Like so many other games, Path of Exile 2 is being slowed down by the pandemic. First announced back in 2019, some ARPG fans were hoping for Grinding Gear's Path of Exile sequel to launch this year, but studio head Chris Wilson now says that's unlikely.
Talking to PC Gamer, Wilson explained how travel restrictions are stifling the studio's growth and slowing the development of Path of Exile 2. "I hate to blame COVID for stuff, but that is a big part of it at the moment," Wilson said. "We have had difficulty hiring internationally because the borders to New Zealand are closed, so that has curtailed the exponential growth of our asset creation team a little bit. The progress of development hasn't been as fast as we wanted, and so our goal is to bash as hard as we can during 2021 on Path of Exile 2 stuff and see how much headway we make. Trying to get as much done as possible, and that'll give us a better idea of a good release date we can estimate, which should be towards the end of the year."
PC Gamer then asked if a 2022 launch sounds reasonable. "Yeah, I think that's accurate," Wilson replied.
Of course, Path of Exile 2 is more of an expansion of the first game than a traditional sequel. "Path of Exile 2 is a new seven-act storyline that is available alongside the original Path of Exile 1 campaign," Grinding Gear explained back when it was announced. "Both the old and new storyline lead to the same shared Atlas endgame. Path of Exile 2 retains all expansion content that has been created over the last six years and introduces a new skill system, ascendancy classes, engine improvements and more."
And despite work being done on the next installment, Grinding Gear is still releasing expansions for the base game. The upcoming Echoes of the Atlas expansion, launching January 15, adds a bunch of new endgame content including new map types, boss battles, and skill trees.
We ranked Path of Exile as one of the best free games to play right now.