Editor’s Note: A lawsuit has been filed against Activision Blizzard by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which alleges the company has engaged in abuse, discrimination, and retaliation against its female employees. Activision Blizzard has denied the allegations. The full details of the Activision Blizzard lawsuit (content warning: rape, suicide, abuse, harassment) are being updated as new information becomes available.
Diablo 2: Resurrected launches in less than one week and the game’s designer is leaving the decision to purchase the game entirely up to fans in the wake of an anti-discrimination lawsuit filed against Activision Blizzard by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Resurrected is the first full game published by the company to be released following the allegations of sexism and harassment in the workplace.
So far the company has denied allegations set forth in the lawsuit, claiming in a statement provided to Screen Rant that “The picture the DFEH paints is not the Blizzard workplace of today.” Following denial of these claims to the public, nearly 1,000 Activision Blizzard employees signed an open letter expressed support for the DFEH’s lawsuit. Although the letter does not detail which allegations are true or false, it signifies a contemptuous work environment.
Rob Gallerani of Vicarious Visions told Axios he is urging fans to “do what they feel is right” when it comes to purchasing the remastered version of the fantasy cult-classic. Resurrected is a direct remaster of the original Diablo 2 but has undergone aesthetic changes to character designs, including what appears to be the de-sexualization of the Amazon character model. Diablo 2 is 21 years old this year and its remaster boasts being as consistent with the original game as possible, including only new visual and audio enhancement, overhauls to multiplayer systems, and improved user interfaces. It’s likely to appeal to longtime fans of the original game from 2000, but those who are new to the franchise may be hesitant to purchase it in light of detailed allegations against Activision Blizzard.
Resurrected was announced in February 2021 and is being made by Vicarious Visions, a company that has no exhaustive record of working on Blizzard games. Although the company was not brought to surface in the suit, studio managers worked internally to uncover areas of the company culture that could be improved upon. Teams even made passes over content in Diablo 2 for language or references that may provoke allegations of harassment or upset fans. They found nothing of note, however, despite other Blizzard games like World of Warcraft changing some NPC names.
This lawsuit may prove troublesome for the reception of Resurrected. While it may help ease tensions that Vicarious Visions is the company responsible for having designed Resurrected, the title is still closely associated with and published by Activision Blizzard. People are certain to be mindful of that when they consider buying the game, and depending how this lawsuit develops, it could also impact development and perception of the highly anticipated Diablo 4.