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The Diablo 2 20-year anniversary is here! Blizzard have a whole lot of special treats for us on this monumental day, with some Baal-themed wings in Diablo 3, a new bust of big red himself, a great D2 retrospective with comments from the devs, as well as a lot of content from prominent community members, including this awesome Carbot animation.
(Update) Here's a better look at the Baal wings:
It may not be the Diablo 2 remaster announcement everyone was hoping for (and that Blizzard officially said wasn't coming on the anniversary), but it's a whole lot of great stuff! Check out the full details:
Diablo 2 Anniversary (source)
Multiple Great Evils (not just one). Hardcore mode. Gem socketing. Fighting demons outside for the first time. Diablo II has a legacy, and it’s in the bloodstream of every game we’ve worked on at Blizzard since the year 2000. It taught our artists, engineers and designers about mood and atmosphere, about randomness, and about what makes plate mail dress-up so persistently delightful. For DII’s 20th anniversary, we’re stoking the campfire and reflecting on a game that shaped how we make games. In the process, we’ve dreamed up some cool stuff, and we hope you’ll check it out and celebrate with us. To start, watch Baal Runz 101, a video developed by animation sorcerer Carbot Studios that we think is among his funniest work yet—and maybe the truest depiction of battling the Lord of Destruction. Read our Diablo II retrospective, with comments from Blizzard employees who’ve grown up developing, playing, and hanging out in the world of Sanctuary. Follow speedrun record-setter MrLlamaSC on a day-long live speedrun through Diablo II beginning at 9 am PT today. He’ll be playing through the entire game up to and including the Pandemonium event and conquering the “Uber” bosses. Bear witness to the unspeakable evil that is this limited-edition Lord of Terror bust. It looms 9” wide by 7-1/8” deep by 10-1/2” tall–the perfect size to desecrate your computer desk. Diablo’s never looked more terrifying (or more enthusiastic). Log in to Diablo III any time after June 29 to unlock your own tendinous Prime Evil Wings and represent the legacy you forged on Arreat Summit. Baal—as we saw in him in Diablo II—did not have wings, but try to imagine what they would’ve looked like if he did, and if you could’ve fastened them to your hero’s shoulders.
We’re honored that you’re still enjoying one of our favorite games of all time this long after its release, and we’re grateful to spend a little time reminiscing with you. Thank you, The Diablo Team
After a new rumor that came out a while ago, based on nothing but the 20 year anniversary of Diablo 2's release and the fact that the IGN Summer Game Fest is going on, we actually got an official blue response to that claim stating that there will be no more Diablo-related announcements coming this month! But we did find out there will be some "fun activities" around the anniversary, whatever that means. Some remain convinced that we'll see a D2 remaster announced during the IGN event, again only based on the fact that Blizzard are participating (but they've already announced Mei at the event, so that might have been it.
Regardless of the actual announcement date, we still don't even know if a remaster is even happening. The most recent (solid) news on the matter was the Vicarious Visions job posting, but that one isn't anything close to definitive either. The best argument for it actually happening is simply the fact that Blizzard have been remastering most of their Classic lineup of games, and D2 is certainly a crowd favorite, so it just makes a lot of sense in general.
D2 Remaster Announce (source)
Hey all -
We don't usually comment on rumors, but before this hype train goes off the rails we wanted to clarify that there are no upcoming Diablo announcements in June. The minions of hell are hard at work getting ready for the start of the next Diablo III Season, bringing you the next Diablo IV quarterly update (very) soon™, and we have some fun activities planned around the upcoming 20th anniversary of Diablo II.
IGN had a chat with original Diablo 2 developers Max Schaefer (Executive Producer, co-founder of Blizzard North) and Matt Uelmen (Composer), and while talking about their latest project, Torchlight 3, they were asked about the rumored Diablo 2: Resurrected remaster. First, Schaefer talked about the actual remastering itself, and the technical hurdles it might involve:
Then the two talked about the mature side of the game, and what they were able to show off since it was pixels (and a more lax era for things like that, with Blizzard being a smaller company), with a concern there would be some pretty hard decisions on how to recreate some of the more mature scenes in current engines. Uelemen also said that as long as it has more violence, gore and nakedness, it would stay true to the spirit of the original.
Check out the full IGN article, including the full video here!
There have been plenty of rumors about a supposed Diablo 2 remaster, Diablo 2: Resurrected being the most recent and most prominent, but we didn't really have any real indications for it other than rumors and supposed anonymous sources. That has changed a little today as two job postings indicate the possibility of a release and seemingly support the original rumor/leak.
First off there's the original leak which stated that Activision studio Vicarious Visions was making Diablo 2: Resurrected, which would be coming out around the end of the year (modified by the Corona epidemic) and it was based on a leak from an anonymous source. Then we had the weaker of the two indications that it's true recently, as a Blizzard job listing for a "Senior Producer, Live Ops - Classic Games" popped up. It didn't mention anything specific related to Diablo, so it could be any of the Classic games.
But today we have the bigger indication through another job posting, this time at Vicarious Visions themselves. VV are known for remastering older games, from the Crash Bandicoot series, to one of their current projects, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2. The latter was cited as the reason that the rumor was false, as that was the remaster project VV was working on. The job posting from today, however, is for a QA position which "Must be comfortable with work involving mature themes, including but not limited to content with an M rating.", and the Tony Hawk series definitely isn't M (it's actually T for Teen).
Obviously this doesn't specifically indicate that the QA tester would be working on Diablo 2, or even a remaster for that matter, but it's now the third major indication that it might be happening, so it's certainly increased our excitement for it.
So what would you want a Diablo 2 remaster to be? Untouched and as is, just with visual upgrades or can we actually get a functional stash that holds more than 7 items?
Another weird one today, as we have the entirety of Diablo 2 and the Lord of Destruction expansion getting speed run (without any glitches/hacks etc.) solo in under an hour! It took Slimo 59 minutes and 29 seconds to get to Baal and down him, with a lot of time spent on leveling to 18 for Teleport, followed by a looot of blinking around the various maps and spamming Nova and Static Field all over the place. The probably biggest moment (aside from Diablo and Baal dying) comes at the 27 minute mark, when a massive amount of farming the first pack in the Jail level 1 results in the big Teleport breakthrough, at which point the speed takes off and acts melt away, with the entirety of act 5 actually taking less than 6 minutes!
It's only recently that players have come close to breaking the 1 hour mark, with previous records hovering around the 1h 10min range for a year (according to Speedrun.com, at least). The previous record, which also came in this month from Indrek, didn't quite make the sub-1hour mark, and Silmo only took 1 minute and 10 seconds off that, but broke that big symbolic barrier. Congrats!