Path of Exile is heading to Xbox One and we recently had a chance to play a work-in-progress build of the game and speak with Grinding Gear Games about the upcoming Act V: The Fall of Oriath expansion. Read our conversation below.
What’s your name, role/title working on Path of Exile?
My name is Jonathan Rogers, I’m the Technical Director for Grinding Gear Games.
What can players look forward to in the Xbox One version of Path of Exile?
For Xbox we wanted to try and get everything as close as possible in terms of content to the PC version but presumably something that is going to be launching the same time cause our expansion has six new acts so there’s a huge amount of new content for players to explore.
For those Path of Exile players on PC, what would be the incentive if they also owned an Xbox console?
Our goals aren’t necessarily go get our PC players over. We’re primarily interested in expanding our audience with new players. I know there’s going to be a lot of people who, I mean honestly, I actually find myself enjoying this myself just sort of sitting down on the couch and being able to relax while your playing. That’s something I have enjoyed. But I’m not necessarily expecting some big exodus from PC to console, we mainly want to bring the game to a new audience.
Is this symmetrical with PC users who have PoE accounts can login to Xbox One?
They are separate realms. The reason why we are doing that is because the console controls have a sense of changing some balance, changing how some skills work, and so on. It ends up being, that we couldn’t really have a 1:1 realm.
How have you adjusted for the controls, mainly because it was on keyboard and mouse to now more of a controller scheme?
The main challenge is around skills that need to be targeted to a specific location. So example is a thing like totems where you could push them, you put them in a very specific location with a mouse. But with a controller obviously, one really has the ability to specify a direction. For a lot of skills we had to, basically come up with, to determine where does the game think this should be going based on this direction. And that actually usually works pretty well. So that’s been the one way. There are just a few spells where we had to change how they work entirely. An example of this is Whirlwind, where in the PC you would tag a location and you would whirl from where you are to where you clicked. On Xbox, we turned it into a channeling skill where you hold it down where you move your character around with the left stick. So that’s sort of an example, but there’s a couple of skills where never going to work on console so we just removed them. There’s like three or four like that.
You’re also rolling out new content and every Xbox owner will have access Act I to Act V as well?
Up to Act I and V as well. So all the content, basically the content from all the expansions. All five expansions we created over the past couple of years.
Customization is also a very important part of Path of Exile. Abilities, skills, what players can expect here?
The basic idea here is, we want to make sure everybody has a different and unique take when they play the game. Everyone is not just playing some cookie clutter in-game build, like you see in a lot of MMOs. Basically, there’s a few different ways you can customize your character. One of them is by linking together skill gems, so for example, if you have a fireball and you want to multiple fireballs every time you fire. Then you can link that together with multiple projectiles and now you fire multiple fireballs and there are lots of, not only gems but also things in the passive skill tree. We have a giant 1500 node passive skill tree and also lots of uniques, there are I believe 700 unique items in the game. That’s not to say there’s all the random items, but also 700 specifically created uniques. I think I refer to them as legendaries if you’re used to that kind of terminology. They have unique abilities and stats that really change how your character works.
Path of Exile, released back in 2013, it’s been a long journey for you as developers. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned along the way?
The main thing, I would say, is how to deal with community and how to respond to feedback and so on. We changed the game the game a lot since 2013 but a lot of that has been driven by what the community has wanted so I think most of our community would agree that we’re a fairly open developer when it comes to reading, checking out the community Reddit and reading the forums and reacting to what they say. I think that’s something that is been very important and it’s very important if you’re going to be a F2P game that’s going to last a long time. Make sure to keep all your players happy because the moment they’re not happy, you don’t have a game anymore.
What’s your pitch for doing a F2P on console? It seems a very crowded market at times. What’s your unique sell point for that?
There isn’t an action RPG, like our game, that offers that kind of customization. We always been F2P in any market we enter into. We think it’s, in an modern era, we think that it’s a really good business model so long you’re willing to not have any kind of pay to win elements. We have just a huge amount of content.
What can people actually pay for in game?
What we have is cosmetic micro transactions, so what means is that if you want to make your armor look awesome, or have more fire effects on your sword. If you want to have a pet that follows you around. Or footprints as you leave as you walk around. We also have a thing called hideouts, which are player housing and you can buy decorations for your hideout. Any sort of cosmetic thing you can think of, we can do it.
When players look forward to playing Path of Exile, either in beta, or the final release on Xbox One?
The release of both the expansion and the Xbox One version, sort of middle of the year. We’re not finalizing an exact date yet. As for the beta, you can expect to see that late-April, early May. We don’t have an exact date yet but if you’d like to be able to get into the beta then sign up on pathofexile.com and you’ll be in the lottery.
Any final thoughts?
The one thing I would say is that for PC players is, they should give it a shot on the controller because they’ll be surprised how well the controls actually turned out.
Thank you for your time.