Apex Legends devs planning Gibraltar rework to shake up “must-pick” status

Gibraltar from Apex Legends.Respawn Entertainment

Gibraltar is in danger of losing his “must pick” status in Apex Legends, but Respawn’s developers think that’s a good thing ⁠— the iconic Kiwi has steered too far away from being “fun” anymore, and that’s a bad thing, they say.

In a future patch, the Apex Legends devs are plotting to ship a Gibraltar update, targeting his ‘bubble’ ability ⁠(likely small nerfs) and how fun he is to play.

Gibraltar has been a mainstay in Respawn’s battle royale for some time now and reigns as a top pick in the pro scene. This is due to the legend’s incredible “Dome of Protection,” which gives Apex Legends squads a chance to survive firefights or reposition in safety.

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All that is under the microscope, warns dev John Larson.

In an interview with Dexerto’s Kijanna Henry, the Apex Legends balance director confirmed the team is eyeing a rework for Gibraltar, and it may be soon.

Respawn EntertainmentRespawn Entertainment
The Kiwi defender has enjoyed a lengthy stay in the Apex Legends pro scene recently.

“Must pick” status as odds with “fun”

According to battle royale developer Larson (known as JayBiebs online), Gibraltar has become a clear “must pick” character at the game’s highest levels. High-ranked grinders and pro players are picking him “out of necessity,” even though Gibraltar is no longer “fun.”

The main reason behind this dramatic swing is that his abilities and what he brings to a squad are invaluable, meaning one of each trio should have him, but the player stuck on Gibby suffers from the Kiwi defender’s long cooldowns. “Generally,” Larson explained, “using abilities is fun, pressing that button.”

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Gibraltar mains are robbed of that “fun” dynamic, but when they do get to use their abilities they can swing skirmishes and entire games in a team’s favor.

Gibraltar changes & buffRespawn Entertainment
The Kiwi currently has a 3.7% pick rate in Respawn’s battle royale.

Gibraltar bubble under microscope

One potential avenue for Gibraltar changes would be through the legend’s Dome of Protection ability, which has become an iconic part of the defender’s kit over the years.

“It’s tough though,” Larson admitted, “because a lot of the ideas I see are things like, give bubble health. I don’t like how that would affect Gibby, and that’s not really how I’d nerf the bubble. That would be way too big of a nerf, especially at the higher levels of the game, and especially in pro play.

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“What I like is that the bubble is a great tool for resetting in combat. That’s why he’s a go-to support pick, because not many other legends in Apex have that 360-degrees protection, and it’s just the best for resetting.”

Instead, Larson and his team have been eyeing “taking out some of his offensive power” through his ultimate and how Gibraltar uses his bubble aggressively.

Related segment begins 14:24 in video below.

Low play rate stops Respawn plans

Larson remained silent on when any Gibraltar rework would actually hit live Apex Legends servers, but did admit there’s one roadblock stopping it from coming soon ⁠— Gibby actually has a low play rate.

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“It’s a tough sell, nerfing a character with less than five percent play rate,” the dev admitted, and said any rework won’t arrive until their concerns are solved. “What we’re grappling with is how we transition him from a must-pick that no one wants to play, to an enticing pick that’s not as dominant.

“If someone has an idea to nerf Gibby’s bubble,” he added, “but also make it so you can boot up pubs and have fun with Gibby, that would be the dream.”