Respawn doubles down on Apex Legends tap strafe removal in upcoming season

Andrew Amos
Pathfinder grappling on King's Canyon in Apex Legends
Respawn Entertainment

Despite initially delaying its removal, Respawn has doubled down on eventually getting rid of Apex Legends’ tap strafing movement mechanic soon. The developers are concerned about “mobility creep”, and won’t be giving the mechanic to controller players to compensate.

Tap strafing has been controversial since its rise to prevalence in Apex Legends. Once a niche bit of movement tech, all the best mouse and keyboard players are tap strafing around the Apex Games to get around corners quickly or change direction in mid-air without losing momentum.

The drawback? It’s not available on controller, and it’s not meant to exist in the first place. So Respawn have been working on removing it from the game ⁠— and got as far as nearly pushing a patch in Season 10 before reverting it.

While it’s been spared for the last couple of months, time is still ticking towards its eventual demise with the developers refusing to change their mind on the subject.

Apex Legends Octane Jump Pad
Respawn Entertainment
Tap strafing combined with movement abilities like Octane’s pad is a deadly duo in Apex Legends.

“It exists as a design problem (not a balancing mechanic) where the lack of readability and how it compounds with movement abilities are the biggest causes for concern,” developer John Larson told players on January 7.

“In most trivial examples, sure, I can learn a player will tap-strafe around corners to cut off LoS faster. But add things that enhance mobility, and learnability and counterplay quickly become clouded.

“If a sweaty Path is grappling near me with a shotty, I know the tap-strafe into my face is coming, but even with the quickest of reflexes how can I improve my chances?”

The idea to bring tap strafing to controller also doesn’t sit well with Larson or other developers.

An additional point Larson brought up in his latest statement is concerns surrounding “mobility creep” in Apex Legends. With new Legends like Ash further ramping up the amount of movement tech in the game, smaller issues that are input-specific will become more evident.

valkyrie flying in apex legends
Respawn Entertainment
New Legends like Valkyrie only exacerbate Apex’s mobility creep, so Respawn want to rein in what they can.

“Mobility creep is a real concern. If something feels good (ie: movement in Apex), doubling down on that too much can warp gameplay in the grand scheme of things,” he stated.

Until then feel free to tap strafe to your heart’s content in Apex Legends, but just know it’s time is nigh.