Grinding Gear Games’ Path of Exile has remained a popular free-to-play action-RPG since its debut in 2013. While the current game is still getting regular updates, the developers also have plans for a sequel, which was announced in 2019. Unfortunately, 2020 turned out to be a chaotic year for many, and developer Grinding Gear Games had to adapt to sudden changes in plans.
Along with our chat about the Echoes of the Atlas expansion, managing director of Path of Exile Chris Wilson gave us an update on Path of Exile 2. The sequel is Path of Exile’s next leap forward as a free-to-play action-RPG, adding in a new story, world to explore, and classes to level up and outfit with loot. While development is still progressing, Wilson spoke candidly about how the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the progress, and it may be a bit longer before we see the sequel’s release.
“[Development] has been a bit slower than I would have liked, it was the biggest casualty of COVID–and I hate to blame COVID because it seems like everyone is doing that–but it really has had an impact on us,” said Wilson. “That’s mostly because we’re still committed to getting our normal expansions out, we’re not going to allow problems to affect our current maintenance of the game, so that means we’ve had to pull developers from PoE2 from the last year back onto this game. That’s been fine, and there’s plenty of work there, but that does mean it’s been a bit rocky with the sequel’s work being done behind the scenes. It also doesn’t help that with New Zealand’s borders being closed, we can’t hire other developers from overseas. But to cut a long story short, things have been slow.”
During our talk about the newest expansion, Echoes of the Atlas, Wilson explained that one of the added benefits of moving chairs around within the studio was that creatives working on the sequel have been able to apply new tricks and upgrades to the original game. The next expansion will introduce 11 new maps into the Atlas endgame, and each one will feature more dynamic camera work, updated graphics, and other updates to the presentation that puts it above the more common tile-sets in the game.
Despite the silence about anything related to the game, Wilson stated they plan to share more details about the game in 2021. In addition to keeping the current game up to date, Grinding Gear Games plans to roll out new info about what’s to come with the sequel.
“But that hasn’t bothered us in an existential way; last year, Path of Exile had its best year yet and we see 2021 being even better. We’re committed to getting the sequel out because we’ve already made that promise to players, so we plan to have a very transparent approach to showing the game this year. We really don’t see value in hiding what we have for the sequel, so we want to reassure you players that it’s going well.”
For more info on Path of Exile, be sure to check out our recent coverage on the expansion, which is set to release January 15 on PC, with a console launch on January 20.
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