Diablo 2 Resurrected launches during a turbulent time for Blizzard. Diablo’s design director has spoken out about how changes in culture have impacted game design, particularly around female model changes in the upcoming remake.
Diablo 2 Resurrected is Blizzard’s first major release since the lawsuit alleging a “frat boy culture” and sexual harassment at the company became public knowledge.
While Diablo 2 Resurrected is likely to sell well based on the popularity of the series, there will undoubtedly be some gamers boycotting the title and the company going forward. In a recent interview with Axios Gaming, design director Rob Gallerani encouraged fans to “do what they feel is right” when it comes to buying the game or not.
Since the lawsuit, there have been public apologies from Chris Metzen And Mike Morhaime and even resignations from others. There have also been changes to the portrayal of women in their games.
Why Diablo changed character models
Blizzard has been criticized in the past for allegedly oversexualizing their female character models. Games like Overwatch have been in the firing line in the past, including changing the name of McCree. The company has also altered character models in games like Diablo 2 Resurrected.
However, this has also led to backlash from fans. Blizzard was accused of deliberately making the redesigned Amazon character model in Diablo 2 Resurrected less attractive.
Blizzard has since made further changes to the character so that the Amazon more closely resembles the original design. Gallerani addressed the situation saying. “A lot of those points of view weigh very heavily on us.” He went on to say that the redesign of the Amazon was intended to make her look more like a demon-slayer and less like someone who just “rolled out of a nightclub.”
While the reasons behind the Amazon’s redesigns and other changes to character models can be debated, Blizzard is actively trying to combat what has been described as a “frat boy” work culture.
A recent petition lends weight to this view. In it, over 2000 current and former employees criticized the working conditions at the company. They went on to stage strike action in an effort to improve them. As well as how the company responds to accusations of sexism towards women in the future.