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Image: Activision Blizzard

The creators of “Diablo II: Resurrected” say people should “do what they feel is right,” when considering whether to buy next week’s big release from Activision Blizzard.

Why it matters: “Resurrected” is the first game from Activision Blizzard since California filed an anti-discrimination suit against the company, largely over sexism, harassment and other workplace problems at Blizzard, where the “Diablo” series was created.

  • “It was definitely very troubling to hear these types of things,” “Resurrected” design director Rob Gallerani tells Axios, referring to the misconduct allegations.
  • “And we really wanted to support our colleagues and our co-workers.”

Between the lines: The remake is primarily being made by Vicarious Visions, a studio in upstate New York that has long worked on non-Blizzard games and was not implicated in the suit.

  • But the allegations still caused the team to self-reflect, Gallerani says, which involved studio management reaching out to employees to ask what could be done better.
  • “We heard a lot of really positive things, but I don't think that we ever get a pass on that,” he says. “We always need to keep asking.”
  • The controversy also triggered a “scrub” of the original content of “Diablo II” for any problematic references. Names and quests are beingchanged in other Blizzard games, but Gallerani says the check found nothing.

Details: The remake wasn't expected to be controversial when it was announced in February.

  • 2000’s “Diablo II” is a beloved fantasy classic that lets players team up with friends to hack through legions of hellish foes while collecting ever-better loot.
  • Gallerani refers to the project as a “double-decker cake” of 100% of the original game’s code — tweaked only for the remake’s online and security systems — with a new visual engine on top of it.
Amazon warrior in "Diablo II Resurrected." Image: Activision Blizzard

Changes include new looks for the game’s characters, including its female Amazon warrior.

  • Her original, more sexualized design has been criticized by some, including a longtime Blizzard fan who once publicly challenged Blizzard over its "Victoria’s Secret" approach to female character design.
  • “A lot of those points of view weigh very heavily on us,” Gallerani says, though he says her revamp for the new game was primarily due to an effort to make all the characters look more like warriors who battled hell demons, rather than people who “rolled out of a nightclub.”

The bottom line: Some long-term fans are now hesitant to support Activision Blizzard games, demanding that the company meet employee demands for reform.

Go deeper

The Game Awards reveals big-budget publishers' priorities for the future

From the new gameplay trailer for Hellblade II. Screenshot: Ninja Theory/Xbox

Thursday night’s The Game Awards featured dozens of world premiere trailers and a smattering of awards. (It Takes Two won best game.)

Why it matters: The show offered a look at big-budget publishers’ priorities for the near term.

Democrats fail to change Senate rules to pass voting rights bill

Senate Majority Leader during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats failed Wednesday night to change Senate filibuster rules to pass the voting rights bill, with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voting with Republicans.

The big picture: The failed effort came after Senate Republicans blocked the voting rights measure from coming to a final vote earlier Wednesday.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court rejects Trump's attempt to shield documents from Jan. 6 committee

Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The Supreme Court rejected on Wednesday night a bid by former President Trump to block the release of documents and records from his administration to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Trump asked the Supreme Court to step in and block the release of the documents last month after a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously denied his attempt to prevent the committee from obtaining the materials.