Yesterday, Respawn Entertainment announced and released Apex Legends, the new free-to-play battle royale game they’re making instead of Titanfall 3. Reaction from fans has been mixed – Apex Legends is, by most accounts, a fun game, but many are skeptical about Respawn going the “games as a service” route so soon after being purchased by Electronic Arts. Was Respawn forced down this path by EA?
In a recent interview with Game Informer, Apex Legends executive producer Drew McCoy denied any heavy-handed tactics by EA, saying the decision to do a battle royale game was entirely Respawn’s...
"We decided to make this game. This wasn’t the game they [EA] expecting. I had to go to executives, show it to them, and explain it and...not convince but more, 'Hey, trust us! This is the thing you want out of us.'
As a corporation, they can only quantify based on past data and they’ve never done anything like this before. There’s a giant rainbow question mark over revenue projections for this game. They’re like, 'We don’t know! We can’t predict.' This is a game where we had to say, 'This is what we want to do. Help us get there.' They had no hand in development or [deciding] anything about this game."
McCoy also addressed why this game set in the Titanfall universe lacks titans…
"For the titans, they were just an incredibly unbalancing force on the game. We tried a thousand iterations on them [...] they were just power fantasies where you get to power up and stomp around and squish guys — and those are sort of opposed to the goals of this game. Just because it’s cool in [Titanfall] and they’re both in the same universe doesn’t mean that element fits here. When we were prototyping it all, we tried a bunch of versions where the titans were weaker or harder to get or there’s only one on the map. The problem with that is once you get them balanced and they’re not destroying the integrity of the of game, they’re no fun. You don’t get that power fantasy. You’re driving around in a papier-mâché titan. What’s the point of that?"
McCoy touches on a number of other interesting topics, including Apex Legends being Respawn’s biggest project to date (115 devs are working on the game, while only 85 worked on Titanfall 2), and their plans to support the game for at least a year. If you’ve got a few extra minutes to spare I suggest you check out the full interview.
Apex Legends is available on PC, Xbox One, and PS4 right now.