Happy birthday to Apex Legends, which is sort of one day away from its second anniversary. To mark the occasion, Respawn released a number of images showing the game in its early days, which reveal a bit more how the game evolved from its Titanfall roots.
After the launch of Titanfall 2, Respawn has started work on Titanfall 3, but that was parked after the developer started experimenting with a battle royale mode in the Titanfall universe – and it became Apex Legends. According to new blog post By game director Chad Grenier, the prototype was initially made by two designers and then developed into a game mode called “Survival” that saw pilots and titans fight to become the last man standing. It seems the mode had a slightly smaller lobby size than the current Apex, with a total of 24 pilots instead of 60, but the idea of teams of three falling together was present even in these very early stages. However, squads would arrive in style inside a drop capsule, which the teams would have to enter as a trio inside the drop ship.
Apex Legends Official Launch Trailer
Soon the Apex team size grew to over 20, and as of October 2017 Respawn had the first versions of Gibraltar, Bloodhound, and Wraith. The prototype map was apparently quite different from Kings Canyon, and was instead imaginatively referred to as a “real big map”. It was sparse enough that the “titans roam free”, but the titans and the wall race later had to be removed for the sake of game balance.
A first drop ship in Survival game mode and a “real big map”, respectively.
“[We had] things like wall running and double jump for a long time, we did triple jump for a while, they make the fight really hard to beat and understand, ”former lead producer Drew McCoy told me in 2019. “You can’t predict where players are coming from or where you’re pushing them, and things would happen to you more than you predict and respond to yourself.
“Titanfall Titans 1 and 2 were meant to be a power fantasy – you’re supposed to be thinking ‘okay I can call it up, I can power it up and feel like a bad guy for a little while’, then it will probably explode and you will have a chance to start over.
“So we were prototyping and it was a power-up, and it was really detrimental to a battle royale. Battle Royales are meant to be like poker – everyone comes to the table with the same possibilities.
“If we ever balanced a titan where he wasn’t a destructive force on the match – it was like betraying that fantasy of power, as if it was made of paper, a wet cardboard bag – it didn’t was not worth it. “
In November 2017, the team tested their first 50-player game and began testing the map that would become Kings Canyon. The mode name eventually changed from Survival to Apex Predator (almost there), Kings Canyon started to look like Kings Canyon, and mechanics like Legendary abilities and respawning teammates were prototyped. To design Apex Legends’ famous pinging system, the team ran tests without a headset and with player names disabled to help them build “a best-in-class in-game communication system.”
Prior to adding named locations, Kings Canyon was divided into “zones”.
“It became clear to us that we had something great on our hands, and our plans for the other project were scrapped,” Grenier said. (Guess it was Titanfall 3.) “We were then all hands on what would eventually be called ‘Apex Legends’ and we would never look back.”
Then, of course, came the surprise February 2019 launch designed to “just ship the game and let the players play,” as McCoy told me at the time. “To try and win over a skeptical audience for months on end with trailers and how-to articles, we’re just like ‘let the game speak for itself’ – this is the most powerful antidote to potential problems.”
Finally, Apex was in the wild – and two years later, it’s still doing pretty well. EA CEO Andrew Wilson said last night that Apex saw 30% year-over-year growth in player numbers, with CFO Blake Jorgensen adding it is expected to generate over 500 million dollars in net bookings this year. In addition to all that, last october the game received a huge new map, the Switch port arrives in March, and Season 8 kicked off yesterday (literally). Unlike the speed of its gameplay, I don’t think Apex Legends is going fast.
Article source https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2021-02-03-apex-legends-first-map-was-sparse-enough-for-titans-to-roam-freely