After shooting to fame in 2019 then frequently being brought up as the battle royale suffering from dwindling player counts, Apex Legends seems to be doing just fine. Better than fine if you consider the massive revenue it continues to generate for Respawn and EA.
This week saw the launch of Apex Legends’ 9th season, simply called “Legacy”. The first highlight is a new legend, Valkyrie – daughter of the Titan pilot “Viper” from Titanfall 2 (as if that means anything to us hoping for a sequel!). Using repurposed titan parts, she brings a new degree of verticality with her passive and ultimate skills. She can hover to scout the terrain, consuming a slowly recharging fuel source. With a full tank, she can trigger her ultimate to jettison herself – or the entire team – into the sky and re-enter freefall, while highlighting foes along her landing path. Her tactical ability is a swarm of low-damage missiles that seem best at disrupting other players before charging their position.
The other big change is the permanent addition of “Arena” mode. This mode focuses on 3 vs. 3 team battles in small arenas based on both existing maps and unique locations (with more to come). It’s designed around a “best of 3” system (pushing into overtime if the squads are going one-for-one), with a scoring system that allows players to select a loadout before each round. This fast and frenetic mode should be a great way to practice for similar battles in the standard battle royale mode, albeit without the risk of being wiped by a sneaky third party.
The launch of the Legacy season resulted in a massive surge of players, including a new Steam concurrent player record of over 300,000. Naturally, this resulted in servers buckling under pressure and players – PC players in particular – have struggled to get into games successfully. Thankfully, it seems these issues are slowly being resolved by Respawn.
With all things considered, Apex Legends is continuing to prove one hell of a success for Respawn and EA, despite the somewhat muted launch it initially received (with EA seemingly content to throw it out within minimum fanfare… much like Titanfall 2). As a big fan of Titanfall 2, it remains my go-to Battle Royale thanks to the wonderful movement mechanics and varied weaponry. Here’s hoping some of that revenue and development time is going towards Titanfall 3 and not more bland PvE “missions”.