Diablo 2: Resurrected was one of the few Blizzcon 2021 announcements that will actually release this year. The title was described as a “faithful” remaster of the 2000 dungeon crawler Diablo 2, which Blizzard Entertainment will bring to life by enhancing the graphics of the original title. While that might freshen the 21-year-old game, the release sorely lacks many features players expect out of modern hack-and-slashers. Diablo 2: Resurrected launch appears to have learned from the controversial release of Warcraft 3: Reforged, but it’s still another remake charging gamers for less content.
The Diablo 2 remaster only slightly changes the original’s two-decade-old user interface. It will lack crossplay at launch, and its cross-progression feature requires players to purchase the game twice. Despite all that, Blizzard has clearly learned from its mistakes by making sure Diablo 2: Resurrected wouldn’t replace the original (like Warcraft 3: Reforged did for Warcraft 3). Still, these marginal changes set a bad precedent for future Blizzard remasters.
Remasters and remakes have become a core part of many developer release strategies because of their relative simplicity to make compared to brand-new IPs. Blizzard can invest a small portion of its dev power to churning out remasters of its classic games to make a quick profit and satiate fans as they await its bigger projects, like Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2. But Diablo 2: Resurrected treads a fine line between staying faithful to the original and re-selling a game from 2000.
Developer Vicarious Visions partnered with Blizzard to create Diablo 2: Resurrected, which could bode well for the remaster. The studio has a solid track record of recent acclaimed remasters, including the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2. Still, both Vicarious Visions’ past releases were bundles of at least two games under one title. Diablo 2: Resurrected, on the other hand, only includes one title and the Lords of Destruction DLC that introduced two new classes to the original.
Technically, the remaster also includes the 2000 version of Diablo 2, since players will be able to toggle off the 3D graphics with the click of a button if they want to play the original. That option is an interesting showcase of the technology used to make Diablo 2: Resurrected. Still, that feature feels gimmicky since most gamers buying the remaster will want to play with updated graphics, and the original Diablo 2 will still be available for $10.
Blizzard hasn’t revealed how much it will charge for Diablo 2: Resurrected, but seeing how Warcraft 3: Reforged launched at $30, it will likely be priced around the same. That means Blizzard could charge $20 extra for what is essentially graphical improvements to a game from 2000. That might be a good way to get newcomers to the series interested, but it seems like a tough sell for anyone who has already played through Diablo 2.