Speculation: Diablo II: Remastered at BlizzCon 2018

Blizzard has teased a couple of times so far that they have teams working on multiple Diablo projects. The first time was in The Future of Diablo and the latest was posted on Oct 17 titled: Diablo at BlizzCon 2018.

I can’t say with certainty that the Diablo II: Remastered will be announced at BlizzCon, but sometimes you can determine when something is in the works, by looking at some detective-minded clues.


For instance, during our StarCraft: Remastered interview with Brian Sousa… Danny asked

DANNY: So, obviously, there is a new announcement: Battle for Azeroth. Obviously, you are not going to announce anything but how is the team thinking about Warcraft II, and bringing that to modern systems, because that is a game that I think that a lot of people still likes to play?

BRIAN: Of course, we have talked about what is next for the Classic Games team. Those kind of things like bring back Warcraft I, Warcraft II, Warcraft III, Diablo I, Diablo II… everything that we have is technically open to doing so.

What we are focusing on now is actually the games that we know that are still being played and loved by a lot of people… Warcraft III, and Diablo II getting those up onto the modern Battle.net platform. Making sure that their experience with those games that are still being played, work well with all of our other titles, and still have the same amount of love that we get to all of our new titles.

 

I have posted a few Diablo II: Remastered articles in the past:

1. Job Opening Hints Warcraft III and Diablo II Remastered (June 15, 2017)

2. Speculation: Diablo II: Remastered & Diablo III Expansion? (January 10, 2018)

3. BlizzCon 2018 Speculation: Unannounced Diablo Game

Taking some of these clues into account, it is evident that Diablo II: Remastered has been in development for some time. For example:

1. During one of our interviews, a developer said the StarCraft: Remastered took 1 year to make.
2. StarCraft: Remastered was announced on March 25, 2017. It was available for sale on August 14, 2017.
3. Launched 5 months after official announcement.

From the initial two facts, we can extrapolate that if the Classic Team started to work right away on Diablo II: Remastered, a full year went by between August 2017 and August 2018. Up till now, it has been 14 months since StarCraft: Remastered shipped.

It only took 1 year to develop. By that standard, whatever the Classic Games Team has been working on is either finished or very close to fine tune. I wouldn’t be surprised if whatever it is, it is ready to ship shortly after or during BlizzCon.

Exhibit 4: From the wayback machine, the only screenshot avaialble of when this job opening has been around indicates September 18th. Blizzard is looking for a Senior Software Engineer, Gameplay. What’s relevant in this job opening?

Let me highlight it for you:

”We are seeking an enthusiastic senior gameplay engineer to be a key contributor for the Warcraft III team and other classics.”

“Experience playing and developing RTS/MOBA games.”

 

Alright, it is about Warcraft III: Remastered. We are not looking for Diablo II: Remastered evidence that doesn’t exist. We are looking for clues about what’s happening around the edges that reveal what is hidden.

For instance, if you check the Classic Games Job openings, there are only two openings. Everything else was filled. The job opening above is one of those two job openings. But just look at them: Senior Software Engineer, Gameplay; and Tools Engineer.

 

One could argue these two are like the basics of starting a Warcraft III: Remastered. Blizzard has already hired a lot of developers over the past year since StarCraft II: Remastered started, right? But now Blizzard needs a developer with experience in RTS/MOBAs after 14 months since StarCraft: Remastered shipped. Does that make sense?

What is hidden: Something was developed within those 14 months. An RTS/MOBA-savvy developer is needed now. Possibly to start the Warcraft III: Remastered development… because Diablo II: Remastered is for all intents and purposes… nearly ready to ship.

Another clue: This was posted in the Classic Games Jobs page. The cache version was captured on July 25, 2018; but it is been around likely longer than that. I am very intrigued by some terms or wordings used in it.

For example, opportunities for the future of the Diablo franchise. Or, experience developing in multiple platforms. I don’t know about you, but there are only two possible scenarios: (1) Diablo II: Remastered for Nintendo Switch, and/or consoles; or (2) Diablo III has been moved to the Classic Games team.

Again, it is not direct clues to the Diablo II: Remastered development that we are looking for. We are looking at the edges to pinpoint what is hidden.

If Diablo III is now under the Classic Games team, what is the Diablo III team working on? Or… if this job posting was for the Diablo II: Remastered, will it be coming for the PC and other platforms?

Senior Software Engineer (CLASSIC GAMES)

Blizzard Entertainment is seeking an enthusiastic senior software engineer to be a key contributor and leader for the Diablo franchise. The ideal candidate finds simple solutions for complex problems, loves being part of small but agile teams, and wants to push games to new heights.

We’re an intensely collaborative group, passionate about our projects, and looking to create compelling features to keep players engaged for years to come.

Responsibilities

  • Work closely with external teams to maintain Blizzard quality on current platforms
  • Collaborate with designers, artists, and fellow programmers to develop and refine key systems
  • Tackle a wide variety of unique challenges that come along with a live product
  • Identify and resolve pipeline issues
  • Investigate opportunities for the future of the Diablo franchise

Requirements

  • Passion for the Diablo franchise
  • A minimum of 5 years game development experience
  • Fluent in C++
  • Able to work in a collaborative team environment
  • Self-motivation and willingness to participate in many areas of game development

Pluses

  • Knowledge of rendering architecture and associated APIs (shaders, animation, skinning, lighting, and special effects)
  • Strong math skills (linear algebra, trigonometry, etc.)
  • Experience developing on multiple platforms
  • Computer science, EE, mathematics, physics, or related degree
  • Familiarity with other Blizzard products

 

What if I told you that the job posting below was originally posted on June 2017? Two months before StarCraft: Remastered shipped. Evidence that Diablo II: Remastered development possibly began somewhere in that timeframe.

Senior Software Engineer, Server (CLASSIC GAMES)

Diablo II RemasteredCompelling stories. Intense multiplayer. Endless replayability. Qualities that made StarCraft, Warcraft III, and Diablo II the titans of their day. Evolving operating systems, hardware, and online services have made them more difficult to be experienced by their loyal followers or reaching a new generation.

We’re restoring them to glory, and we need your engineering talents, your passion, and your ability to get tough jobs done.

If you like wearing many hats, know small teams are the most effective, and look forward to challenges that will create millions of new adventures for our players, we would love to hear from you.

Responsibilities

  • Implement server infrastructure changes to support new gameplay features.
  • Improve architecture design to reduce operation cost
  • Create conditions for experiences that look as good as they play.
  • Own implementation and curation of features new and old.
  • Diagnose and fix all the things: crashes, deadlocks, overflows, heap corruptions, etc.
  • Implement, maintain, and own infrastructure for the Diablo franchise

Requirements

  • Strong knowledge of C / C++
  • A minimum of 5 years’ experience in development
  • Experience with client / server architecture
  • Experience debugging unfamiliar code
  • A mind towards scalability and performance
  • Passion for games
  • Excite us

Pluses

  • Linux development experience
  • Database experience (e.g., MySQL, Oracle)
  • Distributed systems experience
  • Cloud technologies (AWS, VM’s, Openstack)
  • Low level network knowledge and diagnosis including packet capture (e.g., tcpdump, wireshark), routing, firewalls, DHCP, DNS, and NAT busting

 

So… it is June 2017, two months before StarCraft: Remastered launched, and Blizzard was looking for a Senior Software Engineer to work on the Classics Games team… responsibilities: Implement, maintain, and own infrastructure for the Diablo franchise. Hmm. June 2017 to June 2018… that’s a year. That job opening was posted 16 months ago. Sounds to me we might be hearing about Diablo II: Remastered very soon. Maybe November 2?

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Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.

Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers.

I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for Diablofans.com (formerly Diablo3.com)

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