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Blizzard Classic Games Division Dismantled - Vicarious Visions Working on Diablo 2 Remake
22.01.2021 um 19:14
More news following today's report that Activision subsidiary studio
Vicarious Visions was being merged under Blizzard Entertainment
, as Jason Schreier released an exposé detailing the dismantling of Blizzard's Classic Games division. While there's still no official announcement, the
Diablo 2 remaster we reported on last year
is all but confirmed, and his article explains how the failures of Warcraft III: Reforged led to Vicarious Visions taking a role in Diablo 2: Resurrected.
Note: The Classic Games Division does not refer to WoW Classic, which is a part of the World of Warcraft team.
Read Schreier's full exposé on Bloomberg.
Until last year, the Diablo II remake was set to be developed by Blizzard’s Team 1, part of the company’s Irvine, California, campus that had become known for reworking classic games. Its most recent release, in January 2020, was a remake called Warcraft III: Reforged. The title was poorly received due to glitches and missing features, earning 59 out of 100 points on the review aggregator Metacritic — the lowest score a Blizzard game has ever gotten.
Previously responsible for updating and remastering older games, the Classic Games team created Starcraft: Remastered, Warcraft III: Reforged, and maintained legacy Warcraft and Diablo game servers. Following the scaling back of Heroes of the Storm and announcement that Blizzard would
cease major development on Starcraft 2
, their maintenance responsibilities appear to have been folded in as well - do note however that the Classic Games Division was not responsible for WoW Classic, which remains in the hands of the World of Warcraft team. Following the release of Warcraft III: Reforged, the team was initially given the task of remaking Diablo II, although Reforged's lukewarm reception led to the project being placed in the hands of the Diablo IV team instead, with Vicarious Visions assisting. In his article, Schreier describes the dismantling of the Classic Games team, although it's not made clear who will take on their remaining responsibilities - for example, we know that Heroes of the Storm is still regularly receiving
new heroes and events
Members of Team 1 met to discuss what had gone wrong. Internal Blizzard documents reviewed by Bloomberg pinpointed the game’s failures on poor planning, miscommunication and a rushed release due to financial pressure from management, among other factors. For example, Blizzard announced the game in November 2018 and began taking pre-orders for 2019 without informing most of the development team beforehand, according to several people who worked on Warcraft III: Reforged.
Team 1 wanted to avoid repeating the mistakes of Warcraft III: Reforged on its next project, the remake of Diablo II. Shortly after the postmortem, however, Blizzard pulled that project from the team and put the division behind Diablo IV in charge. A group at Vicarious Visions is also working on the remake, which was known as Diablo II: Resurrected. On Oct. 15, 2020, Blizzard informed members of Team 1 that it was reorganizing the entire division, according to the people who worked on Warcraft III: Reforged.
While Schreier attributes the merger as "
another example of Activision eroding Blizzard's autonomy
", it should be pointed out that Vicarious Visions has an
track record in porting and remastering other developer's games. In their near 30 year history as a developer, they have very few originally developed titles (most of which were for GBA and Nintendo DS), while their most notable works have all been in support of other studios (Bungie/Destiny 2) or remastering previous games (Crash Bandicoot, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater). So while it may seem alarming to some, it would appear that they've picked the very best to help ensure Diablo II: Resurrected does not repeat the same mistakes of Warcraft III: Reforged, and Vicarious Visions' inclusion is a very good sign for the future of Diablo and any other Blizzard franchises they work on.
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