Respawn devs reveal future of Apex Legends solos after Old Ways event

Respawn Entertainment

There’s bad news for Apex Legends players who want to play alone ⁠— despite duos finally arriving in Respawn’s battle royale in the Old Ways event, it looks like a solo playlist may be a long way off, if it arrives at all.

When Apex first launched in February 2019, it came packaged with one playlist: trios. While other battle royale titles like Fortnite, and Call of Duty’s short-lived Blackout mode went with four-player squads, Respawn sliced that to three.

14 months later, Apex now has permanent duo-queues as well. Unfortunately, solos may not be so lucky. On February 3, Josh Medina teased solos may have a chance to join the battle royale. Last week, he slammed that door shut.

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Now, design director Jason McCord has put all the developer’s cards on the table regarding solos. In the Old Ways dev-stream released on April 7, he admitted solos were probably too “unhealthy” to add to the battle royale.

According to the Respawn designer, data gathered during solos in the infamous Iron Crown event ⁠— which saw devs dub fans “ass-hats” after monetization complaints ⁠— reveals why solos just won’t be possible “any time soon.”

Respawn devs have slammed the door on solos and thrown away the key -- at least for now.Respawn Entertainment
McCord slammed the door on solos and threw away the key for now.

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Apex Legends is not designed for solos, says McCord

The crux of the issue surrounding potential solo playlists, McCord explained, is that Apex is “a team game first and foremost.” Everything in the battle royale had “started there,” with the concept of multiple players working together.

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“We have designed our game around teammates ⁠— not necessarily trios ⁠— but our legends’ designs have a bunch of abilities that are really useful in squads, but are completely useless in solos,” the Apex designer said.

“The game also has a ping system that is really important. We also have an in-depth revive system. All of these things won’t work in solos. We don’t want to double down on that [not using features] for many reasons.”

The controversial Iron Crown event was the last time solos appeared in Apex Legends.Respawn Entertainment
The controversial Iron Crown event was the last time solos appeared in Apex Legends.

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Iron Crown data suggests solos don’t work

Data collection during the Iron Crown event’s 14-day run in August last year also seems to have chalked any hopes for solos. During that event fortnight, new player retention dropped considerably, McCord explained.

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“We actually saw some pretty unhealthy data. We got some good feedback, yes, some of you really enjoyed it. You thought it was really good,” he said.

“One particular piece of data that we looked at though was that new players were much less likely to stick with the game if they only play solos. That was one problem that we saw. That is why you’re not seeing solos in this patch.”

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Will solos ever have a place in Apex Legends?

The news might be a little grim for those who don’t want to have to rustle up a friend or two to drop into Apex Legends. It’s not all bad though. While the Old Ways event definitely won’t have solos, things may change, McCord said.

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Respawn is listening, he said. Fans across social media have been baying for solos for quite some time, McCord admitted. The developers know that, and that’s why they haven’t simply binned solos without a second thought.

“We do know that people want a way to practice and play alone though, so we know that,” he said. “We’re going to keep exploring ways to let you play just like that. For now though, grab a frag, go into duos, and enjoy that.”

Solos may not be coming, but there’s still plenty to do beyond “grabbing a frag” in Apex at the moment. The Old Ways event has brought with it a host of new content, from duos, to legend and weapon buffs, and much more.

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That’s all for now, but there’s always more on the horizon. Respawn recently revealed they’re already hard at work on not only Season 5, but 6, 7, and 8 too. Solos may not be here now, but they could be coming in the future.