After more than two decades, the Dark Wanderer’s legacy and the demonic charge it carries is resurfacing in the realms of humanity. Blizzard Entertainment’s resurrection of the acclaimed genre-defining action RPG is almost here! For the first time ever, console gamers who make an order Diablo II: Resurrected will get to experience the remastered epic of Diablo II firsthand with Early Access to Open Beta, now available on PS5 and PS4.
The Diablo II legacy will continue on new platforms for 20 years after its original PC release in 2000. New players and veterans will be able to experience this iconic chapter of the Eternal Conflict through the extraordinary capabilities of the PlayStation consoles and the DualShock controller. 4 on PS4. and DualSense wireless controller on PS5.
Bringing the classic keyboard and mouse game to a controller was a unique challenge. To illustrate the Diablo II: Resurrected team’s approach to tailoring the feel and controls to PlayStation controls, we invited Design Director Robert Gallerani to share his thoughts.
When we set out to design the controller’s control scheme, we divided the work into a handful of categories. Each of these were fundamental considerations we wanted to keep in mind when bringing Diablo II: Resurrected to console gamers.
With a keyboard and mouse, the player acts as an “eye in the sky” that tells their character what to do and where to go by clicking somewhere. Do you perform a ranged ability on a monster? Do you go up to a chest and open it? Maybe you open a door? With the mouse, the main input for players is a click that conveys aim or a specific skill or action. Then the game guides the character to the place where he can perform the action, finding a way for you.
In a controller, however, the player acts more directly as his avatar. This is starting to have serious ramifications on many levels, but for our players, everything must “work”.
Watch the iconic cinematic intro, remastered in Diablo II: Resurrected
In a controller, movement is tied to the analog joystick. This means that the player, and not the game, is directing the character where to go. To achieve this, we disable the game’s path search. However, players can now travel to places where the game would never have guided them before. For example, a player can try to hit a wall or move against collision objects. This also makes it easier to evade the coming attacks of the adversaries.
In addition to considering where you are going, you must also determine how fast you are going. Diablo II has a resistance system. This means that there are two modes of travel: walking and running. When your stamina runs out, you can no longer run. We needed this system to work in parallel with the expectations of gamers that when you push the analog stick a little bit, you move a little bit, and when you push it all the way, you move at maximum speed. We tried stick deflection to only boost the player’s speed, but this made it too difficult to “just walk”. Walking gives your character better stats in the game, so it was important that we made it easier for players to control this. In the end we settled on a lever, because it retained the conscious decision to choose to walk rather than run. This was vital when it comes to collecting items, but we’ll get to that later.
Finding the targets
The next big difference when you don’t have a mouse is probably the most obvious. You have no cursor, your means of telling the game what to attack. However, with a joystick on the controller, we are always scanning the playing field with a large cone and prioritizing targets on many levels: monsters, items, objects you can interact with, other players, your corpse, etc. priorities are adjusted by class. So, for example, a Necromancer will tend to prioritize corpses more than other classes. We experimented by showing a player all the different targeting options, but it became information overload. We decided to show the player his main objective. So while we are not showing a highlighted corpse, we are selecting the closest one in case the player activates an ability that requires a corpse.
Loot with ease
The only thing as important as killing monsters in Diablo II is looting them once they are dead. The way players loot with the keyboard and mouse is generally by pressing a key to see the item’s label, and then clicking on the name. For some players, holding down a button on a controller can be awkward, so we eliminated the need to hold the button on the item’s label (although it’s still present). When using the controller, the item names are displayed based on time and distance to the player. This means that if an item is close to a player, it will always be displayed. And when an item drops, its name will stay on the screen for a short period of time.
The next challenge was determining how a player collects the item. With a controller, it made sense for the player to zoom in on the item. This proved quite tricky when a monster exploded into a loot piñata, but the player only wanted that specific item. So at the end, we added the ability for players to walk very slowly and stop between different items on the ground in order to loot the specific item they wanted, making the looting experience on console that much more accessible.
Here we knew we had to live up to the expectations of Diablo III players. In the original Diablo II, a player has two buttons: left and right mouse click. To gain access to any number of other abilities, players use hotkeys to quickly remap these two buttons. This is a very roundabout way of using skills. With a controller, we changed this so that it is not remapped, but so that the buttons directly trigger abilities. We then display these abilities much like Diablo III, in a “tray” at the bottom of the screen. However, since players can have a significant amount of skills at any given time, we allow players to hold the left trigger to provide the player with access to six other slots, effectively giving players 12 slots to quickly cast any skill. .
Balance of the classic
A frequent challenge with the controller is that we have far fewer buttons on a controller than we do on a keyboard, so we spend a lot of time weighing the trade-offs for button assignments and ensuring that the most essential skills are on the buttons that are easier to reach. . Based on feedback from Technical Alpha (from PC controller gamers), we think we’ve taken controller support in a solid direction that we hope will meet the expectations of gamers. We’re still polishing the edge cases, but we think we’ve struck the right balance between a modern feel and preserving classic mechanics.
–Robert Gallerani, Design Director
As Robert pointed out, we got a lot of great feedback from PC gamers using controllers throughout Technical Alpha. That information helped us shape, iterate, and tweak the controller controls in a way that feels comfortable to the gamer and emulates the authentic journey of playing Diablo II. We look forward to presenting opportunities for PlayStation gamers to immerse themselves in Diablo II: Resurrected.
In addition to getting early access to the Open Beta, which begins August 13 at 10 am PT, players who pre-order Diablo II: Resurrected will get the Heritage of Arreat transmog set for Diablo III (shown above), while Those who pre-order the Diablo Prime Evil Collection will get some additional in-game goodies, including Hatred’s Grasp Wings cosmetic, Mephisto Pet.
Gather your friends. The upcoming Early Access Trial * will have multiplayer enabled, allowing up to eight players to play cooperatively in Act I: The Blind Eye and Act II: The Secret of the Vizjerei. Players will be able to choose from five of Diablo II’s seven unique classes to experience: the Amazon, Barbarian, Druid, Paladin, Y Sorceress; each with highly customizable equipment options and settings for players to explore during testing.
Can’t participate in Early Access? Do not worry. In August 20 at 10:00 am PDT, will begin the weekend of the Open Beta *. All players in the PlayStation community will be able to freely download Diablo II: Resurrected Open Beta and take on the minions from Burning Hells (playable content is the same as Early Access).
Check out the remastered movie from Act 2 above.
In truth, there is no better time to be a Diablo fan. Whether you’re new to the game or a lifelong fan wanting to relive this timeless classic, the gates of hell are open to you. We are thrilled to share Diablo II: Resurrected with you and look forward to your joining us for Early Access and Open Beta ahead of launch on September 23. We would love to see your comments and impressions of this gaming experience. before our launch.
*PlayStation Plus is not required during Early Access or Open Beta, but will be required to access multiplayer features at launch on PlayStation systems.