Blizzard provides updates on its Big Three franchises
Chris De Hoog |
Feb 19, 2021
Blizzard had a flurry of announcements at their virtual Blizzcon showcase this weekend, including the official announcement of Diablo II Resurrection, a 4K remaster of the classic PC game.
In time for its twenty-first anniversary, Blizzard has remastered the entire Diablo II experience, including its Lord of Destruction expansion pack—turning its 2D sprite-based models into fully rendered 3D models and updating animations, lighting, and textures for modern systems. All of the game’s cinematics have been rebuilt from the ground up, shot-for-shot, with Dolby Surround 7.1 Sound. Players will be able to revisit the all seven original classes as they journey through the gates of Hell to confront Diablo himself. If you’re feeling nostalgic, you’ll be able to toggle between remastered and original graphics with the press of a button.
Diablo II Remastered will arrive on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC later this year. Cross-progression support will be supported, with up to 8-player co-op without crossplay. PC players can sign up for the PC Technical Alpha, or prepurchase the remaster in the Diablo Prime Evil Collection, which also includes the complete Diablo III experience and exclusive cosmetic items.
A small update was offered on Diablo IV, highlighting the Rogue class, but Blizzard has already stated that the long-awaited sequel when not be out this year.
Blizzcon’s nostalgia well ran even deeper, as the Blizzard Arcade Collection was also announced. Available today, the collection includes enhanced releases of the company’s earliest hits, before they became Blizzard: The Vikings, Rock N Roll Racing, and Blackthorne. Each game includes an Original Edition and a Definitive Edition, with enhancements like custom key mapping, the ability to save anywhere or rewind up to 10 seconds. Players can spectate a playthrough of The Vikings and Blackthorne, and jump in at any time. There’s also a digital museum packed with bonus materials like concept art, unused content, interviews, and more. The Blizzard Arcade Collection is available now on PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One, and PC, or on next-gen consoles via backwards compatibility.
Blizzcon also had news on the first major content update for World of Warcraft‘s Shadowlands expansion pack, dubbed Chains of Domination. Horde and Alliance players will embark on a quest to unite the four covenants and take the fight for the Shadowlands to the Jailer’s domain. There they will face his terrible new champion, “a cruel instrument of despair conscripted by Sylvanas Windrunner.” There will be a new 10-boss raid, the Sanctum of Domination, and the Veiled Market Tazavesh, a new mega-dungeon, as well as a bounty of new smaller updates.
Meanwhile World of Warcraft Classic will incorporate its first expansion pack, Burning Crusade, later this year. Players will be able to choose their era prior to its release, either advancing to the Burning Crusade era with the rest of their realm, or staying in the classic base game on new Classic Era servers. Blizzard is incorporating the 2007 expansion into the World of Warcraft Classic experience at no additional cost for current subscribers.
After Blizzcon’s opening keynote, a behind the scenes vignette offered an update on Overwatch 2, which will also not see release in 2021. However Blizzard offered glimpses at Rome and New York City, two new locations; the evolved looks of McCree, Pharah, Reaper, and Widowmaker; and updates on new enemies, talents, and missions.
Blizzcon 2021 continues tomorrow with community showcases, game streams, and a special Critical Role Diablo Campaign