Path of Exile is arriving on Xbox One 24 August 2017, but perhaps more importantly the game has launched in China today. The launch has taken two years to set up, and the Chinese open beta will have all of the content from the Western version with some inevitable changes.
Grinding Gear Games have worked with the Tencent, the planet's largest media company, for two years in order to bring Path of Exile to the Chinese market. The free-to-play dungeon crawler seems like a perfect fit for the average Chinese gamer, who prefers microtransaction-heavy MMORPG's over the AAA releases more prominent in the West, according to more statistics and market research than one can shake a stick at.
"We haven't really spoken about it much in our Western news, but the Chinese launch is going to be a big thing for Path of Exile worldwide. In combination with the 3.0.0 launch a couple of weeks ago and the Xbox One launch on Thursday, it's certainly a big month for Path of Exile launches", Grinding Gear Games wrote in a blog post.
The release festivities look somewhat surreal. Launch celebrations were held in a church adapted for the purpose.
Launching a game in China also means adapting promotional material to the target audience, and if you have a look at the trailer above it becomes glaring how different tastes, perceptions and expectations between Eastern and Western gamers are when looking at what is essentially just a localised version of the same game.
It isn't yet clear what the exact differences between the two versions of the game will be, since instances of censorship of certain visuals catering to Chinese tastes were controversial in the past - for example, the way some undead characters had to be entirely redesigned before being allowed onto gaming machines of the country in World of Warcraft.
I haven't seen a single skeleton of any sort browsing through the footage. This may seem like a superficial change, but more may be going on than my rusty Chinese can discern.