Path of Exile: The Story of 3 Young Men Made a Great Game by Imitating Diablo 2
From left to right: Jonathan, Erik, Chris
It all started in a garage, not because it's cool but because they didn't have much money. The story was they couldn't afford to buy a pizza some times. Erik Olofsson graduated an industrial design and he was the artist in the team. He released an artwork album (see the image below), earned some money to fund the project, and buy them pizza.
One of the artwork in Erik's album and it has been made into a map in PoE
Back in 2012 when they ran out of money they were inspired by some of the successful example of games on Kickstarter and started their own crowdfunding. They released supporter packs. Unlike today's crownfunding programs that give a wide variety of rewards, Path of Exile supporter packs included the following things.
Obviously they invested almost every penny into game development. It's said that in the early days the gifts (like greeting cards) from Grinding Gear Games were all handcrafted by the employee themselves.
Thanks to the support of players, Grinding Gear Games is now a world-class studio and has over 100 employees. One of the criteria to join the company is you need to love Path of Exile. Even an employee in customer service team plays thousands of hours of Path of Exile. But the truth is, in Grinding Gear Games, with thousands of hours of PoE time you are still like a new player.
An artist of PoE, 21-year-old, has played several thousands of hours of PoE, and she likes The Thing
The company's name clearly tells what kind of game Path of Exile is — grinding for gear. While Diablo 2 can't release content update regularly today and Diablo 3 isn't that Diablo-ish like Diablo 2, Path of Exile stood out and seized the players who loved Diablo 2 and its experience.
In their own vision, Diablo 2's talent tree should be more diversified, so they made over 1300 different talent points for Path of Exile. Everyone in Grinding Gear Games is hardcore player, and everyone knows how players feel about pay-to-win. So they made today's economy system in PoE.
Path of Exile has over 12 million players worldwide now and with the game coming out in China soon, the number will increase greatly again.
Related: Path of Exile Is a Hell-Like Game Developed at Paradise