This evening Grinding Gear Games revealed that their massively successful free to play ARPG Path of Exile is coming to the Xbox One.
As PC players of POE, we wanted to find out how the Xbox One version will impact the PC POE gaming community and PC version of the game. Grinding Gear Games’ CEO Chris Wilson answered a few questions to explain how the Xbox One version will differ and how the addition of a console version should benefit PC players.
PCI: The news of Path of Exile coming to the Xbox One is big news but some PC gamers are concerned about the move. So first of all, how are the realms going to function? PC and console players will be separate correct?
Chris Wilson: Yes, the two player bases play on separate realms. This is because the game functions differently in the two versions. For example, the number of flask slots and how some skills may be controlled.
PCI: Some players are concerned that development time on fixing outstanding issues with the PC version will be soaked up by console development. How are you working this at GGG?
Chris Wilson: The console developers are a separate group hired for that purpose.
Console development has so far significantly improved the PC version. The game runs massively faster (roughly 400% of where we were before we started the console version) because of the need to run on the console hardware.
PCI: For future content updates, are you going to be aiming for simultaneously timed releases on console and PC?
Chris Wilson: We will make every effort to launch simultaneously but we won’t delay PC releases if there is a small delay due to XBox certification or something.
PCI: How will the patch updates work? Shifting a patch out on PC is not a problem but console patches have to go through a process with Microsoft. Will this delay PC updates or will patches roll out quicker on PC?
Chris Wilson: PC patches will be released as soon as they are ready. We will not delay PC patches. Microsoft has improved its certification process over time so that patches can be faster than they were in the last console generation.
PCI: For future updates, how are you going to tackle balance. A console is a lot less flexible so how are classes, items etc going to be handled moving forwards? Will everything be balanced with both versions in mind?
Chris Wilson: The two versions can have separate balance. We’re attempting to use PC balance as much as possible on console, unless there’s a good reason not to.
PCI: Some players on PC are wondering if controller support will now be added to the PC version. Will it?
Chris Wilson: Controller support will not be added to the PC version. The changes we had to make to allow the game to be controlled by a controller make it a different game. This is an example of our commitment to not changing the PC version due to the existence of the console one.
PCI: Path of Exile supporters are passionate about the game and not all will be pleased to see money being put into a console version. Can you reassure them that their support it as valuable as ever to keep the PC version expanding and how has the Xbox version been funded?
Chris Wilson: Almost all of the money spent on the console version has improved the performance of the PC one also. The revenue generated by the console version will be spent expanding the game with new acts and other content for both versions.
PCI: As far as technical improvements are concerned in future updates, do you see the limitations of the Xbox version having any impact on the PC experience at all?
Chris Wilson: Absolutely. They have and will continue to result in performance improvements that affect the PC version as well.
The Path of Exile Xbox One version will be coming out later this year and it sounds like PC gamers should not be concerned about the news.