Blizzard today announced it’s partnering with GOG.com to bring back the original Diablo, in all its 90s RPG glory. This is the first time the game will be available digitally, and both companies have made an effort to ensure gamers are getting the real deal.
According to Blizzard, the version of Diablo that’s coming to GOG will be an “authentic Diablo experience” allowing players to “play the game as it was in 1996, with period-appropriate 20 FPS SVGA graphics,” and old-school Battle.net matchmaking. GOG offers two versions of its game — one the classic build which allows you to take advantage of the aforementioned features, and one tweaked to run well on Windows 10 PCs.
— Diablo (@Diablo) March 7, 2019
It’s curious to see Blizzard release this so casually — this feels like what was supposed to have been announced at the end of the last Blizzcon, rather than that lackluster showing of Diablo Immortal. This is definitely worthy of that “Oh, and one more thing” moment in a big show, rather than a casual Thursday press release. The company also announced GOG would later get Warcraft: Orcs and Humans and Warcraft 2, also the first time those two games have been made available digitally.
But if nothing else, it’s a good example of how a game developer can give fans a classic game, updated for the new generation, without having to remaster it with fresh graphics or features.
For those who don’t know, the question of preserving authenticity in older games is a thorny one. Recent debates between game makers and gaming historians have gone as far as the Library of Congress. While preservationists have argued that games should be kept, to whatever degree is possible, intact in their original state, game developers have countered they’re keeping older games alive through remasters.
The Librarian has since offered a compromise, stating that gaming archivists can preserve the games, but only under the circumstance that they acquire a game’s server code legally. Archivists, speaking to Motherboard, warned that this is not likely to happen in the vast majority of cases, as the original server code is rarely saved or archived.
So that means, in the case of many classic games, it falls to the developers themselves to preserve the games in their original forms. And Blizzard is now showing that it’s entirely possible with this re-release of the original version of Diablo. New generations can experience the original release exactly as their predecessors did.
You can buy Diablo from GOG here.
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