The Apex Legends phenomenon
25 million unique players. This is the milestone reached by the online game Apex Legends, 168 hours after its launch. This new battle royal is an alien in many ways. Whether in terms of communication, gameplay and future development, this game deserves our attention.
Presentation of the game
Apex Legends is a free-to-play game developed by Respawn Entertainment (Call of Duty, Titanfall) and published by Electronic Arts (Star Wars Battlefront, FIFA). It is therefore a battle royal with a futuristic look, and the graphics are similar to those of a triple A, bringing a certain amount of realism to the environment. One of the specificities of the game, and what makes it unique in the BR landscape, is that you can choose a character, a specialist, with a capacity, an ultimate and a passive that are specific to him. Based on the Rainbow Six Siege model, squads will be able to develop strategies based on their team composition. Another singularity, if you have not succeeded in resuscitating your teammate wounded in combat, his game is not over yet. It is possible to retrieve your comrade’s badge and go to a reappearance area (in green on the map), which will bring him back into play with you but without equipment.
An astonishing communication
For a game of this graphic quality, and supported by such great names in the industry, one would have expected ads in great style, at E3 for example, marketing campaigns, open beta etc.. But no, no, no. Nothing. The game came out of the blue, with servers that were working, and popularity grew naturally. Finally, not completely naturally either; since a number of paid operations have been used to spread the news and introduce as many people as possible to the concept of the game. Many influencers from the streaming community were solicited for the occasion, and some still continue to play the game because it is so addictive. It must be said that the game is skillfully built since it uses very popular game codes. It includes the dynamism of fast fps gameplay such as Call of Duty, Rainbow Six Siege’s strategy, the mechanical requirement and Overwatch’s character choice to name just a few.
While the game is not two weeks old, it seems that the developers had also taken the lead. Indeed, a ranked party system has already been announced. Also, some tournaments are reportedly in preparation. Exactly, let’s talk about esport. The trend in the industry is towards “all-esport”, without really taking into account the relevance for a game to launch into competition. For the moment, Apex legends appears to be perfectly suited for esport. As we have said, it uses the codes of many current competitive games. It may even take them up too much, to the point that some might reproach it for not bringing anything new and being only an assembly of features, while suffering the comparison with Fortnite, leader among the BRs, which is constantly innovating. However, the strategic possibilities, the requirements in terms of aiming and mechanics, make it an “easy to play, hard to master” game, which is almost a sine qua non condition for the implementation of an esport on a game.
In any case, it is difficult to say if the game will continue in the BR landscape, or if its fall will be as fast as its rise, but it is certain that Electronic Arts is making a remarkable entry into the BR sector. It is the second giant in the industry to enter this segment, after Activision with Black Out, and it is clear that Apex is making a much better head start.