Apex Legends devs have explained why Season 9’s Arenas mode will not be getting “small” maps, despite calls from some players to add more close-quarters locations.
Arenas came as the biggest overhaul of Apex Legends Season 9, providing players a smaller, 3v3 mode where they can focus on taking out one enemy team over and over again.
The matches take place over multiple rounds, meaning it can become a best of 5, best of 7 or best of 9 depending on how many rounds the opposition manages to win.
However, some players have suggested that the mode’s maps are too large, even with a closing ring. At the moment, there are two specifically designed Arenas maps – Party Crasher and Phase Runner – as well as three maps taken from POIs of the battle royale maps – Artillery Battery from Kings Canyon; Thermal Station from World’s Edge and Golden Gardens from Olympus.
A post from one fan stated exactly that, suggested Artillery should be removed as an Arenas map due to its size, and replaced with Octane’s Gauntlet, which saw the speedy Legend’s Town Takeover replace Kings Canyon’s West Settlement.
However, Lead Game Designer at Respawn Daniel Klein responded, saying: “It would be too small! It’s important to have multiple POIs in an Arenas map, ideally POIs with direct line of sight between each other. This might be one good POI (although there’s a lot of sight blocking with the tall structures), but it wouldn’t be enough for an arenas map.”
Another player responded to suggest trying out smaller maps and seeing how they play, but this idea was quashed by David Bocek, another game designer at Respawn.
“We experimented with lots of stuff!” he said. “We learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t, and unfortunately small maps just didn’t really work imo. In my personal experience, they felt like they got too same-y really quickly, you lose most of the interesting and meaningful decision-making about where to go based on where you think the enemy will go, weapon loadouts, etc. The POIs like the health bins and the cash stations and the care package just felt all too close together too.”
Bocek finished: “I’m no level designer, this was just my personal experience with it, but wanted to note that we have been experimenting a lot with this before launch, and will continue to do so!”
In short, it sounds like small maps resulted in very repetitive matches; exactly the kind of thing devs seek to avoid when designing a new mode.
We certainly wouldn’t rule slightly smaller maps out in the future, but not every popular POI will transfer seamlessly to Arenas.