With new Seasons and the regular cadence of updates, from map changes, to new Legends like Newcastle, balance changes, and everything else. How is the team structured to meet timelines and regular drops? Something like Storm Point changing or Newcastle, how does it all come together so to speak.
Devan McGuire: I can speak about the Legend production side because a lot of this stuff only culminates when we start to understand what we're going to target for a Season. A Season that's coming almost a year and a half down the line. For Newcastle and his kit, development and prototyping started almost two years ago. It was around 18 months ago that we started bringing narrative in to figure out who this character is and wrap something around the idea of what this gameplay prototype is going forward. And then that gets slotted into the Season that comes 18 months down the road.
From a Legend standpoint it's a year and a half of development, fleshing them out, churning on their abilities, developing the core concept of the character through the narrative, iterating and eventually rolling into production something that's ready to go. With a character being the anchor for a Season you need a lot of the time for that narrative component to weave everything together, to figure out what the theming of the Season's going to be, how that's going to work within the roadmap, a big map update, and whatever else is coming down the line. How it’ll work with the Battle Pass.
And because we have those kinds of cascading disciplines, there's a large section of people that are dedicated to those processes. We also have a marketing and narrative team leading the front on how to connect all the pieces and move them forward.
Jeff Shaw: On maps we start really early. This update actually started around the time we were finalising Storm Point. We like to start early, and let things germinate, so we were already thinking about what was next for the map.
Samantha Kalman: IMC Armories in particular have been in development for almost a year and a half. Throughout that time there was a prototyping phase, and then determining which map we were going to ship them on. We were actually testing them on different maps, we’ve tested them on Olympus as well as the base Storm Point. We tested them on the Season 12 update knowing that we were going to ship them with the Season 13 update. It was very much like doing passes, almost carving a sculpture where we think ‘this chunk is in place now let's fill in the details’. It’s more of an art than a science.
Passive - Retrieve the Wounded
Using his wrist-mounted Revive Shield, Newcastle can protect himself and his companion from incoming fire while he revives and pulls his ally to safety. The Revive Shield is powered by Newcastle's own Knockdown Shield, so finding higher levels of this item increases the strength of this ability.
Tactical - Mobile Shield
Newcastle creates a hovering energy shield and can control its movement to adapt to the ever changing combat fronts of the battlefield. Advance the line, cover a retreat or turn the shield to guard against a sudden flank. The Mobile Shield's versatility and top/bottom shield projections give creative opportunities to the tactical defender.
Ultimate - Castle Wall
Drawing his signature shield from his back, Newcastle leaps into action and slams the shield to the ground activating the construction of a massive fortress to give him and his allies a strong defensive position. Enemies in its wake are knocked back and those who try to push through the energized wall are punished and slowed. While Newcastle can leap great distances in a single bound with his Ultimate, it is even stronger when used to regroup. When targeting an ally, Newcastle can leap higher and farther than normal allowing him to heroically reach his companion and turn the tide of a fight.
Apex Legends: Saviors’ upgraded Ranked system adds tier demotions, entry cost adjustments,, and a rework of Ranked Points to promote teamplay. The current Ranked goals revolve around Teamplay for Victory, and Accurate Skill & Better Competition. We are making a large number of changes that focus on these two core pillars, with the outcome that players will focus on playing as a team and playing for the win, and RP will be a more accurate representation of your overall game skill.
The word arena, in the shooter space at least, carries with it some weight. A legacy that includes names like Quake and other titles where fast movement across small maps is paired with scores and trying to rack up as many kills as you can as quickly as you can. As for Arenas, the connection to the name is merely coincidental even though the result -- in the broadest terms -- is 3v3 elimination played on smaller maps with teams looking to win the most rounds. Bread-and-butter Team DM stuff.
Prototyping for Arenas in Apex Legends goes back as far as September of 2019, where within King’s Canyon the team at Respawn experimented with a 24-player tournament that saw squads of three face off against each other in different locations -- eight squads in total, with four 3v3 battles happening simultaneously. In this, the earliest form of what would become Arenas, Respawn kept many of the elements that make-up the core BR side of Apex -- players spawning in without loot, having to find weapons and gear in the early moments of each round, scouting and planning on-the-fly based on exactly what you found.
With the Iron Crown event we missed the mark when we broke our promise by making Apex Packs the only way to get what many consider to be the coolest skins we’ve released.
We’ve heard you and have spent a lot of time this week discussing the feedback and how we structure events in the future, as well as changes that we will make to Iron Crown.
With Apex Legends it is very important to us that we don’t sell a competitive advantage. Our goal has not been to squeeze every last dime out of our players, and we have structured the game so that all players benefit from those who choose to spend money - events like Legendary Hunt or Iron Crown exist so that we can continue to invest in creating more free content for all players. This week has been a huge learning experience for us and we’re taking the lessons forward to continue bringing the best possible experience to all of you.
Get ready to reign over the arena: the highly requested Solo game mode is now available for a limited time as part of Apex Legends Iron Crown Collection Event. Starting today, players will be able to drop into the arena alone and face off against 59 solitary enemies – in the end, only one Legend will be crowned victorious. The event will also feature an adrenaline-pumping town takeover designed by Octane himself. In addition, the Iron Crown Collection Event will introduce brand-new skins, fresh loot, and much more for players to unlock.This is good news as I attempted to jump into the game a bit over a week ago with no friends and found it really annoying being matched with randoms and then being caped upon landing before even getting a weapon. Solo mode means I can at least only blame myself for sucking.
No guts, no glory. The Apex Legends Solo mode is here for players who have what it takes to become an Apex Legends Champion alone. Without any squadmates to watch their back, ping loot, or deliver them to a respawn beacon, players who drop into this new mode will have to adapt their strategies if they want to be the only Legend to make it out of Kings Canyon alive.
Octane’s Town Takeover will add a new rush of thrill-inducing action to Kings Canyon. The stadium, located at a coastal settlement to the west of Skull Town, features something new for the daredevil in all Legends: a mega jump pad course, stunt ramps, and plenty of fire are waiting for Legends looking to show off while they take down.
From August 16 – August 18 players will also score double XP for Top 5 finishes and wins which applies to both Account Level and Battle Pass progression.
Throughout the Iron Crown Collection Event, players can battle it out in style as new Legend skins, weapon skins, banner frames, and poses will be available for a limited time. These exclusive Iron Crown cosmetics can be found in Iron Crown Collection Packs. Players can earn two free packs by completing special event challenges, with additional packs available for purchase.. Iron Crown Collection Packs offer a 50/50 probability for Epic or Legendary items only. No duplicates, commons or rares – only top tier items.
Players who obtain all 24 Iron Crown exclusive items will have the opportunity to purchase the second heirloom item to enter the arena: Bloodhound's Battle Axe. After that, it will enter the standard Apex Pack loot pool.
Using machine learning to create behavior models that detect and auto ban cheaters. Requiring TFA in certain regions on high risk accounts. Improving detection that identifies and bans new spam accounts before they are used. Ongoing work to adapt to new cheats. Investigating how people party up for matches. Even if you are not specifically using a cheat, partying up with cheaters is still cheating. Increasing resources whether that be people or tech.