Blizzard’s 2000 Diablo II with fan-made remastered graphics looks amazing
I’ve talked about upscaling old game graphics with AI-enhanced algorithms before. Now we’re taking this a bit further with a classic fan favorite: Diablo II.
Some screenshots surfacing online are showing how a remaster of Diablo 2 would look like. It’s something Diablo fans have asked for long. However, Blizzard has instead decided in creating “Diablo: Immortal” for mobile devices. More on that later.
Even so, the game company might be working on a Diablo II remaster, although there’s no official word about it. Which is why fans have decided to take matters into their hands. A Reddit user is tweaking “ESRGAN,” an AI Generate Adversarial Network and discovering how its algorithms can benefit Diablo II.
ESRGAN adds realistic textures to low-resolution images.
Enhanced super resolution generative adverserial networks, or ESRGAN, is an upscaling method that takes an low-res image and adds realistic details to it. By doing it over several passes with the goal of fooling its adverserial part, it will usually produce an image with more fidelity and realism than past methods. I have upscaled the textures in Morrowind to four times the vanilla resolution using ESRGAN.
Diablo II AI-enhanced graphics
The creator of the fan-made remake, Reddit user Indoflaven, explains he used the ESRGAN codes to upscale particular screenshot from its classic 1024×786 resolution.
The result seems excellent and shows the potential of remastering this classic RPG title. Some would say the original Diablo is the father of the Dungeon Crawler genre, while its successor is still regarded as one of the best hack&slash games of all time. As for the third installment of the franchise…well..no one cares about Diablo III, really.
For further reference, you should check how the original game looks like. The image below is inside Act 2’s stronghold, just like the image above:
Diablo II is a 2000 PC exclusive game that sold 2 million copies within its initial two months. It’s the best game of the franchise, as well as an RPG legend. It’s expansion, Lord of Destruction, launched in 2001 with two new classes and a new act -the longest one.
The game follows your character -one of the various classes you can choose- as you slash your way through the hordes of demons and the undead until you defeat Evil itself: Diablo and his brothers.
Diablo: Immortal, on the other hand, tells what happened between Diablo II and the infamous Diablo III. Worts of all, it’s only for mobile devices. And we all know mobile RPG’s annoys us with heavy pay-to-win features like the classic -pay X equivalent of real money to unlock new skills- or the even worse -pay x equivalent of real money to increase your inconveniently small inventory-.
Diablo II is not the only game with upscaled-graphics
The gaming community is continuously finding new ways to use AI features to enhance game graphics.
In particular, there’re two fan-made improvements we should talk about.
The first one is Metroid Prime for Gamecube. ResetEra user “Collige” released a 1.8GB texture pack for the game. He used AI techniques like ESRGAN to improve Metroid’s textures while retaining the creator’s style.
The “Metroid Prime 1 Full Game HD Texture Pack for Dolphin” has 9,000 ESRGAN upscaled textures. You can use the HD texture pack on PC with the Gamecube Dolphin emulator, and it works with the original Metroid Prime (if you ask, the GameID is GM8E01).
You may download it here. Check how it looks on the video down below:
The second game we’re talking about is The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowwind. Bethesda’s beloved open-world RPG hasn’t aged all that well since 2002. However, the dated graphics don’t stop players from still enjoying it.
If the graphics are a problem for you, though, then you should check a new mod that greatly improves its look. The new Morrowind HD Texture Pack adds AI-enhanced textures via ESRGAN techniques.
You can download the mod here. If you don’t know about the game, take my word for it: Morrowind is a classic open-ended RPG that gives players a lot of freedom in how they choose to develop their characters. It’s a single player focusing on finding the source of an evil blight that’s plaguing the land.