After more than two decades, the legacy of the Dark Wanderer and the demonic burden he carries is making a resurgence in the realms of humanity. Blizzard Entertainment’s resurrection of the famous genre-defining action role-playing game is almost here! For the first time, console gamers who pre-order Diablo II: Resurrected will be able to experience the remastered Diablo II epic firsthand with early access to the Open Beta, now live on PS5 and PS4.
The legacy of Diablo II will continue on new platforms more than 20 years after its original PC release in 2000. New players and veterans alike will be able to experience this iconic chapter of the Eternal Conflict thanks to the extraordinary capabilities of the PlayStation consoles and the DualShock 4 controller on PS4. and DualSense wireless controller on PS5.
Bringing the classic keyboard and mouse gameplay to a controller was a unique challenge. To illustrate the Diablo II: Resurrected team’s approach to adapting feel and controls to PlayStation controllers, we invited Design Director Robert Gallerani to share his ideas.
When we started designing the controller control scheme, we divided the work into a handful of categories. Each of these were fundamental considerations we wanted to keep in mind as we brought Diablo II: Resurrected to console gamers.
With a keyboard and a mouse, the player acts like an “eye in the sky” telling their character what to do and where to go by clicking somewhere. Do you perform a ranged ability on a monster? Do you approach a chest and open it? Maybe you open a door? With the mouse, the main input for players is a click that transmits aim or a specific ability or action. The game then guides the character to where he can perform the action, finding a path for you.
On a controller, however, the player acts more directly like their avatar. This is starting to have serious ramifications on many levels, but for our players everything just needs to “work”.
Watch the iconic intro cutscene, remastered in Diablo II: Resurrected
On a controller, movement is linked to the analog stick. This means that the player, not the game, directs the character where to go. To achieve this, we’ve disabled in-game pathfinding. However, players can now travel to places where the game would never have guided you before. For example, a player might try to run into a wall or move against collision objects. It also makes it easier to avoid attacks from opponents.
In addition to considering where you are going, you also need to determine how fast you are going. Diablo II has an endurance system. This means that there are two modes of movement: walking and running. When your stamina is depleted, you can no longer run. We had to run this system in parallel with the expectations of gamers that when you push the analog stick a bit, you move slightly, and when you push it full, you move at maximum speed. We tried to make the stick deflection alone drive the player’s speed, but that made it too difficult to “just walk”. Walking gives your character better stats in the game, so it was important for players to be able to control him easily. We ended up going with a seesaw, because it preserved the conscious decision to choose to walk instead of running. This was vital when it came to picking up items, but we’ll talk about that later.
Find 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 still sweep the playing field with a large cone and prioritize targets on multiple levels: monsters, items, items you can interact with, other players, your corpse, etc. . the priorities are set by class. So, for example, a Necromancer will tend to prioritize corpses more than other classes. We tried to show a player all of the different targeting options, but it became information overload. We just showed the player their primary target. So even though we don’t show a highlighted corpse, we select the closest if the player triggers an ability that requires a corpse.
Loot with ease
The only thing as important as killing monsters in Diablo II is looting them after they’re dead. The way players loot with the keyboard and mouse is usually to hold down a key to see the item labels and then click on the name. For some players, holding a button on a controller can be uncomfortable, so we’ve removed the need to hold the item tag button (although it’s still there). When using the controller, item names are displayed based on time and distance to the player. This means that if an item is near a player, it will always be displayed. And when an item falls, its name stays on the screen for a short time.
The next challenge was to figure out how a player gets the item. With a controller, it made sense for the player to walk towards the element. It turned out to be quite tricky when a monster exploded into a loot pinata, 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 ground objects so that they could loot the specific item they wanted, making the looting experience overwhelming. much more accessible console.
Here we knew we had to meet the expectations of Diablo III players. In the original Diablo II, a player has two buttons: left click and right mouse click. To access a number of other abilities, players use keyboard shortcuts to quickly remap these two buttons. It’s a very roundabout way of using abilities. With a controller, we changed this not to remap, but to have buttons directly trigger abilities. We then display these abilities very similar to Diablo III, in a “tray” at the bottom of the screen. However, since players can have a significant number of abilities at any one time, we allow players to hold the left trigger to give them access to six other slots, effectively giving players 12 slots to quickly cast any capacity.
Balance the classic
A common challenge with the controller is that we have far fewer buttons on a controller than a keyboard, so we spend a lot of time weighing the tradeoffs of button mappings and making sure that the most essential capabilities are on the buttons. easiest buttons to reach. . Based on feedback from the Tech Alpha (from PC controller gamers), we believe we have taken controller support in a solid direction which we hope meets gamers’ expectations. We’re still polishing the on-board cases, but we think we’ve struck the right balance between a modern feel and preserving classic mechanics.
–Robert Gallerani, Director of Design
As Robert noted, we’ve received a lot of great feedback from PC gamers who have used controllers throughout Technical Alpha. This idea helped us shape, iterate and tune the controller controls in a way that is comfortable for the player and mimics the authentic course of Diablo II. We look forward to providing opportunities for PlayStation players to dive into Diablo II: Resurrected.
In addition to getting early access to the Open Beta which begins August 13 at 10:00 a.m. PT, players who pre-order Diablo II: Resurrected will get the Heritage of Arreat transmog set for Diablo III (pictured below). above), while those who pre-order the Diablo Prime Evil collection will pick up a few additional in-game goodies, including the Hatred’s Grasp Wings cosmetic, Mephisto Pet.
Rally your friends. The next Early Access * test will have multiplayer enabled, allowing up to eight players to play co-op in Act I: The Sightless Eye and Act II: The Secret of the Vizjerei. Players will be able to choose from five of seven unique Diablo II classes to explore — the Amazon, Barbaric, Druid, Paladin, and Witch; each with highly customizable builds and gear options that players can explore throughout the test.
Can’t participate in Early Access? No problem. On August 20 at 10:00 a.m. PDT, the Open Beta Weekend * will begin. All players in the PlayStation community will be able to download the Diablo II: Resurrected Open Beta for free and take on the Burning Hells minions (playable content is the same as Early Access).
Check out the remastered cutscene of Act 2 above.
Truly, there’s no better time to be a Diablo fan. Whether you are new to this game or a longtime fan who wants to relive this timeless classic, the gates of Hell are open to you. We’re excited to share Diablo II: Resurrected with you and hope you join us in Early Access and Open Beta before launch on September 23. We would love to hear your comments and thoughts on this gaming experience ahead of 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.