Path of Exile 2 devs would prefer a beta for “playtesting value”, not “marketing value”

"We could run a beta of what we've got so far, relatively eminently, but I don't know it'll be of much value"

Grinding Gear Games has been balancing Path of Exile’s new league output with working on the RPG’s sequel. It’s a delicate balance to hit, regardless, but COVID-19 has thrown things out of rhythm. More than once, the developer has had pulled devs off Path of Exile 2 and onto whatever league they’re working on in that given moment.

Path of Exile 2’s release date has been kept ambiguous for that reason, as the public stance remains that the upcoming PC game will be ready when it’s ready. There was some hope of having Path of Exile 2’s beta playable this year, but that won’t be happening either. Grinding Gear Games co-founder Chris Wilson tells us that one of the reasons for that is it wouldn’t be worthwhile. The studio could undoubtedly put a beta together, but it wouldn’t offer the playtesting value it’s looking for.

“Part of the question is how large the beta should be, right? There’s quite a lot of issues related to it,” he says. “Do you run a beta for the sake of testing some content and systems without the full game in there? Do you wait until much closer to release and run a much more complete beta? We’re doing the game and chapters at the moment act by act.

“So it’s entirely possible we could run a beta of what we’ve got so far, relatively eminently, but I don’t know it’ll be of much value. There might be marketing value to that, but I’d rather try to get some playtesting value out of it.”

As for Path of Exile 2 itself, Wilson admits that it’s a slow burn as he wants to make sure the original remains healthy and that the studio doesn’t become dependent on the follow-up to save them from a possibly disastrous situation.

“It’s gonna take us a while, but it’s still happening, and it’s still exciting,” Wilson tells us. “We keep having to pull resources off Path of Exile 2 to hit these deadlines because it’s my goal not to miss any expansions and to keep the game growing.

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“I want it so that things are going to go fine. Even if there was never a Path of Exile 2 – that’s just a bonus on top, if you see what I mean. I don’t want to get in a situation where we’re relying on Path of Exile 2 to fix something. And so, therefore, it’s full steam ahead on these expansions In the meantime, and Path of Exile 2 will take as long as it takes.”

As Wilson alludes to, there’s plenty of PoE content to keep you busy in the meantime. PoE’s 3.12 update features heists alongside smaller tweaks and will drop later this month. The developer has drawn upon lots of unexpected sources for inspiration, and this one is no different. Wilson tells us that the idea behind PoE’s heist league came to him and technical director Jonathan Rogers when they were flicking through Netflix for inspiration.