Diablo 2 has long been considered perhaps the best title in the Diablo series, defining the iconic franchise with its art, customization, difficulty, and PvP community. Many of these features were changed in Diablo 3, which was a good game in its own right, but altered much of the formula that fans loved in previous titles. Leaks have hinted at new Diablo Games for some time now, but now the wait is over and much more concrete information is available.
While Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2 were announced this year at BlizzCon 2019, many fans were expecting a remaster or remake of the beloved Diablo 2 to also be announced at the same time. Leaks, rumors, and hype surrounding Blizzard's seeming willingness to re-release some of their older games led many to believe that Diablo 2 would see some love this year. Unfortunately, those fans were left disappointed, with nary a peep surrounding the classic title mentioned alongside Diablo 4. There are many reasons why Diablo 2 deserves a remaster, but it may be that expecting it to come out any time soon is a pipe dream.
This time around, Blizzard may be attempting to recover from last year’s fiasco surrounding Diablo Immortal. After building up hype for new Diablo titles, many fans expected a Diablo 4. However, when the time came, Blizzard announced Diablo Immortal, a mobile only title that left many fans feeling like they were misled. After coming to expect a new, full title for the PC, the announcement of a mobile-only game, no matter how good, came as a slap to the face.
It seems that Blizzard has learned from this mistake, however. They have recognized the desire of many fans for new Diablo titles, as well as a demand for caring remasters of classic content. The success of WoW Classic made many fans think that other classic titles like Diablo 2 might be up next.
In recent times, remasters of classic titles have seen a big uptick. Graphical upgrades and tweaks that bring some of the greatest games of yesteryear into the modern era of gaming have seen rampant success, and WoW Classic revealed a huge demand for a re-vitalization of some of the great titles that made Blizzard what it is today.
Blizzard has already re-released some classic titles, but remastering old titles is a much preferable way to bring nostalgic games back into the limelight. Diablo 4 is a continuation of modern Diablo titles, and will likely be a worthy successor to the franchise.
However, there is also something to be said for a return to the basics, and Diablo 2 Remastered could have been exactly that. Unfortunately, Diablo fans will most likely be unable to experience the best of both worlds. Diablo 4 will be a sleek new continuation of Diablo 3's potential, but there will be no re-imagined return to the origins of the series. Diablo 4 will scratch the right itch for many, but others will have to rely on the original version of Diablo 2 to get their kicks.
After the changes brought on by Diablo 3, many players yearned for a way to return to the more grind-heavy, time-consuming, and therefore often more rewarding gameplay loop of Diablo 2. The ability to experience the more unforgiving nature of older games often brings back fond memories for people who grew up in a time when games made far fewer concessions in the name of player convenience.
While many remasters of classic games have seen success by updating outdated mechanics to bring them more in line with modern sensibilities, many are of the opinion that Diablo 2 Remastered should be a pure graphical upgrade and nothing more. Unfortunately, even this is unlikely to happen. There are several major challenges involved with updating and remastering a title like Diablo 2. Unlike WoW Classic, the developers cannot get away with re-releasing the same code. Diablo 2 has not been live-updated in the same way as WoW, so there is no need to make a vanilla version available again.
It is also important to note that in order to create a modern version of the game and support it on newer hardware, the developers would likely have to significantly change many aspects of the game. The way that games are developed has changed drastically since Diablo 2 came out. A remaster might have to rely on 3D graphics or an isometric art-style, but completely overhauling the way that the game is put together could pose significant challenges in recreating a faithful replica of Diablo 2's mechanics and feel. It is not as simple as re-skinning the old game with higher-detail textures and calling it a day. Unfortunately, the time may never come when Diablo 2 sees a loving remaster by Blizzard, and many fans will have to satisfy themselves with what Diablo 4 has to offer.
Diablo 2 is available on PC.