Grinding Gear Games co-founder Chris Wilson talks to us about the upcoming PS4 release of the free-to-play action-RPG.
Path of Exile has garnered a massive audience as one of the top looter action-RPGs over the years, something that developers Grinding Gear Games have worked very hard on with constant content updates, fair monetization methods, and most of all, the fact that it’s a free-to-play game. Recently, it was announced that Path of Exile would be launching later this year on the PS4 (now delayed to February 2019), and in anticipation of that release, we sent across a few of our questions about the game to Grinding Gear Games’ co-founder Chris Wilson. Read on below.
"We want Path of Exile players to have the full experience on all platforms, regardless of whether you’re playing on PC, PlayStation 4 or Xbox One."
You have earlier stated that you chose not to bring Path of Exile to the PS4 as well while you ported it to the Xbox One due to the similarities Xbox One has with Windows. What made you change your mind?
Xbox One was our choice for the first of the two platforms to launch on, because it’s more similar to PC. This made the porting job faster and let us have a build up and running quickly. We have always intended to follow up with a PS4 version but were only comfortable to announce it when it was ready to launch.
Can PS4 players expect to see any exclusive content in the game with it launches on the system?
No, but that’s a good thing. We want Path of Exile players to have the full experience on all platforms, regardless of whether you’re playing on PC, PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.
Path of Exile is often called by many one of the best supported games currently on the market, which is further accentuated by the fact the support for similar games, such as Diablo 3, has been a bit lacklustre in recent years. How important do you think it is to support this kind of game, or any game in general, with strong content once it’s out of the game, and how long do you think that support ideally needs to go on before the developer maybe starts thinking of a sequel?
Our business model, where users buy cosmetic microtransactions while they are playing the game, encourages us to release meaningful new content as frequently as we can and to keep players heavily engaged. We believe it’s very important to support a game post-launch. We don’t believe it is necessary for these types of games to have sequels, it’s better for the base game to improve over time and work gradually towards its ideal form.
"Our Global Illumination tech (where all objects can indirectly light other objects around them according to their colour) is enabled for PS4 Pro users."
Speaking of post-launch support, after Betrayal launches in December, do you have anything else on the docket following its release?
Our 2019 schedule has four expansions underway, with one released every 13 weeks. This leads up to the ExileCon fan convention being held Auckland, New Zealand in November 2019. At this event, we will announce some big projects that we expect to release in 2020.
Will the game feature any PS4 Pro enhancements?
Yes, our Global Illumination tech (where all objects can indirectly light other objects around them according to their colour) is enabled for PS4 Pro users.
And how does it run on the base PS4?
It runs at 60fps on the base PS4.
Will the game run at 4K and 60fps on the PS4 Pro?
Do you have any plans for bringing Path of Exile to the Switch?
We have no plans at this stage.
Is there a possibility that Path of Exile, or a Path of Exile experience, makes its way to mobile devices some time in the future, similar to what’s going on with Diablo? Do you think there’s a market on mobile devices for that sort of game?
We have no plans at this stage.
Regarding whether there’s a market for mobile RPGs, there certainly is in China.
"Our microtransaction model (selling only things that don’t affect gameplay) absolutely results in us making less money per player than our competitors who sell gameplay advantage. However, our players are happy and growing, which is more important to us."
Path of Exile seems to be a rare example of a free to play game that does microtransactions right. Given the success that it’s achieved and continues to achieve, why do you think more developers and publishers aren’t picking it up as a model for their games as well? Do you think there are other genres or types of games that this sort of model can benefit in particular?
Our microtransaction model (selling only things that don’t affect gameplay) absolutely results in us making less money per player than our competitors who sell gameplay advantage. However, our players are happy and growing, which is more important to us. Any competitive game should strongly consider offering an entirely fair play field and only selling cosmetic differences.