Blizzard doesn’t want to do the same mistake they did with Warcraft III.
Eurogamer created an interview with the team behind Diablo II: Resurrected, helmed by the formerly Activision team Vicarious Visions, which is now a Blizzard support studio. „Right now you can play against people, because there will be global leaderboards, but you can’t play immediately with them. So there won’t be cross-play,” Rob Gallerani, the game’s principal designer said.
„It’s something we looked at, for sure, as part of looking at cross-progression, but the cross-progression was the clearest indication of what we should be doing. And so cross-play is something we continue to look at. But it’s not something that’s going to be in there at launch,” Rod Fergusson, the executive producer and the head of the Diablo IP, added. (He was formerly in a similar role at Microsoft and Gears of War.) So no cross-play, and they might only do it if the game sells well.
Fergusson explained why there won’t be a local (couch) co-op either: „We looked at it. I’m a big co-op player. I play Diablo 3 with my two sons all the time in couch co-op – it’s our Christmas tradition. And so that was something we looked at wanting to do with Diablo 2 Resurrected. But as we started to get into it, the amount of code and UI we would have to touch to make that work felt like it was going to change a lot. And we were a little bit worried about the kinds of changes we would have to make to make that work seamlessly.
We’re excited though to be able to bring an eight-player co-op into the present. As we went through this gen-eight world where everybody was taking co-op out again, we lost that feeling of co-op games because people didn’t want to have multiple perspectives in the same world. A lot of times when you talk about bringing a 20-year-old game forward, you’re talking about adding modern things to it. I love the idea that we’re taking this thing that existed 20 years ago and bringing it to modern times and saying wow, I can play this game in an eight-player co-op in 2021. That’s going to be exciting,” Fergusson claims.
When Warcraft III: Reforged launched, Blizzard has entirely removed the original version of the game. Those who logged in via Battle.net were forced to update to the Reforged version. The removal of the past won’t happen with Diablo II: „No, absolutely not. Everything you have about [Diablo II] currently will stay D2. This is a separate product, a separate game. You can play ’em both at the same time if you want,” Gallerani added.
Diablo II: Resurrected will launch this year on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, PC (as a Battle.net-exclusive), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.