One of the biggest benefits of all that power in the hardware is giving developers the ability to make games that are Xbox Series X|S Optimized. This means that they’ve taken full advantage of the unique capabilities of Xbox Series X|S, both for new titles built natively using the Xbox Series X|S development environment as well as previously released titles that have been rebuilt specifically for the console. In our Inside Xbox Series X|S Optimized series, these creators will share the behind-the-scenes accounts of how they’re optimizing their titles for Xbox Series X|S and what that means for the future of gaming. Today, we’ll be chatting with Design Director at Vicarious Visions (a Blizzard Entertainment company) Rob Gallerani about optimizing Diablo II: Resurrected for Xbox Series X|S.
Q: “What excites you most about developing and bringing Diablo II: Resurrected to life on next-generation hardware?”
A: Creating games on the latest gaming hardware is exciting because you can push your vision to a new level of fidelity. In Diablo II: Resurrected, we’re modernizing one of the most beloved PC games of all time. That means faithfully recreating memories shared by millions of players over the last 20 years while also making the game more accessible as we introduce the game to a newer audience. That’s a huge responsibility and we’re determined to get it right.
Visually preserving the nostalgia of the classic experience was critical. We even give players the freedom to time travel between D2R and the original game at the push of a button. The greater the visual contrast between the two, the more impressive it feels. The capabilities of Xbox Series X|S enabled us to really push the boundaries as we took the original 2D sprite-based game to a fully 3D physically based game, rendered out with dynamic lighting and resolutions up to 4K. It’s surreal. Now playing Diablo II on a console in front of a big screen TV in 4K is one of my favorite ways to experience the game.
Q: In addition to benefiting from the power and performance of Xbox Series X|S for quicker load times etc., what Xbox Series X|S features were you most excited to explore leveraging in the development of Diablo II: Resurrected?
A: Xbox Series X|S gives us a lot of power, but it also puts us in front of new players who play games differently, especially when compared to how the 21-year-old classic was played. With the original Diablo II, online gaming as we know it today was just getting started. Remember dial-up modems? Or asking family to stay off the phone while you were trying to do Baal runs?
When we adapted the Diablo II experience for console players, we wanted to find a way to streamline or make it easier for players to party up with each other, rather than having to rely on individual lobbies. Now players can invite their friends into their game directly or utilize the Party Finder to join up alongside other players in Sanctuary. With that said, following our beta we’ve seen many console players requesting more options to better navigate activities in multiplayer. So, we’ve implemented additional options to the Party Finder feature. This will enable players to better coordinate and find others tackling the same quests as them.
Q: How will these enhancements impact a player’s experience with Diablo II: Resurrected?
A: The enhancements the Xbox Series X|S lend can’t be understated. Quality of life features like Quick Resume in offline play allow players to switch from one game back into our game seamlessly, saving the current game’s state at a time when the player needs it minimized. Additionally, players will be able to load into the game itself and zones quicker. Players on Xbox Series X|S may choose to play Diablo II: Resurrected in Quality mode or Performance mode, giving them the ultimate flexibility for a playstyle that suits them.
Q: How do you expect fans of Diablo II: Resurrected will respond to playing it on Xbox Series X|S with these enhancements?
A: What’s fantastic is Xbox Series X|S technology has empowered us to bring a top-caliber experience of this remaster to so many new players. An iconic title that defined the genre has now been crafted to be played in a contemporary way. At the same time, we hope veteran players with fond memories of the original game on PC will enjoy the game again, in all-new ways. For the first time, players will be able to play this 21-year-old game with the highest graphical and audio fidelity, mimicking the specs of the best experiences played on today’s high-end PCs. The excellent performance and enhancements this hardware provides will astonish players who jump into Diablo II: Resurrected.
Q: What is it like developing on Xbox Series X|S?
A: Powerful hardware that can handle the graphics we are putting into Diablo II: Resurrected helps us achieve our vision—bringing Diablo II into the modern era. The original game featured deep systems, iconic character classes, and timeless gameplay. Combine all that with modernized visuals and audio, and Diablo II: Resurrected pays homage to a legendary ARPG and makes it more contemporary for today’s audience.
Q: What does Smart Delivery mean for your game and how you’re bringing Diablo II: Resurrected to fans?
A: Smart Delivery makes it easier for us to get the best possible version of the game to Xbox players. If they upgrade their hardware, Diablo II: Resurrected will go right along with them. We also support cross-generation play on Xbox, so you never have to choose between upgrading and playing with your friends.
Q: What does Xbox Series X|S development enable in current or future projects that you could not have achieved with the previous generation of consoles?
A: Sanctuary has never been more immersive. Our players will play a classic game running as quickly as it did in 2D but in all-new amazing 3D high-definition visuals, amplified by the 4K resolutions emulated on PC. To complement the incredible graphics, Xbox Series X|S players will be able to experience their journey in epic 7.1 surround sound output.
Thank you, Rob, for taking the time to sit down with us today to talk through all of these exciting optimizations for Xbox Series X|S. Diablo II: Resurrected is available for pre-order today on the Xbox Store and will launch for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S on September 23.
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