Apparently, Path of Exile‘s most recent league, Synthesis, isn’t proving to be very popular with players. And Grinding Gear Games has a lot on its plate this year, with a PlayStation 4 release, a South Korean launch, ExileCon in November, and oh yeah, the regular schedule of releases. What could go wrong?
GGG’s Chris Wilson took to the Path of Exile subreddit yesterday to discuss all that and more in an effort to reassure fans about the future direction of the game and company. “Synthesis was more work than we expected,” he started off, admitting that there wasn’t a lot of time to iterate on it and that it was “not our best league and is not up to the quality standards that Path of Exile players should expect from us.” Unlike previous leagues, it won’t be merged into the core game when the league ends.
With both that and the heavy workload looming for the rest of the year, GGG has had to prioritize what it can do and when, and that’s led to the dev team not having the resources to do things like “completely overhauling Synthesis or creating an entirely new type of one-month race,” Wilson said. It’s also led to a lack of communication on these short-term issues, which Wilson apologizes for. He hopes to “find a good balance between addressing immediate concerns and making the long-term improvements the game needs.” A Q&A, to be posted later this week, should help on that front.
Wilson also brought up that boogeyman that’s been all the talk these days in the gaming industry: crunch. “I will not run this company that way,” Wilson said, saying that there is “inevitably a bit of optional paid overtime near league releases,” but that PoE developers as a whole enjoy “great work/life balance.” That keeps the team fresh, Wilson said, though it can mean that features aren’t implemented as quickly as they could be. That’s usually the trade-off that has to be made, and for a game as cyclical as Path of Exile, it’s probably an even tougher choice than usual.