The report states that the remake was originally being headed by Blizzard’s Team 1, which handled last year’s Warcraft III: Reforged. However, in the wake of that game’s poor reception and an internal post-mortem, that project was reassigned to the division behind Diablo IV, with support from Vicarious Visions. The post-mortem highlighted communication problems and financial pressure from management among the reasons for the problems with Reforged, which included widespread complaints about fundamental technical issues and poorly regarded changes to the visual design of the 2002 original.
Exactly how long the Diablo II remake has been in development under the new team is unclear, as Blizzard’s official statement did not acknowledge the project and only stated that the developer and Vicarious Visions have been working together “for some time.” Nonetheless, Schreier’s report notes that Blizzard’s Team 1 was announced to be reorganized — or effectively shut down — with most staff either being placed elsewhere within Blizzard or departing the company altogether. Some reportedly went to join former Blizzard alumni at Dreamhaven and Frost Giant Studios.
Vicarious Visions has expertise with developing high-quality remakes, having recently worked on Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2.