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Path of Exile 2 director speaks on Diablo 4's release - "it confirmed other choices I already believed in"

When asked what the PoE 2 team learned from Diablo 4's launch, the answer was not much!

Diablo 4
Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment

Path of Exile 2 is the next big ARPG coming to the world, and there's a lot of excitement around it! But, when you're talking about the next big release from Grinding Gear Games, there's an obvious elephant in the room: Diablo 4.

Speaking to VG247 during Summer Game Fest 2024, I sat down with game director Jonathan Rogers about what learnings the team has taken from the launch and continuous updates of Diablo 4. His response? The team learned little, but the game did cement some of Rogers' pre-existing beliefs. The most pressing of these, the merits of an open world in ARPGs.

"I don't think there's anything we directly responded to when it comes to Diablo 4," Rogers stated, "more than anything it confirmed other choices I always believed in. Like, I've always been skeptical of open world in video games, I know they can work in certain things, but for an action RPG in particular I'm not really a fan. I've always imagined that wouldn't work, and I certainly didn't love that element of Diablo 4."

"The dungeons I think are much better than the open world, and I think the open world is kind of holding it back, so that cemented that opinion for me".

It's an opinion we share with Rogers! In our Diablo 4 review back with its launch, we noted that a lot of the wind was taken out of the game's sails through the inclusion of open world areas. While the freedom to explore was nice, some of that structure unavoidably fell by the wayside.

Following this, Rogers noted that for the most part, a lot of the big changes and improvements in Path of Exile 2 - some shared by Diablo 4 - were already present. Thus the lack of learnings. "Overall there wasn't much we needed to learn from D4. The thing I often say about competitors is it's not so much you look at a competitor and copy something they do, you look and note a new minimum standard that players will expect that this is doing. What things here are setting the standard for playability that we need to make sure we're meeting? If there's stuff we can learn from Diablo 4 then that's good."

"For Diablo 4 I don't think there was much there. We were already doing a lot of the stuff we needed to do in that regard. So they've got a dodge roll obviously, but we decided to add that before that came out, so that wasn't a response. That's just a modern action game thing."

The game, upon its release on PC and consoles, will inevitably invite comparrison. While ultimately it can only be a good thing for players that two healthy competitors can duke it out for love and attention, it'll be interesting to see where each games manages to trump the other.

This isn't our only article from this Jonathan Rogers interview, as he also talked to us about the PlayStation Plus requirement and microtransaction carry-over for Path of Exile 2. Give that a read, and check back in soon for even more interesting insight from the chat. The next piece is a big one!

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