Max Schaefer, Erich Schaefer, and David Brevik discussed at ExileCon 2019 a range of different topics. The panel moderator asked if they recall a scary moment during the development of Diablo II. The response was quite revealing.
The Diablo II source code, a lot of the assets, and art assets were lost when the master copy became corrupted, and there was no full backup. Later, they could rebuild some portions from work on computers at home, but the history, source code, assets, and art assets are lost. He said Blizzard Entertainment will have a hard time recreating everything from scratch, as all that is gone.
“Not just our code, but all of our assets. Irrevocably, fatally corrupted,” Max Schaefer said.
Oddly enough, what the Classic Games Team career postings have said for the past 2-3 years is:
We’re restoring them to glory, and we need your engineering talents, your passion, and your ability to get tough jobs done.
I copied one of those career postings on October 18, 2018.
Sadly, we didn’t hear a Diablo II: Remastered announcement in 2018 nor at BlizzCon 2019. On the bright side, Warcraft III: Reforged is still in beta, and has not shipped. So the Classic Team still have some ways ahead before going full development on Diablo II: Remastered.
Definitely, if they are going to work on it at some point, they might have to recreate a lot of the lost data from scratch without the full assets; but that is not impossible task. It will just take time and hard work. The only difference is that in 2003, Blizzard North was a small team of developers. Now Blizzard has many developers, and some times they can pull developers from different teams to lend a hand for some time, as well. So it shouldn’t take extremely long to rebuild Diablo II from scratch.
Have you seen what the Classic Team has done with Warcraft III: Reforged? It is Gorgeous.
What we can possibly agree on is that if StarCraft: Remastered took a year to develop, Diablo II: Remastered might be out before Diablo IV — which the developers dubbed to be not even Blizzard Soon™.