Apex Legends turns two this month, and today game director Chad Grenier hit players with a very interesting and heartfelt look back to the game’s inception. The post ended with promise of Apex‘s future launch on Switch and mobile platforms, and a rather unexpected remark that frankly blows the entire rest of the post out of the water.
… later this year, we’ll launch new ways to play the game that take us beyond battle royale.
You’re just gonna say that and walk away? OK. Alright.
We were given nothing to work with other than the veiled promise of a new game mode – or an entirely new game set in the Apex Legends realm of the Titanfall universe. That means I have to speculate irresponsibly hard, which is exactly what I intend to do… later on. For now, I’ll go over the handful of very obvious possibilities that Grenier could be hinting at.
A story campaign seems pretty likely likely. Respawn have previously promised to explore ways to allow for a solo experience in Apex Legends. There’s also the fact that over its eight seasons, Apex has gone to great lengths to set up a lot of plotlines and then immediately abandon them. Every season walks us through a narrative that ultimately ends up unresolved.
That cavalcade of cliffhangers makes a great foundation for a live service game aiming to stick around for a while; Warhammer 40k did something like this for decades. But it would also be great to pick one of the storylines back up and, you know, actually finish it. I would personally love to know why Ash’s body is just chilling in a bunker under Kings Canyon.
A non-violent game mode for players to just exist in would be cool, too. Apex Legends has three maps at this point, all incredibly detailed. Due to the nature of the game as a fast-paced battle royale, the playspace of each map is largely unexplored by the majority of players. Players rotate through the exact same paths and spaces so consistently, the maps may as well be networks of tubes.
In a game mode with no imperative to loot and kill, and no countdown, players could roam around together and do something else – what that something else could be is up to Respawn. Apex‘s maps and characters already have a lot of interactive features that fit together in interesting ways.
If all the removed interactions were added back and boosted with some new map objects and devices – also maybe add the Prowlers back – a new game mode could be introduced for players to just to mess around in.
The last and sadly most likely possibility is that the non-battle royale way to play coming to Apex Legends will be in the form of a competitive team-vs-team mode. This is just too likely. The biggest non-battle royale FPS launch of 2020 was Valorant, and one of the most anticipated upcoming games of 2021 is Overwatch 2. Last year also saw Rogue Company become Hi-Rez’s most successful launch title to date.
There is just too much appetite for this type of thing, and Apex Legends has it baked in already, having itself spawned from such a game. I regretfully expect for this upcoming way to play Apex to close the loop, and send players to fight it out in smaller arenas.
Obviously, we’ll have to wait and see what Respawn is cooking. I sincerely hope they blindside me with something completely new and unexpected. They’re good at that.