Gamers of a certain age will remember fondly all the hours spent playing Diablo II, which originally launched in 2000. Here we are 20 years later, and the remastered version is almost ready for release. However, fans of ultrawide monitors won’t have as much to celebrate. After nerfing 21:9 ultrawide support in the last phase of the beta, Blizzard has now explained the reason: true ultrawide support breaks the game.
Most large screens these days are 16:9, the same ratio as TVs. However, PC gamers are fond of ultrawide monitors, which can provide a more immersive experience by filling your field of view. There are a few crazy-wide screens out there, like Samsung’s 32:9 Odyssey monitor, but most are 21:9. It’s become a common enough ratio that it’s odd to find a game that doesn’t support it, but Diablo II: Resurrected isn’t technically a new game.
During the public test, Diablo II: resurrected had 21:9 support until the last few weeks when the developers reduced the maximum width to 19:9. Gamers naturally wondered why they were suddenly getting black bars, and now we know thanks to a post on the Blizzard forums. According to the developers, a 21:9 aspect ratio pushes the possible attack range beyond the maximum supported in the game.
“To protect the integrity of everyone’s experience and promote an equal playing field for all, those with ultrawide monitors will be able to have their game screen purview extended to 19:9 (the maximum length of the in-game limitation zones) with a vignette on the sides of the game screen,” Blizzard wrote.
In the past, some competitive games have removed ultrawide support simply because it gives those players an unfair advantage of seeing more of the in-game world. At least here there’s a real functionality issue driving the removal of a feature. If you attack enemies at the extreme edge of a 21:9 screen, they don’t react because they can’t sense the player. So, they just die without engaging in combat.
Those with ultrawide monitors will have to deal with black bars on the screen — technically a gentle vignette-style fade to black. This strikes me, an avid ultrawide monitor user, as a reasonable course of action. After all, the remastered version is still running on a 20-year-old game engine that was designed to run at 800×600 resolution. Maybe this means we won’t see a repeat of the Warcraft 3 mess.
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