You want it darker: Diablo remade inside Diablo III

It is the future, the year 1996. The age of serially abusing the left mouse button has begun – for Diablo is born. Soon, you will be able to transport your haggard soul back to that more innocent age of mass slaughter, blasphemous themes and venal kleptomania. Diablo 3 [official site]’s 20th Anniversary event/patch kicks off later this month, and they’ve only gone and remade the first game inside their latest demonic pinata – right down to the UI, animations and tinnier sound. Take a look below.

We knew back in November that this was happening, of course, but now we get a good, long look at what they’ve actually done. You’ll want to watch the below video to see ‘The Darkening of Tristram’, as they’re calling their time-limited game-within-a-game mode, but here’s the gist of what they’ve done:

  • A pixellated filter over the screen
  • shifted camera
  • Different animations
  • characters locked to eight degrees of rotation
  • player character walks rather than runs
  • tinnier, more repetitious sound
  • different character models e.g. more Diablo 1-like butcher
  • darker, obv
  • redone, retro UI

Of course, you’ll want to set the game’s resolution to 640×480 for the full effect. I’m just not convinced by that pixelisation filter, if I’m honest.

This is all part of patch 2.4.3, whose release date is tagged only as ‘coming soon.’ There are various loot and quality of life fixes, as well as the start of ‘season 9’, but the big draw is The Darkening Of Tristram. They say it’ll be available for ‘the month of January’, which suggests it’s days rather than weeks away, and previous reports have it that the event will return annually.

Diablo III’s a bit much for me, to be honest – too much about the meta, not enough about the journey. Maybe my playing a full-on Diablo remake is a bit fingers-in-ears, lalala the last twenty years didn’t happen lalala can’t heeeearrr youuuuu, but hell, I’m down for it anyway.


  1. Syt says:

    Season 9 starts this Friday, 5 PM CET, so I guess that’s when the patch will hit?

    • trashmyego says:

      It should hit by Friday morning during the normal Blizzard maintenance window. It’s odd. The patch implementation has been all over the place when leading into a new season, but they’ve always announced the date before the week of.

  2. General Ludd says:

    The tag line for this article made me so happy. What an album/career/man.

  3. Halk says:

    Looks worse than the old Diablo.

  4. gruia says:

    its just as horrible as ever, way under the original standard

  5. Spacewalk says:

    I’m hearing lots of passion for Diablo but I’m also reading time-limited content and the two just don’t add up in my mind.

    • Kefren says:

      Exactly. If something is good, and you put time and passion into it, why not make it permanently available?
      (Though I’m a hypocrite for saying that, since I don’t play games with Diablo3-type DRM anyway).

    • Michael Anson says:

      It’s intended to be a seasonal celebration of the anniversary, not just a nod. Having it be seasonal content keeps it fresh on a yearly basis. Frankly, I’d like to see more seasonal variety in Diablo III, it would keep the game fresh.

      …and a remake of Diablo II in-game would be nifty, as well. It’d be great to be able to play the entire trilogy, beginning to end, in a single engine.

      • Elusiv3Pastry says:

        I’m excited for this, but isn’t D3 essentially a complete remake of D1 and D2 already? You got the cathedral, Cain, the Butcher, King Leoric, Lut Gholein (or whatever the desert city is called now), the little fetish guys, the barbarian castle again, heaven, hell (or whatever that torture dungeon is called), it’s a complete rehash, only with more TEAR-ORRRR this time around.

        • andu says:

          yea its basically the same game as diablo 2 in terms of levels being church->desert->jungle->barbarian mountain

  6. Xocrates says:

    I’ve actually got Diablo 3 recently in a Christmas sale, and I must say it was a… let’s call it “interesting” experience.

    But ultimately the thing was I’ve enjoyed the game more than what I reasonably should, but perhaps more importantly is that it made me realize the issue with post-wow Blizzard games.

    For quite some time now I’ve noticed the pattern that I would play a Blizzard game intensely for a week and then drop them completely. I’ve assumed this was because the high production values made up for dodgy design underneath until said design got on my nerves, but that never felt quite right since all of those games had some pretty genius design mixed in with the bad one.

    And that’s what Diablo 3 made me realize. The problem is not the design, the problem is that what it feels like to play the game is more important than how the game actually plays, and so the design is compromised in order to make the moment to moment feel better in a fairly generic way.

    So the game’s tone is all over the place, the balance is utterly broken, the combat is repetitive as fuck, but man… those demons explode in a satisfying way.

    • trashmyego says:

      There’s definitely a trend in hitting the sweet spot of the moment to moment fulfillment in Blizzard’s post-WoW philosophy. There’s also the swing towards making revenue platforms as much as the games themselves, Diablo 3’s original real money auction house being a prime example of them overstepping and outright failing (maybe not in making money, but in not stepping on the toes of their customers). The ‘interesting’ experience from it probably comes a lot from this misstep, it was rebuilt almost entirely before becoming what it currently is.

      Starcraft 2 arguable is a slight outlier in the moment to moment focus, but it’s intent was to recreate the original and continue its legacy in esports. And lo and behold, by the third release of the trilogy we got co-op mode and it’s all there. The mission packs as well, but yeah.

      The thing that’s most surprising from me is that I’m quite able to live with this. There are a lot of things that make me nervous about Blizzard right now, but I can’t deny that they continue to produce what I can only describe as magic for me. I’m just looking forward to hearing about either of the two projects they have in development currently and what they see as their future, considering the near immovable object they’ve become in the landscape.

    • Syt says:

      I loved D1, didn’t care much for D2. I bought D3 on release (silly me), and didn’t enjoy it. I gave it a few spins over the years, and bounced off it each time.

      This year, during a hectic year end rush at work, I pulled this out again, as I needed something relatively mindless after hours, while watching streams or TV shows, or listening to audio books or podcasts. I’ve been playing nothing else for the past two weeks, and the Monk I rolled at the end of the season is coming up on 80 hours playtime.

      I think a big difference is my approach to it this time – instead of focusing on the game, it’s soemthing to keep my hands busy while my mind mostly focuses on something else – kind of like Euro/American Truck Sim. I have a habit of very easily getting distracted when listening to or watching something, so it’s a bit of a “coping mechanism”, I suppose.

    • fish99 says:

      I tend to play Diablo games until I’ve finished them. Same with most games really.

      • Xocrates says:

        Of the 5 post-wow Blizzard games only 2 (Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3) have campaigns so you can technically “finish” them. These are also their only games I don’t have a huge problem with that being the case, but even then it has affected me enough that I haven’t bothered getting the SC2 expansions in a timely manner (still missing the Protoss one).

        All the other are Multiplayer only games relying on active communities (and even the above 2 have a heavy MP focus) and in those circumstances getting bored quickly is a problem – at least for the game, even if not for yourself.

  7. Minsc_N_Boo says:

    Nice to see a D3 article without anyone in the comments mentioning the awesome Path of Exile game….

    Oooops ..¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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      Drib says:

      PoE was alright. I felt like the tone was a little too bleak for me.

      In Diablo you’re saving the world, granted a bleak world, from hell.

      In PoE you’re what? Sorta-helping a continent full of miserable exiles?

      • Bing_oh says:

        Honestly, PoE’s tone wasn’t the biggest problem (though, I must admit, it was a very bleak world with little if any respite).

        No, my biggest problem was how frequently they redesigned that massive maze of skills. I would play for awhile, tweaking a character (and, more specifically, tweaking the gem/weapon/armor loadout) to compliment the path I had taken and planned out on the skill chart. I would eventually find myself getting a bit bored, putting it away for awhile, only to find that they had once again redesigned the skills while I was away (more often that not, quite dramatically) and there had been a full skill reset. Of course, I hadn’t memorized where my points had been (and many of the skills had been moved, making it pointless even if I had), and my weapons and gems didn’t make any sense anymore because they had essentially redesigned the entire damn game while I was away.

        After one particularly big reset that totally ruined a character I had been working on and planning out for quite awhile, I simply gave up trying and walked away. I found that Grim Dawn was a better fit for me anyway…

      • aliksy says:

        My problem with PoE is all the fun is behind many hours of not-fun. Sure, I’d like to have cool explodey skills and interesting support gems to links together, but I don’t want to play through the same 16+ hours of campaign to get there. I hear there are cool end-game maps, but I’ve never gotten that far.

  8. GeoX says:

    I care not about Diablo, but I do applaud the Leonard Cohen reference.

  9. contractcooker says:

    Registered for RPS because of this title (been lurking for a while). Excellent reference, Leonard Cohen will be sorely missed.

  10. smeaa mario says:

    *Destroy the original game’s legacy
    *Remake the original game within your legacy destroyer

    Sounds legit.

  11. JackMultiple says:

    I totally applaud the new mixed-case article titles. Previously, I would’ve been scratching my heads at the phrase “Diablo Remade Inside Diablo III”, first of all wondering… what the HECK is “Inside Diablo III”? But now I get it! I get ALL the article titles of today’s articles!

    It’s like that time that Sierra realized they no longer needed to put mazes in every adventure game to make them last longer! Oh wait, they never realized that. Never mind.

    • JackMultiple says:

      Well, I guess mixed-case titles are not as “new” as I thought, although I only went back to about Dec 21 last year and see them as far back as there too. So I guess I’m just now noticing it with my various “heads”. Or maybe I’m just dreaming it? Or maybe, just one of my heads dreamt it?

      Unless they went and applied some web wizardry to old titles to make them all mixed-case? Nah, that sounds like something Sierra might do, though.