Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Diablo 2 Resurrected is Still Dead

Lamoine Williams

               For weeks just like many of you I have been patiently awaiting the release of the Diablo2 remake. While it was officially released today, September 24, 2021, it seems to be missing some of the crucial accessibility features we were promised by the developer. Although there are accessibility options for resizing U/I elements, choosing if NPC’s dialog is presented in audio, text, or both, there is no Text to Speech to be heard anywhere. In the past, there have not been many game remakes that have added in more accessibility for the blind. This is something that the entire blind community wishes would change very soon.

               When a game is remade, the developers in most cases overhaul the game in order to make it a bit more modern and appealing to consumers. Games may get updated U/I, updates to graphics, and attention to things that make the game overall run smoother. This is the perfect time to add in accessibility, while developers are under a game’s hood adding in other updates. Sadly, this is not what is happening in most cases. What we usually get are games that are graphically pleasing, but have little to no updates that remove the barriers from the original games.

               One thing to understand is the difference between a remaster and a remake. These two terms are easy to get confused and although they seem similar, they are as different as night and day. Let’s start with remasters. A remaster of a game means that it is usually the same game with changes to graphics and assets. These games are mostly the same at the core and have the same content and overall gameplay.

               On the other hand, a remake is a total overhaul of the game. A remake may have the same concept, just taken in a different direction. In remakes, developers rebuild a game from the original. Technical updates are usually implemented while also making the game more appealing to new gamers. Plot lines, characters, and combat are things that are changed depending on the title.

               So, how bad is Diablo2 Resurrected from an accessibility standpoint? Well, it’s still as dead as its predecessor to be honest. Pre-launch there was tons of talk about how much accessibility was going to be put into this title. While post-launch it is another dismal failure. Many in the disabled community were sure after the mind-blowing release of The Last of Us Part II last year that developers understood what was needed to make a game fully accessible and would begin making it a priority. But with accessibility failures such as Watch Dog: Legion, Ratchet and Clank: A Rift Apart, and Final Fantasy 7: Remake we experienced none of what makes a game great, which is removing barriers and allowing everyone to play.


©2021 Lamoine Williams 

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