GOG has managed to snag another crown jewel for their impressive catalog of Good Old Games: the original Diablo developed by Blizzard North and released by Blizzard Entertainment on December 31, 1996. It was the legendary action RPG that first introduced the harsh and endlessly rewarding world of Sanctuary. A massive commercial success as well as a critically acclaimed hit, it had a towering role and influence in the action RPG genre, and, along with the original Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, Diablo set the foundations for the Blizzard empire.
While Diablo II has been available for sale on the Blizzard Shop for many years, the original Diablo has been largely neglected, probably because the bigwigs at Blizzard figured the investment in porting the game for modern systems wasn't worth the return. That's where GOG comes in, as their mission has been to preserve gaming's past and future by salvaging the classics from oblivion, even if it isn't always terribly profitable. This act of preservation involves more than a careless repackaging, as GOG makes certain that the experience remains smooth in modern systems. Diablo can now be experienced as it was in 1996, except in an out-of-the-box Windows 10 compatibility, with period-appropriate 20 FPS SVGA graphics, a host of bug fixes, and even with the possibility to matchmake through the classic version of Blizzard's Battle.net. Rob Bridenbecker, Vice President and Executive Producer at Blizzard Entertainment acknowledged that the rerelease was long overdue:
We were bummed that these iconic games weren’t available to our players, so we‘re very happy to work with the crew at GOG.com to rectify that. This has been a long time coming and we hope our players will be excited to jump back into these classic titles.Oleg Klapovsky, Senior Vice President at GOG, shows GOG's passion and commitment to the art and business of digital preservation:
Crawling through the original Diablo's dungeons, together with Blizzard, is a feeling of pure excitement. It's a personal thing for many of us, and the most wished-for game in our community. Taking the first few steps beneath the Tristram Cathedral, listening to the guidance of Cain the Elder—it's all coming back, for old souls and newcomers alike.Diablo will be the first in a series of rereleases, with two other crown jewels also not available on the Blizzard Shop: Warcraft: Orcs & Humans and Warcraft II, which were obviously the foundation for Blizzard's most profitable title, World of Warcraft. Diablo is now available for purchase on GOG for $9.99, and more information on the return to Azeroth will be revealed soon. Some of us are also hoping for rereleases of Rock n' Roll Racing and The Lost Vikings, two other Blizzard classics from the early 1990s.
Update 03/09: As a commenter informed us, you can actually download copies of Rock n' Roll Racing and The Lost Vikings from Battle.net's Classic Games section. These are nice portable emulation bundles, a DOSBox bundle for The Lost Vikings, and a ZSNES bundle for Rock n' Roll Racing. There's also a setup for Blackthorne. Still, it would be nice to have these on GOG.
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Are you excited for Diablo's rerelease? Are you planning on picking up the Warcraft games as well? Let us know in the comments below.