Every year on April 1st, the Internet is flooded with jokes from the gaming industry, to the point that gamers loudly expressing their irritation has become a tradition unto itself. But while most developers are content to merely tease new game modes, Grinding Gear Games took things a step further.
In a post of its forum, the Path of Exile dev announced that it would be changing the direction of its popular action RPG.
“Based on community feedback, we are announcing that we have abandoned the Action RPG genre to focus on what players really want. Path of Exile is being replaced by PATH OF EXILE: ROYALE, a 100-person free-for-all battle royale game.”
What sets Grinding Gear Games’ joke apart from the rest is that the developer actually went ahead and made it. The last thing that appears in the launch video is even a line of text reassuring players, “This is actually happening.” Patch 3.2.2, which launched today, renames the game to Path of Exile: Royale and unlocks the battle royale mode.
Upon starting a match, characters are frozen in place until at least 20 players enter, then another 30 seconds elapses to allow up to 100 players to join. It then turns into your typical every-player-for-themselves battle royale, complete with the standard shrinking play area. At the end of each match, the survivor will earn a “Rhoa Dinner” to display in their player housing — Rhoas being bird-like monsters, the game’s closest approximation of chickens.
Of course, the mode differs from most battle royales games in a couple of ways, most notably in its inclusion of Path of Exile’s wildly flexible skill system and the fact that players are fighting monsters as well as each other. Players seem to be enjoying the mode quite a bit, judging from the amount of posts of Grinding Gear Games’ forum and subreddit calling for the mode to be made permanent. There’s no word yet from the dev about whether it will stick around, but either way it’s impressive for a joke that, according to the launch video, only took “one day of development.”