Apex Legends is now over three years old, and with a new Season roughly every three months, that means we now have 12 more Legends than we started with. But, Respawn is aware of the threat of ‘too many’ Legends, and is considering what this means for the future.
Some games add new playable characters seemingly endlessly – League of Legends, Smash, or Fortnite spring to mind. But, for Apex, it’s not as simple as just continuing to add a brand new character every time a new Season rolls around – at least not forever.
Each new character in Apex must fit into the Battle Royale meta: useful, but not overpowered, unique, but within a class, and can’t overlap too much with any other character. Lore is another challenge on top of gameplay – Apex is a multiplayer game that prides itself on telling stories, with detailed histories accompanying each character, and interwoven storylines between them.
That’s why, when we got the opportunity to speak to the Respawn developers about the state of Apex, we posed the question: Is there a point where there could be too many Legends? Will new character launches slow down in the future?
Respawn “aware” of Legend saturation
Right now, the plan remains to release a new Legend each season, but Senior Character Designer Devan McGuire said the team is aware this might not always be the case.
McGuire said that Apex’s primary focus is about gunplay, more than Legend abilities, but as more and more Legends are added, it becomes harder to make them “unique, without being overpowered, or too niche.”
McGuire continued that there may well be a “breaking point,” where a new Legend every season is simply not feasible or healthy for the game. “Whether or not that pattern continues is an ongoing discussion, and it might not be changed, but we don’t want to saturate the pool [of Legends].”
One thing is for sure, McGuire confirmed: they certainly won’t be speeding it up and adding two Legends in a season any time soon.
The challenge of unique Legend design
It’s not just the abilities and lore that can be a challenge for adding new characters. While concept artists can come up with endless ideas for Legends, Lead Concept Artist Cristina Ferez explained that there is one unique challenge about creating ideas for Apex specifically.
In-game, it is vital that players can identify what Legend they are coming up against in an instant, so that they know what abilities they might have to face. Ferez explained that this means each character’s ‘silhouette’ must be totally different from each other, and not risk confusion in the heat of fast-paced combat.
Right now, there are no changes set in stone, so expect to see another new Legend in Season 14. But, Respawn are definitely aware that this pattern might not be sustainable forever, so it will be interesting to see how they tackle this particular conundrum.