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Three Revolutionary Features - Path of Exile 2 Interview

We chatted with Christopher Laferriere from Grinding Gear Games about all the big changes coming in this ARPG sequel.

Audio transcription

"Alright, we are in LA for the Summer Game Fest and we are at Level Infinite's booth to take a look, another look, at Path of Exile 2, which, you know, to me felt a little bit overwhelming.
But what you guys are introducing are three features, three, that are really enticing to me, are really, are gonna make the game more welcoming to me."

"We can talk about controller support, couch co-op, and improved tutorials. Which one would you like to talk first? Thank you so much for joining us.
Well, I would say the newest, shiniest thing that we've been showing off here in LA for the first time is the controller support for the second game.
There's been a lot of effort put into, like, individual skills to get the targeting to feel right, as well as more global things, like changing the way that the character can move while shooting at the same time."

"Or, you know, just, honestly, like, fundamental things about the game have changed in subtle ways in order to make controller support as well as WASD controls on mouse and keyboard feel good.
And I think it's been an overall benefit to the game.
And you also, that, that not only means that you can control the characters in a different way, but you also had to come up with, you know, menu features and so that it feels more console-y."

"Yeah, absolutely. As well as probably the biggest individual thing is, so we have couch co-op mode, where you can play with two people on the same device and the same machine, same screen.
So we had to solve how will the camera work for that. How will the menus, as you said.
So you can actually have a menu, like a smaller version of any given menu open at any time for both characters at once."

"You know, you could both have the skill screen up or both have the socket gems screen up, that sort of thing.
And then even more weird, subtle little things like how is the stash going to work and, you know, all sorts of details that I could probably bore someone with.
But it's a lot of back-end work that goes into making it actually function."

"Yeah, and of course we'll talk about the Ranger in a little bit, which makes a lot of sense with the controller support.
But first let's talk about the two controllers couch co-op feature that you guys have, which is not only local but also online.
So we can play 2-2-2 playing cooperatively with two controllers.
Yeah, so we still have a maximum party of six players, but locally you can play with two people together."

"And then those people, you know, who are locally playing together can then join a party with other people who are online, who might also be in the same situation.
So you're going to have a very large variety of different configurations of players, which I'm sure makes it hard for our network guys.
But it's worth it for the players.
Yeah, and it's really good for me to have someone who is really into the genre to play along with me on the same couch."

"And then we have that, we have the controller, I'm going to feel like home.
And other than that, you guys have a better tutorial experience.
How did you guys work on that and what can you tell us about that?
It's a lot of iteration."

"You know, we've done four, maybe five first-time user tests now where we specifically ask questionnaires to people who are applying.
Like, how many hours do you have in Path of Exile?
How many hours do you have in video games in general?
How many hours do you have in ARPGs?
And we're trying to find people at all sorts of different skill levels in order to see where the game fails for them."

"So, you know, maybe for someone it's as simple as it's not clear enough how to equip a skill gem and actually use it, which is pretty important.
And then for someone else it might be, you know, boss fights are confusing or the area layout is confusing, any number of things.
And you really can't find that out until you get people's hands on the game and actually trying it."

"And then it's, you know, the process of going back through all of that feedback and footage and making changes where needed.
Right, let's talk classes.
You have a newly announced class, which is the Witch, and we've mentioned the Ranger.
Let's start with the Witch."

"What can you tell us about her, its variants, and how can players expect to play with her summoning abilities?
So, yeah, Witch is sort of your classic summoner.
And we've expanded on the minion types quite a bit from the first game.
So, you know, in PoE 1, just as an example, Raise Skeleton."

"You can raise skeletons and they hit things, and that's about the extent of the skill.
Sometimes they dash to things, that's about it.
Whereas in PoE 2 we do still have fairly basic Skeletal Warriors, but then there's also Skeletal Snipers, which will shoot bow and arrow.
There's Skeletal Arsonists, which throw firebombs and can explode your own minions to make them do damage."

"There's Skeletal Clerics, which can revive your minions and heal them, and there's a few more.
So it's quite extensive, and we also wanted to make the summoner playstyle slightly more active in some ways.
So the majority of minions, not literally every single one, but the majority of minions have something called a Command skill.
So as an example, the Skeletal Arsonist that I mentioned earlier, if you have a minion that's low on life, a little indicator will appear above that minion, assuming you have an Arsonist."

"And then you can command your Arsonist to explode the minion that's low on life, doing a bunch of damage to everything around it.
And pretty much every Skeleton variant except the Warrior that I just listed there has its own Command skill.
We're now seeing the star map, as I call it. Yeah, which were the two variants for the Witch?
We have Sorceress and Witch. And actually one of the other fundamental differences that comes about of the fact that we have the two variants of the class, is the start of the passive tree is slightly different depending on which variant you pick."

"And that is going to be hard for some people to plan around potentially, making their third-party tools outside of the game.
But it makes the game better, so it's worth it.
Okay, let's then take a look at the Ranger. It was recently revealed, not just today-ish.
But what can you tell us about her? We've seen her playing around, it feels great with the controller."

"How do you play with the Ranger? What's the playstyle?
So Ranger is a... There's a few different toolkits that we have for her.
So there's a poison-oriented set of skills that she'll grow toxic plants with her arrows.
So she'll fire an arrow in the air and where it lands, it grows a plant that grasps vines onto enemies and poisons them."

"And you have a shot that'll fire off a caustic cloud that poisons things inside of it.
Or you can go a more elemental-oriented route.
She has lightning arrow, which when it hits an enemy will chain lightning to nearby enemies.
Escape shot fires a freezing arrow at the ground that explodes as you jump backwards as well."

"And there's like 17 skills, so I could go on for a while, but you get the idea.
She's all about the bow. What are the variants?
And this specific additional skill that you told me about that is a bit more as a sniper, if I'm correct?
There is... Well, we do actually have the snipe skill itself, which is a charged bow attack."

"So you have to channel it for a little while.
And it has a timing element to it, so it'll flash at a certain point.
And if you release then, it does a guaranteed crit.
So for someone who's skilled enough at the game to find an opening to use that and also time it correctly, it rewards you with quite a lot of damage."

"And the variants where?
So you can play as either the Ranger or the Huntress.
The Huntress we've shown a little while ago now.
We don't have quite as much later game footage on the Huntress, but she's spear and javelin oriented, so she throws spears or stabs things with them."

"Fantastic. What can you tell us about the status of the project?
You guys are going to release on beta later this year?
We are aiming for the end of the year as far as beta is concerned.
There's likely to be some rounds of alpha tests before then, but I don't have any details on those."

"Then for full release, we'll determine that in the course of the beta.
Do you know if the beta is going to be just on PC or console also?
I am not certain on that.
I know that for full release we're aiming for a simultaneous release on PC and console, but the beta I'm not sure on."

"As far as access to the beta as well, we'll be selling supporter packs, which I'm not sure the price point on them yet.
It'll be either $30 or $60, and those will come with a key.
As well as that, if someone is a long-time supporter of the game, then there's a chance they'll just get sent a code."

"Can we expect to see you guys at Gamescom once again?
I hope so.
Thank you so much for your time.
It's above my head whether we go."

"Thank you so much. Good luck. It looks fantastic already.
It plays very smooth, so you guys are almost there.
That's good to hear. It was nice talking to you."

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