Apex Legends Season 5: Fortune's Favor launches today. It's quite possibly the most significant update in the game's 15-month lifespan. Yes, we've had major updates in the past, but Fortune's Favor is a different beast entirely.
The headline addition with Season 5 is obviously Loba, there's no debating that. Appearing as a child in Revenant's brutal character trailer playing witness to her parents' death, Loba's transition to a full character in Apex Legends was one fan theory that actually came true. Loba is a thief by nature, and she plays dirty, with an ability that lets her spot high value gear through walls, and a teleporter that lets her zip to locations out of reach.
Season Quests could fundamentally change the way people play Apex Legends. Respawn is introducing a story mode to Apex through a "Broken Ghost" quest system, challenging players to collect specific items around the in-game maps to unlock different parts of an evolving story. It's an ambitious attempt at introducing a seasonal story to a battle royale game, and has flashes of the way Respawn tried to tell a story through the original Titanfall's multiplayer matches.
Finally, this season we bid goodbye to Skull Town. Oh, Skull Town. Sometimes I loved you, sometimes I hated you, but I have always hated plummeting towards you from the dropship. A desert shanty town tucked away in the King's Canyon map, Skull Town is a haven for those with either a bloodlust or the will to die incredibly quickly at the start of a game. One of the most infamous locations throughout the entire game, I'll actually be quite sad to see Skull Town's destruction with Season 5. With that, here's a closer look at what Apex Legends Season 5 has to offer.
Season Quests Are the Evolution of Titanfall's Storytelling
If you thought Season Quests in Apex Legends would just be a copy-paste of Call of Duty: Warzone's in-game objectives, you'd be mistaken. There's multiple stages to unlocking the new story content here, which are cleverly placed with in-game mission objectives.
Firstly, you need to hop into a match of Apex Legends, and hope you can obtain an elusive Treasure Pack. You can only find one of these precious items per day, but they'll let you unlock a special 'Hunt' mission in Apex Legends.
There are nine pieces of this mysterious story to piece together, and each piece can be obtained through one of these Hunts. The nighttime King's Canyon map makes a return here, challenging you and a team to go on expeditions into the deadly dark to retrieve a special artifact, which you can then take back into Apex's menus and unlock a new piece of the evolving story.
This is massive, because it's the first time Apex Legends has given us an objective outside of "kill each other." If you played the OG Titanfall, you might remember the evolving storyline that unfolded as you won or lost consecutive multiplayer matches. A win for the villainous IMC would push the war-driven story in their favor, while a win for the underdog rebel faction would drive the story towards colonies in the outer reaches of space breaking free of their corporate overlords. It was really ambitious stuff that didn't always pay off, as plot beats often failed to hit hard after a game of running around shooting players in the face. Still, it was bold.
Apex Legends' Season Quests are the evolution of this formula. Respawn is taking everything it learned almost six years ago from Titanfall's multiplayer-driven storyline, and turning it into an evolving narrative for Apex Legends. This is the first time a battle royale game has had such a detailed storyline over the course of a season. If this is a huge success, who's to say Fortnite won't hop on the bandwagon and try something similar?
Loba Upends the Loot Dynamic
Every single Apex Legends character is mesmerising in their own way, but Loba might be the most intriguing yet. You know the drill in Apex by now: race to the ground as quickly as possible, then pounce on the best loot items before your team gets to them (sorry, teammates).
But Loba changes all of this, because she can actually detect where the best loot is. Her Eye for Quality passive ability lets her see both Epic and Legendary-quality gear through walls and other surfaces, so she can immediately race over to them and nab them before others can. This is absolutely game-changing because it takes away the even playing field of loot acquisition that Apex Legends previously had between all its characters.
When every other character in the game is looking at an unopened Supply Bin, they've got no way of telling which Supply Bin holds what loot items. You're all on the same level playing field because no one knows where the best items are, but Loba upends this dynamic entirely: she can actively go and track down the best items as soon as she touches down, meaning there's a chance she can claim all the best gear for herself and leave her teammates with next to nothing.
Loba's loot ability makes me morbidly curious. Will other Apex players react in a hostile manner to Loba players if they gain notoriety for snatching up the best gear? Will Loba players become outcasts from the game, seen as a troll character selection? There's no way to know for now, but there's no doubt Loba's the most intriguing character addition since Apex Legends launched.
Say Good Night, Skull Town
I love Skull Town. I hate Skull Town. The location in the southwestern corner of King's Canyon has become synonymous with death for a good reason: barely anyone makes it out alive if you choose to enter into the infamous shantytown.
But with Season 5: Fortune's Favor, it's time to bid Skull Town farewell. The glorious cinematic trailer introducing Loba depicted the fall of Skull Town, which crashed into the sea below after the destruction of a mysterious robotics lab beneath it. Skull Down's departure is a major shift for King's Canyon, because it eliminates one of the most popular areas in the entire map.
With Skull Town gone, which location on King's Canyon becomes the shooting gallery for some of the most daring players out there? Will they all descend on another popular location, like Water Treatment, or will they simply distribute themselves among the rest of the map, making the other locations on King's Canyon instantly more crowded and contentious? It's a nice sign that Respawn isn't playing it safe with Apex Legends. The studio is clearly willing to throw out one of the most popular areas in the entire game to liven things up a bit, and I'm all for that.
Apex Legends Season 5: Fortune's Favor has a very real chance to be the most significant update yet for Apex Legends. I'm incredibly curious to see the results of the Season Quest objectives and how the story evolves over the course of Season 5. I'm predicting a lot of players will band together to try and piece together the story events of the current season, adding a more concrete sense of narrative in the Apex universe.
I also think Loba has a very real chance of upsetting the balance of Apex Legends. There's so much power placed into the hands of whoever's playing Loba on a team: do you share out the astounding loot you can pull together in a matter of seconds, or do you hoard it all for yourselves? I'm really hoping Loba doesn't become a weapon for toxic players, but there's no denying she's the most intriguing character from a design perspective that Respawn has introduced to Apex Legends so far.
There's so much promise with Season 5. If Respawn is trying to shake things up in a major way to attract new players and maintain a strong player base heading into the next console generation, they're certainly doing a great job with Fortune's Favor.