You wouldn’t ordinarily think Diablo 2 would be so complicated.
I remember writing and playing the preview earlier this year. Vicarious Visions — although they’ve since dropped that moniker now they’re fully incorporated into Blizzard’s structure — has a pretty astonishing record. Their PC port of Destiny 2 is outstanding. It’s probably one of the rare cases where HDR on PC works well, and is worth using, something that can’t be said for a lot of games.
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy was a massive hit — one that completely outsold Crash Bandicoot 4, going off Activision’s various investor reports. And the Tony Hawk Pro Skater remaster was nigh-on flawless, although it’s certainly best enjoyed on PC or modern consoles rather than the Nintendo Switch.
So at least from a technical standpoint, I wasn’t surprised to see the Diablo 2 remaster be less like Warcraft 3: Reforged, and more like StarCraft Remastered.
But then, well, everything happened.
It must have been a difficult for the Vicarious Visions teams, knowing their work would be saddled with baggage they had no involvement in, and certainly didn’t contribute to. Ian wrote a nice line in his playthrough:
Hundreds of devs across several studios worked to push this game across the finish line. And after all that’s happened, they still take pride in what they’ve accomplished. Even as Blizzard employees walked off the job and demanded better from leadership, they never once asked folks to stop playing and enjoying the games they made.
So, in that specific light and setting aside the actual quality of the game itself for a moment, I consider Diablo II: Resurrected a triumph. Making games is such a monumentally difficult task in the best of situations that I can’t imagine what it took to get Resurrected out the door with unaccountable creeps leering around every corner.
There’s been so much discussion about supporting Blizzard, not supporting Blizzard, respecting the individual developer’s wishes, honouring the work of those on the ground floor, but also not helping fund the executive and senior management levels that allowed these transgressions to flourish in the first place. Vicarious Visions wasn’t responsible for what transpired, but many of those who should have been responsible for fixing it — and have subsequently admitted fault in today’s enormous settlement, if not legally than certainly from a moral perspective — will be the ones who profit.
That’s tricky to balance ethically, at least for me.
I’d like to play Diablo 2 Resurrected one day, but preferrably when crossplay is enabled. I’ve enjoyed a lot of Destiny 2 recently with my partner, who plays on the Xbox Series X while I join in via PC. That works well and means we can both do the same thing on the platforms — and places — we’re most comfortable.
The Diablo 2 remaster doesn’t have that yet, and there’s no scheduled ETA on when a feature might arrive. Given the amount of time you spend levelling Diablo 2 characters, it wouldn’t feel right starting now. But it’s not just what’s going on at the company too that’s led to a bit of apathy: it’s also just a super, super busy period for video games. Even in this fortnight before the AAA games start landing, the amount of interesting indies — games like Astria Ascending, Kena: Bridge of Spirits, the betas for Icarus, upcoming things like Lemnis Gate or the chill AWAY — have kept me more than busy.
It’s just all too easy to pass. Maybe that’s partially a scheduling issue, one Activision and/or Blizzard could have fixed by moving it to a quieter period. But maybe it wouldn’t matter anyway. Maybe Diablo 2: Resurrected will be successful regardless of when it came out, and all those who skipped it might have done so irrespective of the date.
But I want to know how you all feel about it. For those who picked it up, what were your thoughts at the time? For those playing Diablo 2 on consoles now, how’s the experience? And for those who stayed away because of the revelations of the last few months, how do you feel now?