Respawn has made a name for itself as a developer willing to take risks and innovate on what it’s good at. In 2019, we saw the studio tackle a live service battle royale game with Apex Legends, a genre that Respawn hadn’t broached before. Rather than simply emulate what had worked for other developers in the past, Respawn crafted its own style of battle royale with a narrative focus–and in the process, it began creating a true episodic game.
With the start of Season 5: Fortune’s Favor and the addition of Quest mode, Respawn is leaning further into this categorization and trying to be more experimentative as a whole. For the first time, the developer removed an iconic portion of the game’s map and implemented character balancing changes that weren’t straight buffs or nerfs. And according to Respawn, it’s worked out very well so far.
Apex Legends News
The Quest To Be More Episodic
Traditionally, episodic games resemble Telltale’s The Walking Dead or Life is Strange, but these games are more akin to streaming service binge culture. Most streaming services traditionally release entire seasons of a show at once for you to binge through with several months between each chunk. Similarly, episodes of games like The Walking Dead or Life is Strange are usually two to three hours long–you can digest each one in a single sitting like a TV show episode but once you do, you don’t get any more of the story for months. Prior to Season 5, Apex Legends told its story in much smaller pieces, with tidbits of lore or narrative given to the player through season launch trailers, Stories from the Outlands episodes, tweets, battle pass rewards, and unlockable legend intro and kill quips. Pieces of the story were delivered to you a lot more quickly, like a weekly TV show.