Grinding Gear Games is confident that the just-announced Path of Exile 2 will be capable of going toe-to-toe with Blizzard’s Diablo IV. Speaking to GameSpot at ExileCon in New Zealand today, founder Chris Wilson described Path of Exile 2 as a “next-generation” action RPG that can stand alongside Diablo IV–which presumably has a larger development budget.
“Yeah,” Wilson said when asked if Path of Exile 2 can go toe-to-toe with Diablo IV. “Path of Exile 2 is one of the next-generation of action role-playing games, and we feel it’s well-positioned there.”
Wilson acknowledged that Blizzard’s status as one of the biggest and most well-funded studios on the planet is helping Diablo IV shine in some departments. However, Wilson argued that Path of Exile 2 has an edge due to its legacy and how it’s connected to Path of Exile 1.
“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.”
Path of Exile 2 and Diablo IV aren’t going to square off anytime soon, it seems, as both titles are likely a long time away from release. Neither company is committing to a release date. Research company Cowen & Company said in its post-BlizzCon note to investors that they are expecting Diablo IV to launch no earlier than 2021.
As for Path of Exile 2, Wilson gave a small hint at the release window when he said the game may release at a point when the PS5 and next Xbox are in the marketplace. Both next-generation consoles are due to launch in Holiday 2020, and Path of Exile 2 is expected to be available for them (though not necessarily at launch, of course). The first beta for Path of Exile 2 is scheduled to begin in late 2020 at the soonest.
Both games are already playable. BlizzCon attendees had the opportunity to go hands on with a portion of Diablo IV, while those in attendance at ExileCon can play the beginning of Path of Exile 2.
Another interesting element at play when comparing Path of Exile 2 and Diablo IV is the tone of each title. From what we’ve seen so far, Diablo IV seems to take the series back to its darker, gorier roots. For what it’s worth, Path of Exile has always been a dark and gritty game. Some fans remarked that Path of Exile, with its darker tone, was more a successor to Diablo II than Diablo III was. Path of Exile launched in 2013, which was a year after Diablo III came out.
The dark tone for Path of Exile continues with Path of Exile 2, as the first trailer and gameplay footage demonstrated (watch again in the embed above). Not only that, but the company created a huge prop in the ExileCon hall featuring dead and dismembered bodies hanging from a tree. So yes, the dark tone is still intact for Path of Exile 2.
ExileCon runs November 16 and 17 in Auckland, so keep checking back with GameSpot for the latest.
Disclosure: Grinding Gear Games paid for GameSpot’s flight and accommodation in Auckland, New Zealand to attend ExileCon.
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Author: Eddie Makuch