe. All games up to and including 7 have a remaster, and the early FF games pre-date Diablo by at least 10 years.
Elder Scrolls games too, The Elder Scrolls: Arena was from ’94 and is still playable free on Steam