“Apex Legends” is the newest video game craze to follow the battle royale formula. Made by the developers of “Titanfall,” Respawn, its future is uncertain, despite high hopes from fans. The game itself has seen massive success by gaining over 25 million unique players and 2 million concurrent players in just its first week. More than that, however, the game boasts an impressive 1.4 million followers on gaming’s biggest streaming website, Twitch.
Despite this success, a few questions still remain. Can it keep the momentum it has now? Does it have any hope of even comparing to the likes of “Fortnite?” And most importantly, can it meet the expectations set by its sea of fans?
All battle royale games follow a pretty similar basic formula, “Apex Legends” included, but Respawn seems to have brought together a multitude of different mechanics in a way that works better than its predecessors. The game takes many of its movement mechanics from “Call of Duty Black Ops 4’”s Blackout mode. It also takes page out of “Overwatch’”s character customization and draws on the fast-paced gameplay of “Fortnite.” Alongside all of these great features, Apex also encourages team gameplay even more by implementing a revive system even after your teammates have died. This ability to re-enter the battle rewards aggressive gameplay and promotes a strong team-oriented experience. Add well-designed physics and movement allowing tactical complexity and you have a gameplay formula on par with its more established competitors.
As with any battle royale, there are many valid criticisms that turn players away from the experience. One of the biggest criticisms is the lack of diverse content currently in the game. With only eight playable characters and a relatively small map, the game can get very repetitive over time. This isn’t just a criticism of “Apex Legends,” it’s a criticism that many people have against battle royales as a whole. Other games in the genre have adapted and changed to mitigate this problem by adding new weapons, maps and gamemodes to make the gameplay varied and change up how the players experience the game. This standard of ever-changing and adaptive content is a tall order; Respawn, however, have proven that they have the will to support an ongoing work.
As with many preexisting battle royales, it’s easy to see the trends that Respawn might choose to follow in the near future. Alongside a battle pass, Respawn has confirmed their plans to add more Legends to the current roster of eight. They’ve also confirmed new weapons and maps which will make for a more complete experience.
A majority of battle royales have implemented a loot system with the battle pass feature that unlocks as you play and win. With the large amounts of customization that the game already features, implementing a battle pass allows Respawn to add new items with incentives for players to pay for an otherwise free-to-play game. This change would help the game’s longevity and keep gameplay flowing.
I expect to see Respawn support this game for a long time if the player base keeps up with the strong numbers that the game has garnered in its week-and-a-half-long run. Respawn has done this many times before with their offerings, most famously with the “Titanfall” series, despite the game having nowhere near the player base that “Apex Legends” does. Many different esports companies have also looked into the possibility of establishing a competitive scene for the game and have already invested in fielding players in hopes of forming a team to compete in different leagues and competitions.
When it comes to esports, one of the biggest services that people use to watch is through Twitch. Due to this, Twitch has already put money towards pitting well known streamers against each other in order to boost viewership and promote their brand as a whole. With the emergence of Twitch rivals, its evident that well-known esports teams will be watching closely to sponsor new players for upcoming tournaments and leagues that are inevitably becoming a feature of the game. Twitch’s involvement with Respawn supports a good future for the game as their continued support can really boost the game’s already impressive popularity.
Being the hottest game on the market currently, it can be hard for “Apex Legends” to keep u with the massive expectations set by its predecessors. I feel as though this game will still be relevant and fun to play in the near future and even past 2019. Either as a game to play or an esport to watch, “Apex Legends” is a strong addition to the battle royale genre that is here to stay.