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Friday, March 24, 2023

Vicarious Visions Reportedly Brought Into Blizzard to Work on Diablo 2 Remake

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Following the news that Vicarious Visions has been merged into Blizzard Entertainment, a new report says that the studio was brought into Blizzard to work on on the Diablo franchise, including a planned remake of Diablo 2.As reported by Bloomberg, Vicarious Visions, the studio behind such games as Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 and Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, has been working with Blizzard since last year, even though the announcement of its merger was only made today, January 22.

Up until 2020, the Diablo 2 remake was set to be developed by Blizzard’s Team 1, which is located at its Irvine, California campus and was the go-to group for reworking classic games. Its latest title, Warcraft III: Reforged, was not received positively and currently has a 59 on review aggregate site Metacritic, which also happens to be Blizzard’s lowest score to date. IGN gave Warcraft III: Reforged a 7/10, saying it “is an uninspiring remaster, but Warcraft 3 itself is still a great game nearly two decades later.”

Internal documents reviewed by Bloomberg pin the game’s failures on “poor planning, miscommunication and a rushed release due to financial pressure from management, among other factors.” One example given was that, following the game’s reveal in November 2018, it began taking pre-orders for 2019 before letting most of the development team know of the release window.

Blizzard and Team 1 obviously didn’t want to make the same mistakes with the much-anticipated Diablo 2 remaster, and following a “postmortem,” Blizzard ended up pulling the remaster from the team and putting the division behind Diablo IV in charge. Vicarious Visions is also said to be working on this project, which is or was known as Diablo II: Resurrected.

In October 2020, Blizzard reorganized the entire division known as Team 1 and members of the team were given opportunities to interview for other positions within the company. Those who did not find a position were eventually let go, while others chose to leave for independent studios like Frost Giant Inc., and DreamHaven Inc., the latter of which was started by Blizzard co-founder and former CEO Mike Morhaime.

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Prior to Warcraft III: Reforged, Team 1 was responsible for both Heroes of the Storm and StarCraft 2. In 2018, Blizzard began scaling down development of Heroes of the Storm, and StarCraft 2 also recently ended content development.

For those still playing Warcraft III: Reforged or waiting for any updates, a spokesperson for the company said it is “still committed to updates in support of the community.”

A report in 2020 stated that the long rumored Diablo 2 remaster was scheduled to arrive in that same year, and it’s possible these development shifts and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to its internal delay.

Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to newstips@ign.com.

Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.

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