If Blizzard Does Remaster Diablo II, What Would They Need to Fix?
Ever since Blizzard accidentally let mentions of Diablo II and Warcraft III leak in a hiring call for a Senior Software Engineer -- which has since been taken down -- rumors have been buzzing of a Diablo II remaster or even a remake in the works.
While there is no doubt that there are hardcore fans of the game who would buy a remaster or even remake of the game in a heartbeat, would Blizzard be able to draw in new players to the classic game? And if so, what would they need to fix in order to draw them in?
The following are a few points I believe that Blizzard would need to address in order to relaunch the game for the modern era.
Staying Connected with Friends
Anyone who’s played a Blizzard game in the past few years has more than likely taken advantage of talking with their friend across games, servers, and factions with Battle.net, now called the Blizzard App. This is a feature that would be a great addition to Diablo II so players don’t feel cut off from their friends while playing. Thankfully, since the Starcraft remaster is going to be connected through the Blizzard App, they will probably do the same with a Diablo II remaster or remake.
Oh My God, My Eyes!
There are few who could argue against the fact that Diablo II has not aged well over the last 18 years. The graphics are old and very dated, especially to those who grew up with a majority of their game’s graphics being in 3D. When I say graphics, I mean both the cinematics and gameplay graphics.
The cinematics for the game are rather... well, terrifying. Comparing them to the World of Warcraft trailer that came out four years later, it’s amazing what a little bit of time and money can do for cinematics. Regardless of if it’s a remake or a remaster, they need to be updated, especially if they plan to target a more modern audience.
If they do a remaster, updating the 2D graphics like they did with Starcraft, going 4k and making it less pixelated is a must. If they were to do a full-blown remake, they could go one of two routes with the graphics: Either update them to a 3D engine similar to Diablo III’s or Heroes of the Storm, or stick with 2D to keep that similar retro feel to the game but use a more modern 2D engine where they could give the game their stylized look (hopefully keeping it just as Gothic-looking).
Make It Fit the Screen
Allowing for the game to be played at a higher resolution for more modern screens is a no-brainer. Again, this is something that the Starcraft remaster will have, so the same treatment would most likely happen with a remaster of D2.
When it comes to the combat in the game, more than likely any major changes would happen in a remake as opposed to a remaster. This is simply because I’m not sure if Blizzard could justify the expense of revamping a combat system in a remaster (although I could be wrong). The original combat felt very stiff, so updating the combat to something more fluid could give the gameplay a new lease of life.
And I’m not saying they should change how the skill and talent system was implemented because it would change the game way too much -- I’m simply focusing more on how the attacks are executed.
Wait...Did You Hear That!?
Audio can make or break a game, as it sets the mood and gives an area ambiance. Diablo II has some really good audio. The music is especially creepy and fits the dark Gothic feel of the game. However, the sound effects are a bit hit-and-miss for me; I was watching some gameplay of the Barbarian and all I could think was “He’s very stompy.”
The voice-overs were fairly good for a game that released when it did. I think they could use an update, but at the very least all the audio should definitely be remastered to HD with the rest of the game, including with the voice dialog.
In the End...It’s Really Up to Blizzard
Diablo II is that game that many loved and fondly remember, but say that Diablo III failed to recapture it. But, should it be remastered or remade? Personally, I’d like to see either happen, but from a business standpoint, it’ll be up to Blizzard in the end. If they do, they’ll have a bit of work ahead of them to remaster or recapture the glory that is D2 to the point that both old fans and new players of the game would happy with the result.