David Brevik reiterates how hard it would be to remaster Diablo 2

A while ago David Brevik talked to us about the challenges of remastering Diablo 2 and how it would be incredibly hard to do. In another part of the IGN interview, he talks more about the problems of bringing it back as a remaster.

He does state it would not be impossible but it would be a huge challenge. He says it would never be Diablo 2 “exactly with better graphics”.

That said, Blizzard knows you guys want to see it if our last poll is anything to go by . 89% of you would likely buy it. Below this top video, you can watch the full interview.


Tagged As: | Categories: Ex-Blizzard


You're not logged in. Register or login to post a comment.
  1. I’m willing to shell out $ for a D2X (Diablo 2 Expansion) Remaster.

    But I have never bought the Diablo3; Blizzard forced me to vote with my wallet unfortunately.

    I am still playing Diablo 2 Expansion on our home network with family.
    Multiple licences of Diablo 2 and Diablo 1.

    Need we say more about Diablo 3 ?

    • Kudos to you for not getting swindled into buying the WoW wannabe online only PoS that is D3. It’s actually an OK game, but since when have any of the Diablo games been just “OK?” And it’s infuriating because all the assets are already in game for it to be a great game, but Blizzard insists on it being mediocre. They want to game master everyone’s play time and it just kills the user experience 100%. And at this point all their game mastering is a bunch of bots.

    • They want to game master everyone’s play time and it just kills the user experience 100%.

  2. I get what’s he’s saying, but why couldn’t we just play it at 800X600 with all the other aspects being remastered? I don’t think black bars at the edges of the screen would keep me from buying it.

    • Ok, D2 has “prerendered backgrounds”. With that in mind, every increase in “resolution” does zoom out the “camera”. Next up is the fact that Diablo 2 is “tile based”, and as such, every player model and monster is displayed on a specific “tile”. The position of player and monster is never 100% accurate visually, but it is accurate on the “Tile-Grid”. What David means is that using a different graphics and game engine would totally change Diablo 2 and would virtually mean a full remaking of the whole game in technical terms. This is most likely not going to happen because its just not feasible.

      I suspect they will increase the resolution to 1280×720 which has two benefits.

      1. It is a 16:9 aspect ratio, and that is the default ratio on 99.9% of monitors these days. 2. It will zoom the camera out quite a bit, while giving the impression of “better graphics” simply because more world will be displayed on the screen. Due to how the engine works in D2, zooming out means “more detail” on the overall perceived “scene”.
      3. 1280×720 is considered “HD” (which is only a fancy industry term). That HD resolution is also most likely not going to harm gameplay too much. Monsters “agro” based on the number of tiles they are away from the player, which also occupies a tile. When they increase the resolution, more “tiles” are displayed on the screen, but the game is still programmed to make monsters “agro” from the same distance than before the HD upgrade. This could result in monsters being visible on the new HD resolution, but they would just stand around, because the number of “Tiles” is too high to allow the monster to “agro”. Blizzard would have to change that parameter for every monster type so monsters at the edge of a screen also “agro” players that come close enough. Now, a 16:9 aspect ratio would mean that with an adjustment of this “Proximity Agro” variable, monsters at the top and especially bottom of the screen would “agro” from outside of the player visible “view”. It also means that with the change of this “agro” distance, more monsters would become “active” once the player approaches that they did until now. This means the game dynamic and difficulty changes as a side effect.

      D2 is a very “complex” beast, and changing stuff has potentially significant ramifications. This is why David states “Remastering D2 is not easy”, because it simply isn’t easy.

      On the plus side, Starcraft is also “Tile-Based” or “Grid-Based” and that worked there, but D2 has more factors than just “agroing” monsters. Light-Radius comes into play, and things like how the “scenery” looks. The further you zoom out in D2 with mods, the more things you see that were not meant to be seen. Also boarders of maps are textured far enough to ensure 800×600 resolutions do not display “empty space”, but rather landscapes etc. Zooming out means they would also have to add further textures to map-borders to compensate for the zoomed out “camera”.

      Its not impossible, but it is A LOT more work than Starcraft Remastered was.

      If Blizzard wants to preserve how D2 plays and “feels” and responds to player interactions, then it must work with the engine that is in use in D2 today. Changing this engine, or writing a new one is possible, but you need to re-create an engine to allow new stuff, while also operate mechanically like the current one. Again, it can be done, but it means re-coding a whole engine from the ground up with the same fundamental “mechanics” like the current D2 engine.

      There are two possibilities IMO. One way to go about it would be to keep the current engine, make the coding more efficient (optional) while preserving ALL mechanics of it, and then “simply” up the resolution to 1280×720 (which is “HD” and 16:9 aspect ratio). Next they would have to adjust “agro” parameters for monsters, and modify Map-Borders to display more graphics on map-borders to compensate for the zoomed-out camera view. Then, they need to test and evaluate the consequences of all of this on game-play. It’s a messy thing but can be done.

      The other way they could go is to Re-Create the engine from the ground up with the same mechanics of the current original D2 engine, but use up-to-date coding methods with much better code-efficiency etc. Then virtually re-create the game from the ground up in terms of “Remastered-Textures” for backgrounds, monsters, players etc. Keep in mind, Every Player-Model or Monster-Model, is literally “drawn” multiple times from each “angle” in D2. D2’s player models and monsters consist of “2D drawings” that change from one drawing to another based on how the game “thinks” your character or monster is facing. D2 is 2-D that gives the illusion of “3D” through clever Texture-placement, and the aforementioned “Tile-Grid”, coupled with an “isometric perspective”. D2 has no “3-D objects” at all. It’s all just 2D textures and graphics displayed in a isometric view, to emulate 3-Dimensional perception of “depth” by allowing textures to “hide” behind other textures that would be in the “forefront” in a real world.


      Here is an excellent article that does a much better job explaining isometric games like D2:


      • Okay, so I didn’t get what Brevik was saying at all, pretty much. LOL I am willing to bet that Blizzard’s ROI from a decent remake, however they do it, would still be substantial.

        Thanks for the info and link. 🙂

  3. David the only thing ‘hard’ for you to do is make a decent ARPG these days without in-game purchasing BS.

  4. Choices were made based on a number of different criteria, including writing quality, storytelling, player choices, and game mechanics. Every action RPG fan should play these games.

  5. They could keep the same aspect ratio and just put some sort of graphics on the sides. Or blank, whatever. I think most people would understand. I don’t even grasp his other complaints “the stamina bar is useless do you remove it and then what else goes OH NO ITS COLLAPSING” NO, you wouldn’t remove that or anything else because they’re important for multiple effects in the game. What I’m hearing is someone who doesn’t have much love or interest for D2 anymore. If D2 is ever remastered, hopefully the team would actually understand what to improve and what not to change.

Leave a comment