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DiabloApr 1, 2019 2:00 pm CT

If you’ve always wanted to see Diablo 2 cinematics at 4k, now you can, because AI made it happen

This is an interesting use of machine learning, and compared to what I’m always afraid they’ll do with it — namely, create a super AI that will realize how awful our species is and wipe us all out like the plague we are — making Diablo 2 cutscenes sharper is a pretty good one. I won’t even pretend I understand how it works, but you can see the results for yourselves. They’re up on YouTube right now. Here’s the AI remastered version of the original Diablo 2 intro cinematic.

Now, if you haven’t seen the original for a while, you may not know what the difference is. It’s subtle, I admit — in an era where fans are going out and using World of Warcraft models to remake Warcraft III cutscenes, what’s happening here is a lot more subtle. But if you go and watch the original intro, you’ll start to notice it right away. Here it is, if you’re feeling like taking a look for yourself.

Marcelus Castle Rain, the person behind the FMV remasters using Machine Learning (and not just for Diablo 2, either — there’s a Patreon up with examples of similar remasters from other games using this same AI process) realized that you’d need to see both before you really got the full experience of what’s being done here. There’s a side by side video that compares the original cinematic from the year 2000 (yes, it’s been 19 years since Diablo 2, and yes, I feel the heavy weight of age crushing down on me) to the reworked intro, and I have to say that the new stuff is much crisper while still retaining the essential character of the original cinematic for better and for worse.

Now, I said for better and for worse because being able to see these cinematics in a much cleaner, clearer format and to be able to scale them up to 4k definitely displays all the warts on that old cinematic. Don’t get me wrong — it’s quite the achievement to be able to see it in such greater detail but Marius’ face really doesn’t look right compared to the stuff Blizzard’s cinematic team is doing nowadays. It makes me want to see them do a complete Warcraft III Reforged treatment for Diablo 2 more than ever, just to see what the cinematics would look like if they were brought up to modern standards.

Still, this is excellent work and the videos are a lot more watchable like this. I’m relieved that instead of killing all humans our AI overlords are instead spending their time making sure old games still look as good as they can.

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