After blasting onto the battle royale shooter scene back in February, Apex Legends became a relative powerhouse among major players like Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. The free-to-play game brought a level of polish and shooter design skill to the genre that was lacking in some of its biggest competitors, and that made it a refreshing new entry into the popular subgenre.
That popularity has waned some for Apex Legends since its launch, partially because the early honeymoon period in which the game attracted tons of attention (and streamers) is over. Another culprit: The game’s first three-month season was lackluster in terms of content. Apex introduced a new character and a new weapon with Season 1, but little else that makes the game dynamic as a live-service title. Earning its first season’s rewards also came through as a lot of grind for little payoff among some players.
The first content season of Apex is set to wrap up in June, though–right around E3. We’re expecting to learn a lot more during the event.
What We Know So Far
A big push for Apex Legends so far has been in cleaning up issues in the game. The latest Apex patch focuses on reducing the number of crashes suffered by PC players and addresses audio problems. We’ve also seen developer Respawn Entertainment put a lot of focus on stopping cheaters in the game, while also attempting to make effective balance changes by doing things like reworking character hitboxes to make them more viable on the battlefield. As the developer has worked in dealing with those issues, it hasn’t released much in the way of new content for Apex in Season 1–but given player complaints, that’s likely to change in Season 2.
As for exactly what content is coming in Season 2, the specifics are anybody’s guess. At least one new character, known as Wattson, is expected to join the game based on past leaks. Trailers have also suggested a new weapon coming to the game to go with Wattson, as well. But nobody knows for sure at this point what Season 2 will entail, or how broad its changes to Apex Legends will be.
What’s Confirmed For E3?
During its latest quarterly earnings call, Apex Legends publisher Electronic Arts said it would announce new details about Apex Season 2 during E3–specifically, during EA Play, the public event EA throws in Los Angeles every year during E3. There are few specifics as to what that announcement will entail, but we know a few of the broad strokes. A new character is coming, as are changes to the game’s single map, Kings Canyon.
“For Season 2 you can expect a Battle Pass with more meaningful content, the introduction of a new Legend, the debut of a new weapon… and you didn’t expect Kings Canyon to stay the same forever, did you?” Respawn wrote in a post on the EA blog.
What We Hope To See At E3
It’s a little bit tough to speculate about what Apex Legends needs when players complain about a lack of “content.” For sure, we want more characters in the game–each one’s abilities and characteristics are a big part of what sets Apex apart from other battle royale games. Each one’s strengths and weaknesses add to the overarching strategy needed to win the game. But Respawn has previously said it means to take a lot of care in introducing new elements to Apex Legends, which is why balance changes and updates are somewhat infrequent. We want Respawn to continue to thoroughly test everything it does to Apex to avoid adding new issues to the game and having to roll back changes. So while it’d be nice to have more characters in Apex sooner, one per season is probably a good pace; the same is true with the introduction of new weapons.
Respawn has also suggested that Apex would see its game map evolving and changing over time, and if we can’t get lots of new weapons and characters in Season 2, we’d love to see the terrain become altered and more dynamic. The alien worlds of the Titanfall universe allow for a lot of possibilities, and speculation based on leaks has already suggested that the huge, deadly creatures who inhabit the world of Kings Canyon could get in on the action in Apex. New dangers and obstacles, as well as new places to fight and develop strategies, would be welcome additions to the base Apex Legends formula.
Apex could also stand to improve in adding more for players to do while they’re playing. Taking a page from Fortnite in this respect is probably a good idea. With each new season, developer Epic Games adds a mess of challenges to the game that help players earn experience and rewards faster. Some are simple, requiring little more than getting into fights with specific weapons, but others require exploring the map and finding strange Easter eggs that give players hints at the overall shifting nature of the game. There’s always something weird to discover in Fortnite, it seems.
Challenges would grow the replayability factor for Apex, especially if they helped give players more to strive for in earning cosmetic and customization rewards. But apart from just new skins for guns and characters, Apex could use challenges and Easter eggs to expand on the lore and story that surrounds the game, giving players cool secrets to discover that enhance their understanding of Apex’s characters and world. Respawn has hinted at the more in-depth story surrounding Apex–we know it’s part of the Titanfall universe, after all, which has quite a bit of lore of its own. At E3, we’d love to see Respawn start to push the boundaries of Apex Legends in a way that’s similar to what Blizzard does with Overwatch, telling more stories about its characters and giving players a broader look at its world.
And of course, it’d be great to see Respawn enhance the battle pass of Apex Legends to give players more cool stuff to hunt. Fun as the game is itself, solid battle passes (as well as things like challenges and other content) help hold interest in games like Apex, which keeps players returning. In fact, it’d be nice to see Respawn experiment with the battle pass formula the way it has the battle royale formula, to further set the game apart from contenders like Fornite. We’re not sure what form those experiments might take, but we’re willing to give them a shot based on how much we’ve enjoyed what Respawn has created so far.
Oh, and while it’s known that Respawn is actively trying to stamp out cheating in the game, a longer-term solution to the problem of hacks that ruin the game would make an excellent E3 bonus. Dealing with all cheaters might be wishful thinking, but if one thing would enhance the fun of Apex immediately, it’s that.