Diablo II: Resurrected Rumor under the microscope

Investigating whether Diablo II: Resurrected is a truthful rumor or leak isn’t an easy task unless you had inside info from someone near the project.

However, there are breadcrumbs on the road (so to speak). The questions is if the breadcrumbs trace back at Diablo II: Resurrected, or just coincidence that you, or I, or we in our quest to make it true see it the way we want to.

Well, in order to find out — let’s look at the breadcrumbs and determine what is what on our own.


Diablo II: Resurrected

It all started with Actugaming (a french website). The author is known to have published articles about Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV long before those games were announced by Blizzard Entertainment. So there is a precedent that his leaks might be true.

That said, he said Diablo II: Resurrected is in development by Vicarious Visions — studios owned by Activision. Vicarious Visions developed the remaster of Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and they are currently working on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 (to be released on September 4, 2020).

I argue that even if Vicarious Visions has their hands full with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 — there is precedent that Vicarious Visions worked on the Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy (3 games) + Destiny 2 port simultaneously in 2017. So they could be working on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 + Diablo II: Resurrected simultaneously as well.

You can read more about this in my recent article.


FUNKO POP TYRAEL #600

I actually got reached out by a PR company associated with Blizzard Entertainment to alert me that the Funko POP Tyrael Vynil #600 is shipping on May 26, 2020 as a Gamestop Exclusive item.

What does that even have to do with the Diablo II: Resurrected rumor/leak? … Breadcrumbs.

A redditor made the case that its design is based on the Diablo II Tyrael. Not Diablo III’s. That’s eye-popping!


Diablo II no longer Mac Compatible

This might easily be missed by anyone who is a Windows OS-only user. But this is actually a big breadcrumb if you think about it after reading what you are going to read now.

Blizzard Entertainment still sells Diablo II as a digital download. You can check it out at the official Blizzard Store.

So what’s the deal? As of October 2019, Diablo II no longer works on Mac OS 10.15 Catalina.

Blizzard Entertainment didn’t know this until a Customer Support agent saw the forum thread in the Classic Games Tech Support.

Jon: Diablo 2 will no longer start after updating to mac OS 10.15, Catalina. I think this is because 32-bit apps are no longer supported. Will the game be updated so that it will work with the new OS?

Kaldraydis: Our dev team is investigating the compatibility issue with Diablo 2 and 10.15 Catalina. We hope to have more details on this soon.

Typical tech support issue, right?… wrong. Mac OS Catalina was deployed by Apple on October 7, 2019 (7 months ago).

What is wrong with Mac OS Catalina? Well… that marks the day that Apple no longer supports 32-bit apps. Whoa !!!!!!!

Blizzard was still selling 32-bit Diablo II to Mac users, so things got hot really quick, and Blizzard eventually had to offer a reimbursement option and a workaround while working on this issue.

Except the only stable way to solve this issue is… to release a Diablo II 64-bit version. Now, how do you build a 64-bit version of Diablo II when you and I know from ExileCon 2019 that the source code and most of the art assets got corrupted?

Let’s continue with the Tech Support thread for more insight into this Mac OS Catalina issue. A few days went by until another Customer Support agent updated the forum thread.

Caterpepi: Thanks for your continued reports, everyone! This is a frustrating issue to run into after the Catalina update, and our team is aware of the issue and working on a fix. There is no new updates or an ETA on when this may be fully resolved at the moment. We’ll continue to update as more information is available.

If rolling back to Mojave or a different version is an option or even bootcamp (while not supported), this may be a temporary workaround until a resolution is pushed out by our team.

Possibly weeks went by (now November 2019) before Customer Support provided an update… and I don’t think it was the one Mac users wanted to read.

Kaldraydis: As a 32-bit application, Diablo II 111 will not run on systems running MacOS 10.15 (Catalina) or later.

While we do not have a current ETA, we do have plans to address this incompatibility with a future patch. We appreciate your patience.

Weeks went by. Then months went by. Mac users continued to post every now and then hoping for a response. Four months later, finally, an update. On March 8, this was posted:

Caterpepi: Hey, folks! It’s been some time since we’ve provided an update here, but I wanted to assure you all that we hear you and we regularly check on this post. Even if we may not have much to say, we still read each one of your posts. We have not forgotten about this issue, and we appreciate your patience throughout this time.

Our team is working on this for Diablo II to be supported on Catalina, but there is no guarantee or timeline at this moment. We can’t guarantee anything for certain right now, but our team is working and doing their best to do what they can to bring Diablo II to you.

It can take quite some time since the issue itself isn’t an easy one to fix. There’s a lot of adjustments to do and quality checks that need to be done to make sure the game is fully stable and compatible with Catalina. Especially, since switching over from 32 to 64-bit is quite a process, its really hard to gauge when we’ll have something ready to push to you all.

We’ll do our best to update on this thread when we have more information to share with you all. Thank you for continuing to show us your voice on this matter!

There you have it. There is no other way to fix this issue unless Blizzard Entertainment creates a Diablo II 64-bit. We know this isn’t possible without the original Source Code and original art assets. Those were fatally corrupted.

The only way that Blizzard Entertainment can ship a Diablo II 64-bit is by:

  • Diablo II remake. Building the source code from scratch and building new assets from scratch.

That is a heck of a lot of work to do for a small Classic Games team, for just the Mac community, when they have a striving Diablo II Windows playerbase. But there is yet another powerful motive for Blizzard to work on a Diablo II 64-bit.

This is what Engadget reported on May 15, 2020:

in the system requirements for the upcoming Windows 10 May 2020 update, Microsoft states that, “Beginning with Windows 10, version 2004, all new Windows 10 systems will be required to use 64-bit builds and Microsoft will no longer release 32-bit builds for OEM distribution.” In other words, any computer you buy in the future that has Windows 10 preloaded will be running the 64-bit version.

WHOA… so basically 32-bit users might have a countdown. There is no official statement from Microsoft about stopping support for 32-bit, but that move right there is a sign that eventually they won’t offer Windows 10 32-bit security patches and such. Whether it is on 2021, 2022, or years from now — we don’t know. But that quote up there is the first sign that 32-bit support might be on its way to be discontinued in the future.

With this tidbit of news now shared with you, let’s get back to the Mac OS Catalina thread. A third customer support agent clocked in on the thread. This was posted 17 days ago (approximately May 7, 2020). Or in perspective: 7 months after the original thread was posted without a fix.

Drakuloth: Hey again all, this is still on our radar, but please be advised that due to the age of the client, any time a major OS overhaul happens like this, we have to make significant changes to the game coding to get it to work. We do not have an ETA on a resolution for this problem for this reason.

Again, we’ll let you know if we get more information, and appreciate your patience through this process. For the time being, we still recommend using an older build of Mac OS in a separate partition to play Diablo II.

Drakuloth posted a follow up 3 days later (approximately May 10-11, 2020).

Drakuloth: If you’d like to seek a refund over this, you can see if you qualify by submitting a ticket on it. I’d like to address an incorrect assumption however. We do have this publically posted on the system requirements and have for a while now. This page is linked directly below the shop’s buy now button. Look beneath the requirement box themselves. This has been there for at least 5 months, as that’s the last time this article was updated as of this posting.

We post system requirements for each of our games so that players can determine if their machine is correct for the game. Future coding changes (both by us and other companies) can cause the game to stop functioning on certain hardware, but that’s the risk of any game. We call that out in the system requirements as well.

Now, that doesn’t mean we won’t consider a refund if a purchase was recent and wasn’t used much, but you’ll need to explore that at this link and I can’t promise it for you. (I know this doesn’t apply directly to you, RefreshingLing, but for other players who may run into the same situation I wanted to proactively provide the link.)

In the mean time, the work still continues on this. Thanks for hanging tight so far.

So chronologically the first sign that Blizzard was possibly looking into the Diablo II Remaster was when Apple launched Mac OS Catalina and broke 32-bit support — affecting Blizzard’s Diablo II Mac sales in the process — just weeks before their Diablo 4 announcement at BlizzCon 2019.


OUTSOURCING PRECEDENT

For Diablo Immortal, Blizzard Entertainment partnered with NetEase — a company with experience working on mobile games.

Warcraft III: Reforged went on sale January 28, 2020. Therefore, the Classic Games Team focused on development should have had some time to work on Diablo II at least at a code/programming capacity bringing those to modern standards… cough 64-bit.

But in order to do that, the Classic Games Team has to remake Diablo II. Without a source code, all you have left is to reverse-engineer, guess, or code a new engine from scratch.

So what would make sense is if Blizzard Entertainment works in collaboration with a third-party studios with experience developing remasters.

Ohh right… Vicarious Visions sounds like an awesome candidate.

I don’t know how in specific that would work out. Who would focus on reverse-engineering from scratch the source code and who would focus on the art assets from scratch.

Will the new source code remake (not remaster) be developed by Blizzard? Or by Vicarious Visions?

Will the new art assets remake (not remaster) be developed by Blizzard? Or by Vicarious Visions?

Is there no Vicarious Visions at all because that rumor/leak was false? And it is all Blizzard’s Classic Games Team?

Lot of ways this can go and lots of compromise and coordination assigning tasks across internal and external teams, for sure.

What’s that you said? Blizzard Entertainment doesn’t need external teams to develop a remaster? Really? Did you just say that to my face?

My eyes deceive me then…

LEMON SKY STUDIOS: Almost two decades after it was first released in 2002, “Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos” remains one of Blizzard Entertainment’s best-known and well-loved titles, still played by millions of passionate fans around the world today.

Lemon Sky’s eventful journey together with Blizzard in ‘reforging’ “Warcraft III” was by no means a small feat: with Blizzard’s guidance, thousands of in-game assets were lovingly concepted, modelled and animated by Lemon Sky to breathe new life into the rich and sprawling world of Azeroth, keeping in mind that our efforts had to meet the high hopes and expectations of Warcraft’s loyal, dedicated fanbase. We are excited to return them to the familiar world they have come to know and love, confident that the effort we poured into our work matches the players’ own passion for the game.

Lemon Sky is proud to have worked hand-in-hand with Blizzard in recreating this timeless and beloved game, and hope players worldwide continue to enjoy “Warcraft III: Reforged” for many more years to come. Congratulations Blizzard on the successful release! #LemonSky #Warcraft3Reforged #MakeGoodArt


ANNOUNCEMENT?

At the moment my article was posted, we are on the verge of waiting for IGN Summer of Gaming — a livestream expected to replace the cancelled E3 Expo. Blizzard Entertainment is confirmed to make an appearance.

That could be anything from World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, Overwatch 2, Hearthstone, Diablo IV and Diablo Immortal… but I have to say that IGN Summer of Gaming is happening the very same month of Diablo II 20th Anniversary (June 29).

A date has not been announced yet at the moment my article was posted. I’ll update once IGN announces the date.

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BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts

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) ***Fans who would love to watch Blizzard-related panels and appreciate our efforts can support Blizzplanet’s patreon in a monthly-basis, or a one-time basis. Our staff are volunteer fans like you. Your donatives will help us travel to all the Blizzard events we attend year-round.

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