While juggernauts such as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds — commonly referred to as PUBG — and Epic Games’ wildly-popular Fortnite have been dominating headlines for the better part of the year, a new contender has entered the battle royale arena and has seen a massively successful first week.
Apex Legends is a free-to-play battle royale game which is set in the Titanfall universe. Developed by Respawn Entertainment, Apex Legends borrows popular elements from already-established genre leaders, while mixing in a few new gameplay elements for good measure.
Having launched on Monday, February 4 — with no prior announcement or reveal — the Electronic Arts-published free-to-play shooter has already established a dedicated fanbase, thanks to the game’s emphasis on strategy, speed, and a silky smooth frame rate. In fact, Apex Legends is already shattering expectations for what a free-to-play console shooter can accomplish.
As detailed on Electronic Arts’ official website, Respawn Entertainment’s CEO, Vince Zampella, penned a blog post detailing Apex Legends’ massive success, taking the time to thank players for flocking to the game and supporting the studio. Some gamers might recognize Vince Zampella from another popular series. Zampella was one of the original co-founders of Infinity Ward, the studio which went on to develop the long-running Call of Duty series. After a fallout with publisher Activision, Zampella and other Infinity Ward developers left the company, creating Respawn Entertainment.
“In 72 hours, over 10 million players have jumped into Apex Legends and we’ve breached 1 million concurrent players!” Zampella wrote in the aforementioned blog post. “This has been a truly incredible journey. We tested and tweaked. We argued and agreed. We got to a point where we felt some magic. We knew it would be risky to take the franchise in this direction, to go free to play, and do a surprise launch. But we fell in love with Apex Legends and wanted, needed, other people to play it too.”
It’s worth noting that Apex Legends has managed to reach the 10 million player milestone in only three days. In comparison, Fortnite took two weeks to reach the same mark, as detailed in a tweet from the game’s official Twitter account.
Not unlike Blizzard’s popular hero shooter Overwatch, Apex Legends features eight playable heroes, each with their own unique abilities and personality. Unlike other battle royale games, Apex Legends does not feature fall damage, and players have a chance to revive an eliminated teammate, by collecting their player-specific “banner” and calling in a dropship. Respawn Entertainment has also included a robust “pinging” system, allowing players to communicate and share important info without the need for headsets and voice chat.