By Eric Tran
Apex Legends has become a huge hit in the battle royale scene. The game is a first-person shooter that launched on February 4, 2019, by publisher Electronic Arts and developer Respawn Entertainment, the people behind the Titanfall games. Apex seemingly came out of nowhere and was a well-kept secret until it released.
A week after its launch Vince Zampella the CEO of Respawn announced that the game had hit over 25 million players and peaked at over 2 million concurrent players. Fortnite, the king of the battle royale genre, took about six weeks to amass 20 million players when it’s battle royale mode first released. However, it was at a time where battle royale games were still new and beginning to popularize the genre. Now, after a month later the game has over 50 million registered players, according to PCGames.
Apex has gained huge success in an over-saturated market of battle royal games because of several key factors.
Respawn used influencers to market their game. Streaming games on Twitch and YouTube have become very popular and big names like Shroud (Michael Grzesiek), Dr. Disrespect (Herschel Beahm IV), and CouRage (Jack Dunlop) who have millions of followers, were invited to Respawn’s preview event for the game. According to Twitchmetrics, Apex has become the number one most popular, most watched game, and had the highest peak viewership so far in the month of February.
Free to play
Unlike PUBG or Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4, the game is free to download. It also isn’t pay to win, all the microtransactions in the game are cosmetics and there’s nothing in the game that players can buy that’ll give them an advantage.
Apex borrows the same elements of other games in the genre, but they’ve added innovate gameplay features. Each character has their own unique play style with different special abilities, similar to hero shooters like Overwatch. Players can change the outcome of a firefight if they can effectively use their character’s special abilities. There’s also a pinging system, which allows players to easily communicate without using voice chat. Players can mark weapons and items, locations, and enemies for their squad. If a player dies, their teammates can retrieve their banner and bring them back to life at a respawn beacon. Now eliminated players don’t have to watch the entire match or quit right away.
Most online games at launch tend to have many glitches or are not well optimized. Apex has had some issues such as infinite loading screens, slow motion bug, and server disconnects. But, for the most part, it runs surprisingly smooth. Gameplay feels responsive and tight, from running, sliding, climbing, and shooting. Graphics also look great, from character models, items, weapons, and environments.
With Apex Legends becoming a huge hit in such a short amount of time, people may wonder if they can maintain this level of success, or if it’ll be just another battle royale game that burns out and dies. However, if Respawn can continue to support this game with more content, fix its few bugs and glitches, and listen to player feedback, it could have a long and successful run.