This weekend at ExileCon in Aukland, Australia developer Grinding Gear Games officially announced the next step forward with a wave of new content for their online-only dungeon-crawler action-RPG Path of Exile. This massive update is getting the sequel treatment and will be packaged as Path of Exile 2. Check out the official trailer from ExileCon below.
Grinding Gear Games is “sick” of “bright, cartoony” RPG games, and Path of Exile 2 doubles down on the sentiment. The cinematic opening starts off with an adventurer narrowly escaping a mass execution at the dark and gloomy gallows, then shifts to the familiar top-down, isometric perspective to show off the new abilities and grotesque enemies Grinding Gear will bring with Path of Exile‘s sequel. This new content is set twenty years after the fall of Kitava, Path of Exile‘s ravenous Big Bad, but Wraecrest is as “terrifying” as ever. The trailer ends with the hero on a sailing ship, suggesting the world will be much bigger this time around.
Path of Exile 2 will feature a brand new seven-act storyline and “two campaigns” for Wraecrest’s warriors to play through, meaning that new players will be able to play through either the original campaign or the new campaign unique to Path of Exile 2. Either campaign will lead to the same endgame content.
Anyone who has put their eyes on Path of Exile knows that the game liberally takes inspiration from Blizzard’s Diablo series, and their approach to this sequel is a bit like the mega-expansion approach Blizzard is taking with the recently announced new content they’re dubbing Overwatch 2. This upcoming content was originally planned as a major expansion, but Grinding Gear opted to go with a full-on “2” label given its scope. Content from vanilla Path of Exile‘s expansions since the game’s debut in 2013 will be a “fully integrated” part of Path of Exile 2 along with the original campaign and any personal content from microtransactions.
“Over the years there have been many changes that we would have loved to make to Path of Exile but couldn’t, because they would break existing characters. Path of Exile 2 is an opportunity to make all these changes in one large update,” the official website for the game’s sequel reads.
Grinding Gear Games also showed off an extended gameplay preview trailer at ExileCon to announce Path of Exile 2, which you can watch below. The game’s visuals are updated and includes cool additions like abilities that transform the player into beasts for aggressive combat.
According to the official Path of Exile website, Path of Exile 2 includes 19 new Ascendancy classes, coming from the same archetype as Exiles from the vanilla version of the game but with brand new abilities. The sequel will also come with a radically overhauled Skill Gem system that aims to offer the same level of individual customization but without the more annoying and clunky issues some players experience with the current version. These updates will affect both versions of the game.
So, can Path of Exile hold its own against the juggernaut dungeon-crawler Diablo’s upcoming fourth installment? Grinding Gear Games founder Chris Wilson is confident that it will. Speaking to GameSpot during ExileCon, Wilson said, “Path of Exile 2 is one of the next-generation of action role-playing games, and we feel it’s well-positioned there.”
“Any company with a lot of money can make really nice graphics and so on. They have amazing graphics as well and a great storyline and so on,” Wilson said of Blizzard and Diablo IV. “But what we have here [with Path of Exile 2] is bringing across six or seven years of content including all the balance and ecosystem. If you make a new game, maybe it’s bad? You don’t know until you play it. Whereas we know Path of Exile is good, and there are a lot of people out there who like that.”
Grinding Gear Games isn’t ready to share a planned release date for the new content in Path of Exile 2, but they are looking to hold an open beta by the end of 2020. It would be fair to speculate that the game will release around or after the Holiday 2020 season, which brings the Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Project Scarlett next-generation consoles to retail. Grinding Gear Game also says that their development of Path of Exile 2 won’t hinder the three-month content release schedule Path of Exile is on now.
Grinding Gear Games plans to share more information on Path of Exile 2, including the upcoming changes to the Passive Skill Tree and other game systems, “over the next year.” The original Path of Exile is free to play and available on now PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.