A fresh data mined leak has uncovered game files in Apex Legends that strongly suggest a cross-platform system is being developed by Respawn Entertainment.
Cross-platform or 'cross-play' is an increasingly popular feature in multiplayer games, for obvious reasons, as it allows users on PS4, Xbox, PC, and even mobile devices to play against and alongside each other on the same servers.
Not only does it benefit players who want to play with friends who are on another platform, it also benefits the game itself by increasing the overall player base, which can improve matchmaking and longevity.
Fortnite was the trend-setter for cross-play, allowing everyone on any device to play together, and keeping progression between platforms too, so players could switch between devices and still be on their same account.
Respawn stated in June that they were interested in adding cross-play to Apex, but explained that it was a "ginormous amount of effort and work."
It looks like they've been working on it though, as game files found by @That1MiningGuy show that 'nucleus' strings have been added to the code, with descriptions for matchmaking on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. As the data miner explains, there is little reason for these files to be added other than cross-play.
Also in the game files, it looks as though cross-progression may also be being worked on, judging by the use of 'PIN's, which the leaker suggests could be used as identification for one player across different platforms.
I'm not 100% convinced we'll see it soon, but did want to show that I found some handling for cross network play using something called Nucleus - also looks like they have a way to standardize the Player Identification across platforms? pic.twitter.com/MpIWgjkvFS
— That1MiningGuy (@That1MiningGuy) September 23, 2019
Unfortunately, these leaked game files don't give us any indication of when cross-platform will be added to Apex Legends.
The problem is that Apex wasn't built with cross-platform in mind, meaning its core game systems aren't set up for such a system.
The upcoming Call of Duty game, Modern Warfare, will feature full cross-platform play at launch, and players got their first taste of it during the recent beta.
It worked smoothly, with players able to join and play with each other regardless of platform by using an Activision account that was then linked to their PSN, Xbox or Battlenet account.
Presumably, Apex would use a similar system, by having users on PS4 and Xbox create an Origin account and then linking the two together.
It's also possible that this new cross-platform system will work for mobile, as it was confirmed in May that a mobile version of Apex Legends is on the way.