Respawn Entertainment lifted the already lifted veil on Apex Legends today, a new battle royale game set in the Titanfall universe. But rather than just a small spinoff, Apex Legends is instead the newest main entry into the Titanfall series, not Titanfall 3 as previous reports suggested.
"There are some people who think there are too many battle royale games or it's a fad, the world thinks we're making Titanfall 3 and we're not—this is what we're making," says Apex Legends lead producer Drew McCoy in an interview with Eurogamer. In fact, the surprise launch for Apex Legends today is an attempt to come ahead of any negative reactions fans might have had to knowing that instead of a Titanfall sequel, Respawn developed a free-to-play battle royale game.
McCoy acknowledges the optics of what would happen if Respawn announced Titanfall 3 turned into Apex Legends. Not only that, but a free-to-play battle royale with loot boxes and a battle pass to boot. That's why getting skeptical players a chance to jump right in seemed like the best way to mitigate any PR headache.
"We're doing a free-to-play game, with essentially loot boxes, after we were bought by EA, and it's not Titanfall 3. It's the perfect recipe for a marketing plan to go awry, so why have that—let's just ship the game and let players play."
Considering the controversy that's already come out of loot boxes (and from EA, who kicked off the controversy and is now publishing Apex Legends), the decision to do a surprise launch for Apex Legends seems like a good strategic move. It is unfortunate though that it's come at the expense of a single-player follow-up to Titanfall 2, one of the best first-person shooters to have come out in the modern era.
Though Apex Legends' release was a well-timed move, it remains to be seen whether it's paid off. Players are now logging into Apex Legends and we'll find out soon whether or not Respawn bet on the right horse when it decided to pursue a battle royale game.
Check out our Apex Legends guide for more news, trailers, and details for Respawn's Titanfall spinoff.