Diablo 2 Remake News & Release Date Info [Oct 2020]

So you’re an old Diablo 2 fan waiting to relive the glory of one of your favorite games of all time in high resolution, hopefully with some nifty new enhancements. Join the club! With the amazing game Diablo 2 is, it’s no wonder that fans like us can’t wait for any news or updates on a potential Diablo 2 remake or remaster for modern resolutions.

Luckily for those of us who would murder a hoard of demons just for the chance at a remastered version, earlier this year in May this year a French source that has a reliable track record of predicting Blizzard secrets announced they had received a leak about a Diablo 2 remake titled “Diablo 2: Resurrected”. Many popular sites were quick to follow up on the news and its possible implications.

Evil Has Survived

“Stay a while and listen…”

All the way back in 2017 many fans were left disappointed after Diablo 2’s original developers went on record to say that making a Diablo 2 remake or remaster would be incredibly difficult due to both missing source code for the game and also the resolution specific tweaks that were done to give the game it’s look and feel. Think good ol’ 640×480 and 800×600 resolutions for an idea of how far we are going back. But with the spate of recent Blizzard remasters including both Starcraft and Warcraft 3, if there were ever a time to have your ears perked out for new updates, the time would be now. Unfortunately, at the end of the day only time will tell if our prayers will be answered.

The Bad News: There’s No Guarantee of a Diablo 2 Remake

First off let’s start with the bad news – there is no guarantee that the source claiming a Diablo 2 remaster is in the works is 100% reliable, or that Blizzard has the project in development, or even if they did at some point, whether it’s still planned or in production. Even reliable sources can be wrong sometimes too, and Blizzards’ plans often seem to change from month to month.

On top of this, with the failure of Blizzards’ Warcraft 3 remaster in many fans eyes, Blizzard could be highly cautious of doing remasters in the future that might have a chance of failure in case of a backlash from the community.

After all, the last thing we want is to be teased with the idea of an amazing remaster, only to get a dulled down limp corpse of a remake that takes one step forward and two steps back.

Previous Diablo 2 developers have also been outspoken when it comes to the idea of a remake, in no small part due to the fact that during Diablo 2’s original development the main backup of the project became corrupted, which allegedly meant that the game had to be recreated from code on individual developers computers causing a ton of important files to be lost in the process. What this means, in theory, is that a Diablo 2 remaster could likely “not be the same game” due to much of the code needing to redone from scratch after being hacked together for the original game launch.

Did we mention Diablo 2 ended up being one of the best games of all friggin’ time? Hats off and a moment of silence please for David Brevik and the rest of the original Diablo 2 development team for all of the pain they went through to bring us this masterpiece. Whether or not these files can be recovered or recreated in a way that doesn’t lose touch with the original is open for debate, though it’s clear at the very least in some aspects it could be a different game altogether at least from a code perspective.

With that out the way, let’s move on to some positive karma to hope that the Diablo gods are hard at work on an amazing remaster!

The Good News: Steady Demand from Fans for Diablo 2 Remaster

Despite its age, interest in Diablo 2 has seemingly defied the test of time completely, with a dedicated fanbase of players and enthusiasts still trawling the halls of hell like it’s 2000 over twenty years later. I personally admit to having more fun playing a rerun of Diablo 2 than I did playing Diablo 3 in its entirety, which is no small feat.

Sure, one could put some of it down to raw nostalgia, but there is something more – the Diablo 2 had a certain polish and immersion that is quite hard to put one’s finger on even after careful inspection. This is what drives the hopes from fans for a Diablo 2 remake that will live up to the hype and give fans and new players alike a taste of hell’s old glory, hopefully as a teaser just before we get our hands on Diablo 4 (and that is assuming Diablo 4 is any good in the end).

Of course, this is all just wishful thinking at the end of the day – but it sure as hell is better than wishing Diablo 3 would turn into the gem that it deserved to be. Despite being a good game, it lacked the greatness of its predecessors in a way that could only leave true die-hard fans wanting more.

Our own research using Google Ads keyword data suggests that there are between 100 000 – 1 000 000 people searching for Diablo 2 on Google every single month. At the very least, this should show that Blizzard would have a huge monetary incentive tapping into an amazing fanbase like ours. Knowing the path Blizzard has taken since their Activision takeover, you can be sure executives are eyeing out these numbers eagerly.

Diablo 4: Will We Get Diablo 4 Before a Diablo 2 Remake?

If there’s one thing that will be sure to satisfy the cravings of the Diablo community enough to put off the idea of a Diablo 2 remake, it’s definitely the hotly anticipated Diablo 4.

After the disappointment of Diablo 3 for me personally, it took me some time to warm up the idea of Diablo 4. It was only after watching the trailer one day without watching the intro (so I had no idea that it was Diablo at all) that is really caught my attention.

Such was the trauma of a failed Diablo 3 launch and a game that clearly did not lift up to it’s predecessors, though in all honestly that was always going to be a herculean task. The above said, I highly recommend skipping the intro on the video below for your objective opinion if you too have been emotionally scarred by Diablo 3.

Diablo 2 is especially relevant here as Diablo 4 is being hyped precisely for its return to the dark atmosphere so prevalent in Diablo 1 and Diablo 2 that was seemingly lost in the color orgy that ended up being Diablo 3.

That said though, with the disappointing hype versus reality we are used to from Blizzard lately, we can we really trust that they are taking this seriously? Our only solace lies in the fact that Activison-Blizzard company executives, after canceling Diablo 3’s additional planned expansions, were cited as saying openly that Diablo 3 had been a failure despite perceived commercial and critical success.

This is a statement, that, unfortunately, I tend to agree with. Being the greedy corporate machine that Activision-Blizzard has turned into, we can only hope that the loss of loyalty from fans over Diablo 3 was really enough for executives to take notice and ensure that Diablo 4 lives up to all our greatest expectations and more.

Where to Next?

If you have made it this far and you are still here and chewing at the bit for something to sink your teeth into there is, fortunuately, there is one last solution.

In the wait for a Diablo 2 remake and Diablo 4, there is no shame in whipping out your old CRT (if you want to take it that far) and reliving the glory of Diablo 2 by simply playing the original all over again.

You may be surprised at how well the original itself has stood up to the test of time. Unfortunately, the online community is somewhat dominated by an army of bots farming items, but for a true adventurer this should be no excuse to relive hells glory.

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Why Diablo 2 Is So Good – Dissecting a Legendary RPG

With over 20 years of PC gaming under my belt, Diablo 2 is still most probably my favorite game of all time. I have played thousands of hours of Diablo 2 and the game is still as engrossing and fun to play as it was over twenty years ago. In this article we will explore reasons why Diablo 2 is such a good game and what fans love about Diablo 2 for anyone deciding whether or not they should play Diablo 2 for the first time, or for old fans looking for an excuse to return to the dark world of Sanctuary.

Should you play Diablo 2 today? Here are five reasons why Diablo 2 is one of the best games ever made. Since Diablo 2’s original release, hundreds of imitators have taken the games formulae and rehashed it in various shape and sizes to varying degrees of success. You will see elements of Diablo 2 in virtually every single modern RPG you play today. But one thing is for sure – there can be only one king of the ARPG and this is the game that practically defined the genre.

1. Incredible sound design and music soundtrack


Sound design

Although often overlooked by many gamers and gaming reviewers alike, sound design in games is a long lost art that can truly make or break a games immersion. Diablo 2 features some of the greatest sound design in a game ever made in this authors humble opinion.

Lead by Scott Peterson and Matt Uelman, the Diablo 2 sound design team created virtually all of the games sounds from scratch using what is referred to as “foley”, a term popularized by the film industry for creating sound effects from scratching using in a studio. Undoubtedly this involved hacking apart various day to day items including apart anything from a turkey carcass to a watermelon.

To get an idea for the level of detail the team went to, every single item type in the game has it’s own unique sound when dropping from a monster. In a game so heavily driven by loot and items, it’s no wonder finding items is so satisfying when you look at the extent the sound design team went too. This isn’t even taking into account the careful planning for how these sounds are implemented to create an immerisive audio environment, a task spearheaded by developer Jon Stone.

Music

Composer Matt Uelman, who was also part of the sound design team above and was the composer for the original Diablo 1 soundtrack, should need no introduction to anyone familiar with the world of video game soundtracks. His iconic soundtracks for Diablo 2 and Diablo 2 Lord of Destruction were nothing short of a work of genius.

Diablo 2 Soundtrack Cover

His style of music includes some incredibly original and unique tools including the use of 12 string guitars which was made legendary by “Tristram”, the theme tune from the original Diablo 1 which was redone for Diablo 2 in a way that will send shivers down the spine of any true Diablo 2 fan to this day. His influences included legendary rock bands such as Led Zeppelin all the way through to Latin American music.

As an avid Diablo 2 fan I can attest to listening to the Diablo 2 soundtrack regulary and, over twenty year later, it is still brilliant enough to take me right back to the world of Sanctuary in a heartbeat.

Voice Acting

It would be impossible to leave this section be without pointing out the incredible voice acting throughout Diablo 2. In a world often domainted by sub-par voice acting, Diablo 2 had a level of polish in it’s voice acting team that is still hard (if not impossible) to find even in todays world of multi-billion dollar gaming empires.

Considering the small size of the studio at the time, it is a wonder that this was possible – how did a small team of 20-somethings recruit the kind of talent that many triple AAA game titles today lack so sorely?

2. Immersive graphics engine and art style

Artistic Style and User Interface

One of the first things that jumps out at you when you play Diablo 2 is the artistic style which is consistent from the cinematic videos, game menus and all the way through to the in-game user interface and graphical art style.

There is no point in the game that for even one second the graphics give you any inkling of an idea that there is even a world that exists outside of the game itself. This is something that seems to have fallen to the wayside in today’s era of hyper-modern and flashy game menus and in-game overlays.

The progression between menu’s and in-game is virtually seemless, and the in-game UI is crafted in such a way that simply looks like an extension of the world itself and doesn’t detract from the atmosphere of the game.

Graphics Engine and Artistic Flare

This consistency translates 100% when looking at the in-game graphics, which appear to be a blend of 3D graphics and a digital paintbrush. This is partly the reason why, even 20 years later, the game is still so immersive despite the insane leaps in graphics since.

Instead of seeming crass and blocky, the pixeelated art style, even through todays lens, appears to resonate with the in-game world so well that it never ceases to detract from the immersion.

Dark Atmosphere

It wouldn’t be fair to talk about the Diablo 2 graphics engine and art style without mentioning probably the most pervasive element of all – a feeling of darkness, gloom and decay permeated by spots of brightness (usually in the form of your own hero).

Instead of feeling depressing, this dark gothic art style is gleefully evil in a way that celebrates the darkness of the world around you. A lack of this art style was one of the major criticisms of Diablo 3 and something that Blizzard has promised to fix in the upcoming Diablo 4 with limited results so far.

3. Randomized maps and scaling difficulty levels allow for almost infinite replayability

Randomized “procedurally generated” content

One of the biggest reasons why Diablo 2 is still so popular today is the way the game make incredible usage of procedurally generated content. In a nutshell, what this means that the games maps, enemies and items and randomized in such a way that you can play through the game any number of times and each time will be extremely different.

Although the framework for how each map looks and the basic quests and story are the same, within this framework is an insane amount of randomization which allows for thousands of replays of the same areas while still keeping the game interesting for players. The games dense maps are interesting full of small details and hoards of monsters and enemies of all shapes and sizes.

Scaling difficulty levels

This is coupled with a brilliant difficulty system which has three tiers, each within the same world and using the same quests but with huge differences in the type, strength and behavior of enemies, creating an extremely challenging games which only gets harder and more interesting the more you play it.

Most of the games best content happens at higher difficulty levels, where both character progression and fights with enemies become increasingly difficult and require an intense amount of strategy in order to overcome.

4. Complex and extremely satisfying loot and item economy

Item randomization and customization

Any fan of Diablo will tell you one of the most satisfying and addictive elements to the game is the incredibly well designed loot system and item economy. Finding new gear to enhance your character and be able to take on stronger and stronger enemies is a huge part of what makes Diablo so alluring to players. Despite the success of dozens and dozens of modern RPG’s which have tried their best to take it’s place, Diablo 2 defined a new era of itemization in the RPG genre and, by many accounts, still does it better than any other game today.


You’ll need your PHD in Diablo 2 itemization to decipher this one

Items that are spawned in Diablo 2 can have any number of item types, item qualities, item rarities and randomized item attributes that make almost every single item different from the next. Even high-level “Unique” items which have legendary titles that remain static throughout the game have certain properties that our completely randomized so that in practice almost no two items are exactly the same. Beautiful artwork and well written lore are just the cherry on the cake in this incredible system.

In-game economies

The game also utilized an intricate in-game gold economy with vendors which includes balancing costs and expenditure on various tasks necessary to your continued adventuring, including repairing equipment, buying potions and hiring mercenaries to aid you in your battles.

At much higher difficulty levels, the item economy takes over the gold economy in the quest for the ultimate gear to allow your character to be able to survive and defeat the increasingly powerful enemies found at higher difficulty levels. In online multiplayer on Blizzards official Battle.net servers, this creates a separate item-based economy where players often items between each other in order to help find the gear they need for their chosen heroes.

Sidenote: Not to drag Blizzard through the mud, but the Diablo 3 loot system is infantile in comparison , with extremely limited builds and very limited item customization in the same way that there was in Diablo 2. Can we get this write in Diablo 4 as well while we’re at it, pretty please?

5. Extreme character customizability

Last but not least, another element of Diablo 2 success is it’s extremely interesting character customization using a relatively simple system that can produce incredibly complex and interesting builds and thousands of completely different ways to play the same heroes.

Add to this the complexity of item builds, which themselves have thousands and thousands of different configurations, and you have a system where creating a new character requires an extensive amount of research and planning in order to be able to achieve the desired results at higher difficulty levels. By the same token, the system is intuitive and easy to understand for newer players playing lower difficulty levels.

This system of masterful game balance between different characters, skills and item builds is what has kept Diablo 2 alive over twenty years after it’s creation. There are so many possibilites and so many ways original ways to play the game that the replayability options insane, and the amount of brain stretching and strategizing required to truly create a character you are happy with for later difficult levels is a mammoth task.

A Final Call for Aid

Thanks for getting to the end of our open heart surgery on the legendary Diablo 2 on what made it one of the most popular video games of its time and why it remains such a popular game even today over 20 years since launch. Before you go, we ask one favor in the name of RPG gaming and the glory of the Blizzard we once knew.

Please share this article with Blizzard and your friends in the hopes that Diablo 4 will return to its roots and that Blizzard will consider a legendary Diablo 2 remake to show the world the true genius of the Diablo franchise and bring us back the Blizzard that created some of the most celebrated video games of all time.

You can contact Blizzard here.

Diablo 2 Google Searches Still Over 100 000 Per Month 20 Years Later

After some digging by the Diablo 2 HD team, we’ve uncovered some startling ( and potentially hopeful) date regarding Diablo 2’s lingering popularity. It appears that according to the Google Ads Keyword Planner tool there are between 100 000 and 1 million searches for Diablo 2 every single month with some other tools pegging the number around 135 000. To put this into perspective, this is roughly the same search volume for the term “rpg games” and about a quarter of the search volume for “the witcher 3”. This means that according to Google searches alone Diablo 2 is still competing in terms of its popularity with many of the top RPG’s of the past 5 years, let alone the last decade!

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