One of the most contentious issues in the Apex Legends community and, really, for battle royale fans across most games in the genre, is the divide between solo play and team play. Apex launched as a three-person squads game and has stuck to it for most of its existence, but today it's getting Duos as a permanent addition. Solos, though, looks like it won't come to Apex for the foreseeable future.
In a new video running down all the changes introduced in today's new Apex patch, Respawn Entertainment Design Director Jason McCord says that adding Duos was carefully considered given Apex's team-based gameplay and acceptable wait queues for matchmaking. After testing the mode out a couple times, Respawn was satisfied with the data it got back—not so with Solos.
"We turned on Solos last year in the Iron Crown event, and we actually saw some unhealthy data," McCord says. "We got a lot of feedback that some of it was really good, [that] people really enjoyed it, but one particular piece of data that we looked at was new players are much less likely to stick with the game if they play Solos. That was one problem that we definitely saw."
McCord adds that since Apex's gameplay is so team-based at its core—the revive mechanics, Legend abilities that are useless to solo players, the contextual ping system—Respawn isn't looking to pursue a lone wolf experience at the expense of those aspects. "All these things don't work in Solos, so we don't want to double down on that for many reasons," he concludes.
As for players that want Solos because they want another option for honing their skills and completing challenges, McCord says Respawn will "keep exploring ways to let players do that."
Duos will only remain an option only in the unranked "Play Apex" queues, while ranked mode will continue to be a Trios playlist with a fixed map for each split in the season.
McCord and Lead Game Designer Carlos Pineda also cover the rest of the changes introduced to Apex today, ranging from the Bloodhound-themed event and takeover on World's Edge to permanent map rotations and buffs to Revenant and Lifeline. Of special note: the nighttime version of Kings Canyon is also in the new map rotation, and new blue supply chests scattered around the maps feature special compartments that only Lifeline players can open up.
This current season of Apex still has a few weeks left, and it looks pretty different from how it did in February when Revenant was introduced in his relatively underpowered state. Now he's got better abilities, Kings Canyon is back for good, and you'll always have the option to play in pairs—just don't hold your breath for Solos.