Diablo 2: Resurrected is in line to receive a series quality of life upgrades when it launches later this year alongside a much needed visual refresh that gives old characters, monsters, and locations a modern shine. The two-decade-old ARPG has managed to retain a healthy community and, as with all remasters, changes tend to make some fans worry that the new version will move too far away from the vision of the original.
With Diablo 2: Resurrected's technical alpha now beyond us, developer Vicarious Visions delved deeper into how it approaches the quality of life upgrades for the upcoming ARPG, reassuring fans that the remastered version won't stray far from the game with which they grew up.
"When we approached quality of life on this game, we definitely wanted to make the game more accessible, but not easier. So things like making the inventory huge, or making it so all of your items can stack, right? Picking which loot to take and discard is still an important decision, so we’re not going to make the game easier," Principal Designer Rob Gallerani told PCGamesN.
"Another thing is that looking at the mod community, it is a nice kind of litmus test to know, 'oh, this audience – the hardcore audience – they like these types of things.' We didn’t just say, 'oh, take everything this mod does or take everything that mod does,' it was more about whether the community would hate this quality of life change or not. So it was nice to look at the community and see, 'oh, well actually 90% of the mods out there do this one thing.'"
Diablo II: Resurrected will take note from the way in which the genre it helped popularized has evolved over the two decades since its launch, but will only borrow more modern features where they make sense.
"We want to bring some of those changes to Diablo 2 Resurrected, but we have to do it in a way that doesn’t make it not Diablo 2. We’re not trying to fix Diablo 2. We’re not trying to make Diablo 2 a different game. We have other games if you want that," Gallerani added.
Take auto-gold for example, auto-gold is something that many, many, many games just do now. But if you look at how we put auto-gold in Resurrected, you still have to run over to it. We don’t make it like a giant vacuum, there’s still the physical aspect of having to run around.
"When we added controller support, we initially thought to just make the inventory into a list, because moving items around Tetris-style is hard on a controller. But when we did that, it was totally usable, but it wasn’t Diablo 2 anymore. That’s really kind of the process we go through for what quality of life changes we want to make."
One feature that will make it into Diablo II: Resurrected is item compare, which lets you easily see the stat difference between an equipped piece of gear and one you just picked up. Gallerani noted that it has become "such a staple" over the years that " a lot of people didn’t even remember that item compare wasn’t in the original game."
Diablo 2: Resurrected is set to come out at some point this year, a multiplayer beta being scheduled to happen prior to launch. While we wait for the remaster's launch, Diablo 3's Season 23 and Path of Exile's Ultimatum League are here to keep us busy, both having started recently.
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