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Apex Legends

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Apex Legends
Apex legends cover.jpg
Developer(s)Respawn Entertainment
Publisher(s)Electronic Arts
Director(s)Chad Grenier[1]
Producer(s)Ben Brinkman
Designer(s)Jason McCord
Artist(s)Robert Taube
Ryan Lastimosa
Jung Park
Writer(s)Mohammad Alavi
Composer(s)Stephen Barton
SeriesTitanfall
EngineSource
(Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Switch)
Unreal Engine 4
(Android, iOS)
Platform(s)
Release
  • Windows, PS4, Xbox One
  • February 4, 2019
  • Switch
  • March 9, 2021
  • Android, iOS
  • 2022
Genre(s)Battle royale, first-person hero shooter
Mode(s)Multiplayer

Apex Legends is a free-to-play battle royale-hero shooter game developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts. It was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in February 2019, and for Nintendo Switch in March 2021. A mobile version of the game specially designed for touchscreens titled Apex Legends Mobile has also been announced which is scheduled to be fully released by 2022 on Android and iOS. The game supports cross-platform play.

Before the match, players form into two- or three-player squads, and select from pre-designed characters with distinctive abilities, known as "Legends". The game has two gameplay modes. In "Battle Royale", up to 20 three-person squads or 30 two-person duos land on an island and search for weapons and supplies before attempting to defeat all other players in combat. The available play area on the island shrinks over time, forcing players to keep moving or else find themselves outside the play area which can be fatal. The final team alive wins the round. In "Arenas", players form into three-player squads and fight against another squad in a 3v3 team deathmatch over a series of rounds to determine the winner of the match. Teams win when their team has at least 3 points and is 2 points ahead.

Apex Legends is set in the same science fiction universe as Respawn Entertainment's Titanfall series. Work on the game began around late 2016, though the project remained a secret right up until its launch. The game's release in 2019 came as a surprise, as until that point it had been assumed that Respawn Entertainment was working on a third installment to the Titanfall franchise, the studio's previous major game. Apex Legends received positive reviews from critics, who praised its gameplay, progression system, and fusion of elements from various genres. Some considered it a worthy competitor to other battle royale games. Apex Legends surpassed 25 million players by the end of its first week, and 50 million within its first month. By April 2021, it had approximately 100 million players.

Gameplay

A gameplay screenshot showing the game's ping system.

Apex Legends is an online multiplayer battle royale game featuring squads of three players using pre-made characters with distinctive abilities, called "Legends", similar to those of hero shooters.[2] Alternate modes have been introduced allowing for single and for two-player squads since the game's release.[3][4] The game is free-to-play and monetized through microtransactions and loot boxes, which allow the player to spend both real money and in-game currency on cosmetic items, such as outfits for the Legends and new colors for weapons.[5][6]

Each match generally features twenty teams of three-player squads. Players can join friends in a squad or can be matched randomly with other players. Before the match, each player on the squad selects one of the 18 playable characters (as of season 10), with the exception that no character may be selected more than once by a squad. Each character in the squad has a unique design, personality, and abilities that provide different playstyles to the team. All teams are then placed on an aircraft that passes over the game map. One player in each squad is the jumpmaster, selecting when the squad should skydive out of the aircraft and where to land with the concurrence of the other squad members. However, players are free to deviate from the squad's path.

Once on the ground, the squad can scavenge for weapons, armor, and other equipment that is scattered around buildings, or in crates randomly distributed around the map, while keeping an eye out for other squads. Apex Legends includes a nonverbal communication "ping system" which allows players to use their game controller to communicate to their squad certain directions, weapon locations, enemies, and suggested strategies.[7] While the game offers movement options similar to other shooters, it includes some of the gameplay features of previous Titanfall games, such as the ability to climb over short walls, slide down inclined surfaces, and use zip-lines to traverse an area quickly.[8]

Over time, the game's safe zone will reduce in size around a randomly-selected point on the map; players outside the safe zone take damage and may die if they do not reach the safe zone in time. This also confines squads to smaller spaces to force encounters. The last squad with any members left alive is crowned the "Apex Champions" of that match. Players are awarded in-game currency based on their squad's placement as well as experience points. Players who become knocked down in the course of a game can be revived by their squadmates. Should a player be killed completely, they can still be resurrected if their team member(s) collect their respawn banner, which appears at the place where they died, and bring it to one of several beacons on the island. The banner, however, must be collected within a time limit, before expiring and fully eliminating the player.[2]

Season 9 introduced a new permanent mode named "Arena". In this mode, players form into three-player squads and fight against another squad in a 3v3 team deathmatch over a series of rounds to determine the winner of the match. Teams win when their team has at least 3 points and is 2 points ahead. Additionally, if a game should drag on to round 9 (where both teams have 4 points) a final sudden death round begins. Respawn stated this scoring system "prevents total blowout games from dragging on for too long" and also "lets more competitive games keep the heat going for longer".[9] Rather than skydiving onto the map and gathering equipment like in the battle royale mode, players spawn in a "shop" where they can purchase equipment and charges of their Legend's abilities using materials earned in the previous rounds to prepare for the next fight. This variation of the game borrows mechanics from other shooters such as Counter Strike and Valorant.[10] The mode is the first permanent deviation away from the battle royale format.

Seasons

Each new season is intended to bring with it the release of a new playable character, usually new weapons and purchasable cosmetic items.[11]

The game's first season started on March 19, 2019. Associated with seasons are time-limited battle passes that reward players with new cosmetic items, should they complete in-game challenges during the season.[12][13][14] Alongside new cosmetic items, seasons can also bring changes to the map and additional gameplay elements.[15]

Season Title Period Description
1 Wild Frontier March 19, 2019 – June 18, 2019 The first season of Apex Legends introduced a new playable character known as Octane and included several bug fixes and quality of life improvements, including adjustments to so-called "hitboxes" (a predefined 'damageable' zone which is unique to each legend, based on their size and shape) and also unique skills of the game's characters. Season 1 also brought with it the game's first battle pass and a large number of new cosmetic items.[16]
2 Battle Charge July 2, 2019 – October 1, 2019[17] With season 2, the developers introduced another playable character called Wattson and also re-designed the layout of the game's island. Following an explosion (shown in the season's trailer), roaming alien wildlife, known as leviathans and flyers, have been attracted to the island and destroyed large areas, rendering parts of the map unrecognizable from the previous season.[15] Season 2 also released a new weapon and introduced a new ranked mode of play, allowing players of a similar skill to play against each other, and adjusting a player's ranking based on their game performance.[18]
3 Meltdown October 1, 2019 – February 4, 2020[19] A new legend named Crypto is introduced who has tried to rig the Apex games. A new weapon known as the Charge Rifle is added and changes to Ranked will be made. The season also comes with a brand new battle pass. A brand new map, named "World's Edge" is also introduced, which has players fighting through volcanic and frozen landscapes. The map also includes a train that travels throughout World's Edge. The season also changes up the meta by removing certain attachments and introducing new ones whilst changing what current items can do.
4 Assimilation February 4, 2020 – May 12, 2020[20] A new legend named Revenant is introduced, a Simulacrum with the memories of his human self. A new sniper weapon known as the Sentinel is added. World's Edge is devastated by a Harvester that has appeared in the middle of the map, creating lava faults and changing the environment. Major changes to ranked were made, introducing a new tier known as "Master" tier, while the Apex Predator tier is for the top 500 players on each platform, meaning players can be pushed out of it.[21]
5 Fortune's Favor May 12, 2020 – August 18, 2020[22] A new legend known as Loba is introduced, a thief with the ability to steal loot from nearby areas and teleport. Loba is out for revenge against Revenant, a simulacrum hitman who killed her parents. Ranked Series 4 is largely identical to Series 3 and reconnect is added which allows players to rejoin a session if they disconnect. A new "quest" system is also introduced, which allows players to fight in PvE missions either solo or with a squad to earn unique rewards. A new battle pass is also introduced.[23] Respawn Entertainment announced they would be expanding their Apex servers to the Middle East.[24] Skull Town and Thunderdome have also been destroyed.
6 Boosted August 18, 2020 – November 4, 2020 A new legend named Rampart is introduced, a gun modder who can emplace a minigun which she calls "Sheila", and provide amped cover for her team. World's Edge is updated with new points of interest built by Hammond Industries: Launch Site, Countdown, and Staging.[25] A new battle pass is added, which includes a new cosmetic reward of "Holo-Sprays", a new crafting mechanic allows players to upgrade their gear with materials found around the map, and the fan-favorite weapon from Titanfall 2, the Volt SMG, also makes its debut. Additionally, all normal armor (except gold armor) is removed from the game.[26]
7 Ascension November 4, 2020 – February 2, 2021 A new legend named Horizon is introduced, an astrophysicist who was trapped on the edge of a black hole for 87 real-time years. A brand new map, Olympus, is also introduced, known as a "city in the clouds". The new map also allows players to traverse it using "Tridents", a form of vehicle for the whole squad. A new battle pass is added, community "clubs" are also added to allow players to meet other like-minded players, and the launch of Season 7 also brings Apex Legends to Steam. The season also introduced a map rotation to the game’s normal mode, with Kings Canyon becoming unplayable for the season as a result.[27][28]
8 Mayhem February 2, 2021 - May 4, 2021 A new legend named Fuse is introduced, a psychopath who joined the Apex Games after his planet, Salvo, joined forces with the Syndicate. A new gun called the 30-30 Repeater is introduced, a lever-action rifle. The ranked system has received multiple changes, including increasing the number of people in the Apex Predator rank per platform from 500 to 750 players.[29] A new battle pass is introduced, and Kings Canyon has also been re-introduced into the map rotation, albeit changed from its previous appearance in the rotation.[30] These changes include adding a previously unplayable area in the north.[31] A golden rarity of an extended magazine has also been introduced, which automatically reloads your holstered weapon after a few seconds.[32]
9 Legacy May 4, 2021 – August 3, 2021 A new legend named Valkyrie is introduced, the daughter of known pilot Viper from Titanfall 2. A new gun called the Bocek Bow is introduced, which shoots arrows instead of the usual bullet types. A new battle pass is introduced, and Olympus becomes infested with natural plant growths and roots. The new season also introduces a new mode called "Arenas".[33][34]
10 Emergence August 3, 2021 - Present A new legend named Seer is introduced, who was shunned by his community as a result of a conceived bad omen. A new gun called the Rampage LMG is introduced. A new battle pass is introduced, and World's Edge gets updated, with multiple locations being destroyed as a result of the Harvester. The new season also introduces a Ranked version of Arenas.[35]
11 Escape Begins November 2, 2021 A new legend named Ash is introduced, a simulacrum and one of the main antagonists from Titanfall 2. A new weapon, the C.A.R. SMG is introduced, which is a gun originally from Titanfall 2. A new Battle Royale map is introduced, the name of the map is currently unknown. A new battle pass is introduced, along with a new Ranked season with tweaks to how the Ranked system works.[36][37]

Events

In addition to the season contents, Apex Legends features limited-time events. These events offer unique, limited-time cosmetics themed to the event (for example, in the case of the Holo-Day Bash, Christmas-themed outfits) that can be earned in-game.[38] Events also provide unique limited-time game modes (such as shotguns and snipers only). Some events also introduced changes to the current season map with a new point of interest (known as a "Town Takeover"), which is themed around one of the legends.

Title Season Period Description
Legendary Hunt 1 June 4, 2019 – June 18, 2019 First limited-time event. Introduced event collectible items, and the first limited-time game mode: Elite Queue. To enter this game mode, one must have made it to the top 5 in their previous match.[39]
Iron Crown 2 August 13, 2019 – August 27, 2019. The event introduced the first Town Takeover in the form of Octane's Gauntlet. The new area replaced West Settlements and is themed around the legend Octane. The event also featured a limited-time Solo mode.[40]
Voidwalker 2 September 3, 2019 – September 17, 2019 The event is themed after the legend Wraith. A new point of interest known as Singh Labs was added to Kings Canyon. A limited-time game mode was available: "Armed And Dangerous" (limited armor with Shotguns and Snipers only).[41]
Fight or Fright (2019) 3 October 15, 2019 – November 5, 2019 The "Shadowfall" mode is similar to the Solo mode, but with a twist: players that die become a part of the "Shadow Squad". These players lose their abilities and have reduced health while having increased speed and strength. When there are 10 Legends left, they'll automatically become a team that must escape to an evacship in the current circle. The Shadow Squad has to either kill all of the Legends or make sure that none of them make it to the evac ship in time.[42]
Holo-Day Bash (2019) 3 December 12, 2019 – January 7, 2020 The "Winter Express" mode is a domination-style game, with squads dropping in with full gear, attempting to capture the Winter Express.[43] A new location, Mirage Voyage, was added alongside the event.[44]
Grand Soirée 3 January 14, 2020 – January 28, 2020 The event had 7 modes that lasted for two days each. The modes are (in order of appearance): "Gold Rush Duos" (duos but all weapons are legendary), "LIVE.DIE.LIVE" (dead players in alive squads automatically respawn each time the ring closes), "Third-Person Mode", "Always Be Closing" (the ring constantly closes into a small area), "Armed and Dangerous on World's Edge", "Kings Canyon After Dark", and "DUMMIE's Big Day" (all Legends are replaced by Dummies that have abilities that are different to the Legends, albeit with them all having the same ones).[45][46]
System Override 4 March 3, 2020 – March 17, 2020 The "Deja Loot" mode removes all randomly-generated events from the game, meaning all loot drops (excluding Care Packages) and ring locations (which change daily) will be the same every single match. The event also introduced Evo Shields, shields that can be upgraded by dealing damage to enemy players. It was introduced in Deja Loot and was added to all modes after the event ended.[47][48]
The Old Ways 4 April 7, 2020 – April 21, 2020 The event is themed after the legend Bloodhound. Bloodhound's Trials were added to Kings Canyon. There was no limited-time game mode during this event. However, the Duos game mode was added permanently, as well as a map rotation so players can play on Kings Canyon, World's Edge, or Olympus depending on the time of day and season.[49][27]
Lost Treasures 5 June 23, 2020 – July 7, 2020 The "Armed and Dangerous Evolved" mode based on the previous event of similar name forces players to use shotguns and snipers, in addition to all armor being unavailable to loot, forcing players to use an Evo Shield they get at the start of the match. A new item was introduced, the Mobile Respawn Beacon, which allows players to respawn their teammates in most areas of the map. It was added to all modes after the event's conclusion.[50][51]
Aftermarket 6 October 6, 2020 – October 20, 2020 The limited-time game mode "Flashpoint" is a game mode where no healing items spawn on the map. The primary way to heal is by getting to "Flash Points", which are massive zones where players can auto-heal when they are out of combat. A healing kit ("Phoenix Kit") can also be crafted, but costs crafting materials that are found in certain areas of the map.[52]
Fight or Fright (2020) 6 October 22, 2020 – November 3, 2020 The "Shadow Royale" mode is a hybrid of the normal Trios mode and the previous Fight or Fright mode, "Shadowfall". Like Shadowfall, dead players become "Shadows" that lose their abilities and have lower health, but have faster speed and more powerful melee attacks. However, unlike Shadowfall, they also get the ability to wall-run and will permanently die if all Legends in their squad are killed.[53]
Holo-Day Bash (2020) 7 December 1, 2020 - January 4, 2021 The event reintroduces the “Winter Express” game mode with some changes, such as adjusted spawn locations and the inclusion of a new station, Derailment.[54]
Fight Night 7 January 5, 2021 - January 19, 2021[55] The "Airdrop Escalation" mode is a ”takeover” of the standard game modes, where Supply Drops spawn at an increased pace in addition to the loot in them increasing in rarity over time. Pathfinder also gets a Town Takeover, where players fight each other exclusively with melee attacks.[56]
Anniversary 8 February 9, 2021 - March 2, 2021[57] The "Locked and Loaded" takeover has all players start with low-tier gear. However, only loot from above that tier (excluding scopes) spawns on the map. Additionally, various ”fan-favorite“ skins have returned with a new coat of paint.[58]
Chaos Theory 8 March 9, 2021 - March 23, 2021 The "Ring Fury" takeover has a various number of "Ring Flares" spawn in the ring that deal damage to players equal to the current ring's damage. The event also introduces several new mechanics to the game, including "Heat Shields" (used to protect players from Ring Flares or the ring itself), a "Survival Slot" (where you can store "situational utilities", aka the Mobile Respawn Beacon and Heat Shields), and escalation takeovers (takeovers where the mode receives various changes consistently throughout the event). The Heat Shields and Survival Slot were permanently added to the game after the event's conclusion. A Town Takeover for Caustic was also added.[59]
War Games 8 April 13, 2021 - April 27, 2021 Similar to the Grand Soirée event, the War Games event features multiple modes that change throughout the event. The modes are (in order of appearance): "Second Chance" (every player gets one free respawn per match), "Ultra Zones" (each match has multiple "Hot Zones" - a special type of area that contains higher-quality loot over all other locations in the map[60] - instead of the usual one, in addition to said Hot Zones being in Flashpoints), "Auto Banners" (banner cards are automatically retrieved), "Killing Time" (the ring timer shortens every time a player is killed), and "Armor Regen".[61]
Genesis 9 June 29, 2021 - July 13, 2021 The "Legacy Maps" takeover changes Kings Canyon and World’s Edge back to their original state.[62]
Thrillseekers 9 July 13, 2021 - August 3, 2021 "Thrillseekers" is the first Arena-focused event and adds the "Overflow" map. The event does not contain a limited-time mode.[63]
Evolution 10 September 14, 2021 - September 28, 2021[64] The "Arenas Extravaganza" takeover - the first takeover for Arenas - provides various upgraded weapons at discounted prices. In addition, Rampart gets a Town Takeover.[65]
Monsters Within 10 October 12, 2021 - November 2, 2021 2021’s Halloween event re-introduces the "Shadow Royale" mode for the event’s final week, and a new Arenas map, "Encore", is added.[66]

In addition to these major events, there are occasional minor events which only introduce cosmetics available to purchase (such as "Summer of Plunder"), or limited-time game modes (without limited-time collectible items), such as the Battle Armor mode (April 28, 2020 to May 12, 2020).[67]

Characters

Apex Legends has a diverse cast of 18 characters. Many of the character designs are based on Titanfall.

  • Bloodhound
  • Gibraltar
  • Lifeline
  • Pathfinder
  • Wraith
  • Bangalore
  • Caustic
  • Mirage
  • Octane
  • Wattson
  • Crypto
  • Revenant
  • Loba
  • Rampart
  • Horizon
  • Fuse
  • Valkyrie
  • Seer

Respawn also deceived their player base when they announced a character named Forge to be the season 4 Legend; he was killed by Revenant in the "Stories from the Outlands" video Up Close and Personal.[68]

Development

Developer Respawn Entertainment had previously developed Titanfall (2014) and its sequel Titanfall 2 (2016), both of which were published by Electronic Arts (EA) who eventually acquired Respawn Entertainment in 2017.[69]

According to design director Mackey McCandlish, initial design on Apex Legends started before Titanfall 2 had shipped in 2016 and as of 2018 the entire Titanfall team at Respawn Entertainment was working on the project;[70] however, executive producer Drew McCoy stated that work on the game did not begin until the spring of 2017. He also confirmed that the game had approximately 115 developers working on it, making it the studio's most labor-intensive project. Titanfall 2, by way of comparison, had around 85 developers.[71]

According to McCoy, the studio was not sure what their next game would be after completing the post-release support for Titanfall 2, though they knew they wanted to keep making Titanfall games. As with the development of Titanfall 2, the studio broke into several small teams to create "action blocks", small game prototypes that showcase a gameplay element, a weapon, or similar feature of a game that would fit into a Titanfall sequel. One such "action block" was inspired by the success of the battle royale game genre led by PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds; this prototype, which applied gameplay mechanics of previous Titanfall games in a battle royale format, was considered very successful and the studio decided to expand this model.[72] The designers decided that having the pilotable Titans (large mecha) from their previous games would not work well in a battle-royale setting and instead focused on creating strong character classes which felt appropriate for the Titanfall franchise.[73] They also found that some maneuverability features of prior Titanfall titles, such as wall-running, would make gameplay too challenging in a battle royale format, as identifying the direction of threats would be too difficult.[72]

Respawn Entertainment CEO Vince Zampella told VentureBeat that Apex Legends, as a live-service and free-to-play battle-royale game, was a new challenge for the studio and represented a new way for them of developing games. Their design philosophy was focused on "chasing the fun" and designing all the mechanics around team-based play, rather than solo play. The final decision on major design factors, such as the size of the teams, the number of teams and the size of the map, were all based on what felt "most fun" to the developers and were strongly guided by "gut feeling".[74]

Design director Mackey McCandlish also stated that with Apex Legends, they were looking to challenge the conventions of the still relatively young battle-royale genre and to add their studio's unique touch to that class of games. They felt that the choice of three-man squads and a limit of 20 teams gave players on average a greater chance to win and also felt more in line with the type of intimate gameplay they were hoping to achieve. McCandlish claimed that the studio felt the need to create a "defensible space" in the battle-royale mode which could not be easily imitated and that the communication system, the three-man squads, and the smaller playing area were all aligned with this goal.[70]

As part of the development process, the game underwent extensive play-testing to ensure that all elements felt fun and balanced. Collectively the developers spent 100 to 200 hours a day trying out the game, a process which executive producer Drew McCoy called "probably the most important part of development".[71] To refine the game's non-verbal communication system, the studio play-tested the game for a month without the use of voice chat and applied fake names to the play-testers to predict how most players would experience the game.[75]

With the game mostly completed, Respawn's director of brand marketing, Arturo Castro, began working on how the studio would name and market it. Castro recognized that the game featured many elements which players would expect from a Titanfall franchise game, but lacked core elements such as Titans, Pilots and a single-player experience.[72] Additionally, it had already been reported that Respawn was working on Titanfall 3 from a source at the studio.[76] Respawn therefore decided that attempting to market the game as part of the Titanfall series would have been difficult and would risk alienating Titanfall fans. They, therefore, opted to treat the game as a new intellectual property (IP).[72][76] Respawn were also concerned that as they at that time had recently been acquired by EA, players would think that EA had forced them to make a battle royale game.[72] McCoy affirmed that they had to convince Electronic Arts to allow them to make this game: "we decided to make this game. Not to be throwing EA under the bus, but this wasn't the game they were expecting. I had to go to executives, show it to them, and explain it and...not convince but more, 'Hey, trust us! This is the thing you want out of us.' [...] This is a game where we had to say, 'This is what we want to do. Help us get there.'"[71]

Concerned that a standard six-month marketing campaign for the game would have generated negative publicity from disgruntled Titanfall fans, Castro claims they eventually took inspiration from musical artist Beyoncé whose release of her self-titled album came as a surprise to fans—a strategy which proved financially successful.[72][76] Wanting to generate some buzz about this new product before its release, the studio secretly arranged for about 100 social media influencers to travel to their studio to try the game and then instructed them to "tease" news of it on their social media accounts during halftime of the Super Bowl LIII, the day before Apex Legends' formal release.[72] Respawn CEO Vince Zampella felt the approach was "gross", according to Castro, as he found it reminiscent of the infamous Fyre Festival "hype" which later turned out to be a fraudulent event. However, as Apex Legends was already ready for release at this point, Castro felt the approach was an appropriate marketing strategy.[72] Because of the game's performance in terms of player-count and viewership on streaming services, Castro felt vindicated in this decision.[72] This approach was uncharacteristic of any prior EA title.[69]

The game is built using a modified version of Valve Corporation's Source engine; Source had previously been used for Titanfall 2, however for Apex Legends several necessary adjustments to allow for the increased draw distances and the large game map were made. Apex Legends is believed to be pushing at the technological limits of its game engine and as a result, the game compromises on dynamic display resolution, with the quality of the image and frame rate suffering particularly on console versions and on lower-end PC devices.[77]

Prior to launch, McCoy confirmed there were plans to implement cross-platform play to the game in the future, though claimed that game progression and in-game purchases cannot be transferred across systems due to hardware limitations. McCoy has also expressed the desire to eventually bring Apex Legends to iOS, Android, and Nintendo Switch.[78][79]

According to anonymous reports, the Chinese corporation Tencent is working with Electronic Arts to bring Apex Legends to China, as partnering with a local Chinese firm is a requirement for Western media companies wishing to make their products legally available in the country.[80] In January 2020, EA confirmed to investors that it was working with a local partner in order to bring the game to PC in China, though it did not mention the partner by name.[81]

Respawn established a new Vancouver, British Columbia, studio, within the EA Vancouver campus, dedicated to supporting Apex Legends in May 2020.[82]

As part of the June 2020 EA Play presentation, Respawn announced that Apex Legends would be brought to the Steam storefront for Windows players, as well as to the Nintendo Switch by late 2020. Further, the game would support cross-platform play across all supported platforms on these releases.[83] Cross-platform play was introduced into the game with the Aftermarket Collection Event.[52] In a blog post by Respawn in late October 2020, it was revealed that the Steam version will launch on November 4, the same day as the launch of season 7. However, the Nintendo Switch version was delayed to March 9, 2021.[84][85] The Nintendo Switch version of Apex Legends was developed by Panic Button, known for their Switch ports of the DOOM series and Rocket League.[86]

Electronic Arts also confirmed that mobile launches on iOS and Android were in development in collaboration with a Chinese mobile company. The mobile ports are set to release by the end of 2022.[87] In April 2021, Electronic Arts announced that the mobile version of the game would be titled Apex Legends Mobile, and would begin beta testing in the coming months.[88] In July 2021, Apex Legends was hacked by individuals wishing to draw attention to persistent problems with cheating in the Titanfall series that had been unaddressed by Electronic Arts and Respawn. Large banners pointed players of Apex Legends to a website outlining their concerns.[89]

Esports

Shortly after Apex Legends' launch, it was seen as a potential esport competition, and Respawn had anticipated establishing events once the game had been established. As early as March 2019, various esport team sponsors began to assemble Apex Legends teams for these competitions.[90] ESPN launched its EXP program to showcase esports events running alongside other ESPN-managed sporting events. The first such event was the EXP Pro-Am Apex Legends Exhibition, run on July 11, 2019 alongside the 2019 ESPY Awards.[91] An EXP Invitational event with a $150,000 prize pool took place alongside the X Games Minneapolis 2019 from August 1 to 4, 2019. However, as a result of the El Paso and Dayton mass shootings that occurred over that weekend, both ESPN and ABC opted to delay broadcast of the event out of respect for the victims of the shootings.[92]

Respawn and EA announced the Apex Legends Global Series in December 2019, consisting of several online events and twelve live events during 2020 with a total US$3 million prize pool. The Global Series follows a similar approach as Fortnite Battle Royale by using multiple tiers of events to qualify players. Players will qualify for the Global Series through Online Tournaments. Top players and teams from these events will be invited to either regional Challenger events or to global Premier events, where the winners have a chance for a cash payout and invitations to one of the three major events. Three Major events will be held for one hundred teams to accumulate points in the Global Series to vie for placement in the final Major event as well as part of a US$500,000 prize pool. The fourth Major event had up to sixty teams competing for a portion of a US$1 million pool.[93]

Year 2 of the ALGS began in September 2021.[citation needed]

Reception

Upon release, Apex Legends received generally favorable reviews according to the review aggregator Metacritic.[94][95][96] Some publications, including Destructoid,[98] Game Informer,[99] GamesRadar+,[101] and PC Gamer,[104] called it one of the best takes on the battle royale genre thus far, and a worthy challenger to Fortnite Battle Royale's dominance of the genre.

Critics lauded the combat in Apex Legends. Destructoid referred to the gunplay as the best they had experienced in a battle royale thus far; however, they felt let down that some of the mechanics from the previous Titanfall games were not present.[98] Javy Gwaltney of Game Informer, on the other hand, claimed that the omission of the Titans and other elements from previous Respawn games was not a problem and found the combat to be satisfying and the gunplay powerful. He added that the addition of heroes can make for more exciting combat than in other battle royale games.[99]

Reviewers praised the non-verbal communication system in the game (known as the "ping system") with most considering it to be highly innovative. Polygon's Khee Hoon Chan opined that it "rendered voice chat with strangers largely unnecessary", and was emblematic of Apex Legends' accessibility and astuteness.[2] Destructoid likewise enjoyed the mechanic, predicting that it would become the new norm for the video games industry in battle royale games.[98] Rock Paper Shotgun called it the "gold standard for non-verbal communication in games" and noted that, while not an entirely new concept, Respawn Entertainment had refined the idea.[106] While Electronic Arts had received a U.S. patent for the ping system in 2021,[107] the company announced that the ping system patent and four others related to game accessibility would be made available for free to game developers to use without fear of litigation starting in August 2021.[108]

Apex Legends received critical praise for the perceived diversity of its playable characters. Several characters are LGBTQ, including one non-binary character,[109] though some reviewers felt that the nature of the game did not allow for a narrative which properly highlights this diversity.[2][110][111]

Awards

Year Award Category Result Ref
2019 Japan Game Awards Award for Excellence Won [112]
2019 Golden Joystick Awards Best Multiplayer Won [113][114]
Ultimate Game of the Year Nominated
The Game Awards 2019 Best Ongoing Game Nominated [115][116]
Best Community Support Nominated
Best Action Game Nominated
Best Multiplayer Game Won
2020 Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Animated Character in a Commercial (Meltdown and Mirage) Nominated [117]
23rd Annual D.I.C.E. Awards Online Game of the Year Won [118][119]
NAVGTR Awards Costume Design Nominated [120]
Gameplay Design, New IP Nominated
Game, Original Action Nominated
Pégases Awards 2020 Best International Game Nominated [121]
Game Developers Choice Awards Best Technology Nominated [122]
SXSW Gaming Awards Trending Game of the Year Nominated [123]
Excellence in Animation Nominated
Excellence in Multiplayer Nominated
16th British Academy Games Awards Evolving Game Nominated [124][125]
Multiplayer Won
Famitsu Dengeki Game Awards 2019 Best Online Game Nominated [126]
Best Shooter Won
18th Annual G.A.N.G. Awards Best Audio Mix Nominated [127]
GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Video Game Nominated [128]
The Game Awards 2020 Best Ongoing Game Nominated [129]
Best Community Support Nominated
Steam Awards 2020 Best Game You Suck At Won [130]

Player-count and revenue

Eight hours after its launch, Apex Legends surpassed one million unique players,[131] and reached 2.5 million unique players within 24 hours.[132] In one week it achieved a total of 25 million players, with over 2 million peak concurrent,[133] and by the end of its first month it reached 50 million players in total.[134]

Within the first month of its release, Apex Legends made $92 million in revenue across all platforms, the highest amount earned by any free-to-play game during its month of launch.[135]

As news and popularity of Apex Legends spread, analysts saw the game as something to challenge the dominance of Fortnite Battle Royale, and by February 8, 2019—four days after the game's release—EA had seen its largest growth in stock value since 2014 on the basis of Apex Legends' sudden success.[136][137]

Throughout April, the game was estimated to have earned $24 million in revenue, representing 74 percent less than the amount it earned during its first month, as the game failed to sustain the same level of interest generated by its launch.[138]

In July 2019, EA told investors that the game had 8 to 10 million players a week[139] and also credited Apex Legends with the company's recent upturn in live services earnings as their Q1 2020 financial results exceeded expectations.[140]

With the release of season 3 in October 2019, Apex Legends reached a playerbase of 70 million people internationally and is believed to have earned $45 million in that month alone.[141]

In February 2021, EA's CFO, Blake Jorgensen, confirmed that Apex Legends has surpassed $1 billion in revenue.[142]

In April 2021, right before the release of the games 9th season, Respawn announced that Apex Legends had reached a playerbase of over 100 million people and was expected to pull in $500 million that year.[143]

Controversy

'Iron Crown' event and loot box controversy

With the introduction of the 'Iron Crown' limited-time event in August 2019, the developers released several purchasable in-game cosmetic items. The vast majority of these items could only be acquired through purchasing loot boxes, and the most sought-after item (a cosmetic ax for one of the player characters) could only be purchased at an additional cost after first having obtained 24 other purchasable items.

Players and media outlets decried that as a result of this transaction model, the cost of the most sought-after item was approximately $170[144] (or £130[145])—a pricepoint which Forbes called "hilariously out of touch" and compared negatively to most other major microtransaction models in the industry.[146]

This resulted in a negative backlash from the player community and industry journalists, particularly on Reddit, where members of the Apex Legends community forum traded insults with developers of the game with the increasingly strong language being used by both parties.[147]

As a result, Respawn Entertainment apologized for what they agreed was unfair monetization and promised to allow players the chance to purchase cosmetic items directly (rather than rely on loot boxes), albeit at an increased price.[148] Respawn Entertainment CEO Vince Zampella later apologized for members of the development team "crossing a line with their comments", while also defending that they stood up for themselves against alleged death threats and insults aimed at their family members.[149]

Save Titanfall campaign

Around July 4, 2021, unknown agents appeared to have broken EA and Respawn's server security as to change in-game messages to point to a website that purportedly was trying to "Save Titanfall". The site and messages spoke of the weak security that both Titanfall and Titanfall 2 servers had, leading to the games becoming unplayable due to the number of other hackers using denial of service attacks to bring down the servers.[150] A community-led investigation determined that the owners of the website were directly involved in hacking the Apex servers were also behind some of the denial attacks on the Titanfall servers as a type of false flag to get Respawn to bring back the cancelled Titanfall Online game.[151]

'Monsters Within' event controversies

The 'Monsters Within' event released on October 12, 2021 as the 2021 Halloween Event. People were upset when it was announced because the event was not launching with the Shadow Royale gamemode, and it was instead only going to be available for the final week of the event. There was also controversy over the way that Respawn sold the event skins, as you could not buy them by themselves. People were also upset because the game was in a state of constant crashes and many game breaking bugs.[152][153]

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External links