Players of the Diablo II: Resurrected alpha test were outraged over the censorship of the Amazon, along with other characters and pre-release footage.
While the game’s technical alpha has concluded, fans were quick to notice the game had been censored. The most high-profile of these complaints has been from Hololive VTuber Takanashi Kiara.
During a livestream of the alpha test, she showed off how the game was able to flip between the original and new graphics; and the phenomena of how some initial think updated graphics on older games look just how they remember them. However, Kiara quickly noticed a difference.
She remembered how the Amazon had her buttocks and thighs on display in the original Diablo II, partially covered by a narrow and long loincloth. Upon switching back to the updated graphics, Kiara howled with lamentation, noticing the Amazon class now had a full skirt covering her butt.
This also applies when the Amazon equips new pieces of armor, turning loincloths into skirts or kilts. The Amazon also had a less revealing skirt when she appeared in Heroes of the Storm.
Others on the series’ subReddit [1, 2] had also complained about the Amazon’s face looking more masculine compared to the original, along with the Assassin and Sorceress loosing their lithe frame for a more muscular build. Others took to making fan-made mock-ups of how the Amazon should look.
A month prior, when the first shots of the Amazon were shown, Diablo subReddit community manager replied to users requests for a more feminine looking Amazon. “The team has most definitely been seeing the feedback over the last day regarding some of the looks on the character models. There may be some changes in the future so we appreciate all the feedback on this. In the end, the game is a lot of ways your game and not just ours so we want to make sure we do get it right”
Based on footage before the pre-alpha launched, others also found other cases of censorship [1, 2]. This included the demon Andariel and Dark Rangers having the buttocks covered. Ironically, it seems the Blood Raven has kept a loincloth similar to the Amazon’s original design; however her skin is almost entirely covered with red tendril like marks, blurring the lines between armor and skin.
In the classes, the Assassin’s thighs are more covered, along with the Sorceress not having an “underboob” exposing top. Along with the latter having a longer skirt, briefs are more prominently seen under it.
Blizzard forum user “wasabi” also took issue with the updated playable character classes almost across the board.
“The Amazon looks like an old man. The Barbarian looks like a 58 year old retired wrestler with low testosterone. The Druid found a hair dresser. The Sorceress turned into a thicc latina. The Assassin turned into Shang Tsung. The Necromancer looks alright, but older. The Paladin needs to visit the Druid’s hair dresser.
Say what you want, but the lack of censorship was as much a part of Diablo 2’s success as was killing demons.
For the love of Tyrael, please show off Andy’s butt. Them cheeks were a wonder to look at while cutting her down.”
Max Schaefer, one of the developers on the original Diablo II, told IGN when the remaster was only a rumor that the game should not only remain uncensored, but agreed with orignal composer Matt Uelmen that it would need “more violence, more gore, and more nakedness.”
“Yeah, I’m going to agree with that. The game was made to be shocking and push boundaries and when you have an opportunity to remake it with modern graphics, you’re going to be confronted very quickly with how much are you really going to want to reproduce something that was down to a few pixels in the original version, and not succumb to the temptation to make a censored version.
We’re talking about modern Blizzard right now, and they have shareholders and things like that, that we didn’t have to worry about back in the day. I’m curious as to what their approach is gonna be.”
During a Q&A session at BlizzConline 2021, Diablo II: Resurrected principal designer Rob Gallerani stated the game was not intended to replace the original. “No, absolutely not! Everything you have about D2 currently will stay D2. This is a separate product, separate game; you can play both at the same time if you want!”
Gallerani also noted that, as aforementioned, players could switch back to the original graphics. On Twitter it was confirmed the game would have mod support. While most cases of video game censorship are finite outside of fan modding, the ability to switch to the original graphics offers some desire to respect the original. However, it creates more questions.
Why did Blizzard take issue updating the graphics with sexual elements, if they did not object to showing those same elements with the original graphics? If they knew players would object to modifying the original designs, why stray from them when updating them for Resurrected? If keeping the original graphics is going to keep the game’s rating at M for Mature, why bother censoring at all?
What do you think? Sound off in the comments below!
Diablo II: Resurrected launches 2021 for Windows PC (via Battle.net), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S.