July 22, 2024

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The creators of Apex Legends: “We want our game to be played from generation to generation” |  games

The creators of Apex Legends: “We want our game to be played from generation to generation” | games

Video game interviewFour years ago, “Apex Legends” entered the market as a competitor to the fantastic “Fortnite”, which suddenly swept billions together. But after fifteen “seasons,” the game has found its own path: away from the “childish” fun of a big opponent, and more towards harder, more competitive hitting. But at the same time, it’s also time to bring in new players, say game director Steve Ferreira and design director Ivan Nikolic.

You just have to dare: four years after you launched your online game, suddenly change things entirely. With preparation matches that new players can become proficient with first. And with a new class system that is more in line with well-known classes from the world of esports: the 23 Legends that matter to the game are now divided into Assault, Skirmisher, Recon, Controller and Support. When you realize that character classes are one of the most central components of any game (at least: the kind of games that have character classes), you also know that flipping something like this is a brave, effort-intensive move.

“We want Apex to be a more accessible and interesting game that can easily attract new players after hearing it from their friends,” design director Ivan Nikolic told HLN. “There is an influx of new players who are now getting to the age where they want to play their first shootout. Also at this point, as I like to call it, we have to maintain the garden a bit. All the major plants have been planted, the groundwork is laid. We have a very healthy ecosystem Now we have to take care of it. Get rid of some weeds. Trim some trees. Plant some new things here and there. This is our philosophy for the near future.”

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Steve Ferreira, Game Director: “The game has become so big that we have to look forward and backward. One of the things we hear a lot from gamers is that it looks so much fun, but it’s now so much harder to ‘get into it’ than it was four years ago when everyone started on the same foot.” So now we’re updating on two levels: we’re raising the bar in terms of competition, but we’re also providing a better starting point for new players.”

Image from Apex Legends. © Electronic Arts

Figuring out the gist of a live online game must have been a chore, I can imagine.

Ferreira: “There were many domino effects. You move something small, and a lot of other things get affected by that change. It takes more time to playtest, and more attention to fine tuning something when the game is as big and competitive as it is now. It can have changes.” Minor ones have a very big impact.”

About four years ago, “Apex Legends” was introduced as a kind of competitor to “Fortnite”. How do you think the two games compare today?

Nikolic: “I think ‘Fortnite’ now basically wants to become a metaverse, something very inclusive. ‘Apex Legends’ aims to be the best competitive game in the world. Not just the best competitive shooter, but the best competitive game, period. We’re leaning more towards building a game that’s highly competitive, team-oriented, and feels very much like a sport. As Fortnite gets broader and broader in scope, we try to dig deeper. Apex wants to be an ongoing hobby that people pass on to their kids. You watch games like League of Legends or Counter-Strike, which has been around for a decade or two now. There are now people who teach their children these games. We also want to be such a hobby that is passed down from generation to generation.”

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Game director Stephen Ferreira.
Game director Stephen Ferreira. © RV

Apex Legends also has an entirely different kind of humor: it’s way more rowdy than Fortnite.

Ferreira: “That humor is part of the personality of our game. In the first year, we knew from player feedback that it was a much more important part of the formula than we actually expected. Normally in these types of games, the story isn’t something people care too much about. And of course: the gameplay He is king when we do something within “Apex”. But a close second in the process is the kind of fantasy we make him with. Players need to have fun, but they also need to feel like this is a wonderful world that they can relate to for the long haul. There needs to be a deeper connection It’s just fun. I see the gameplay, the player’s imagination, and the unique personality as a kind of holy trinity. You can only build an authentic experience if you allow those three to work well together.”

Last September your studio took action against online harassment of your developers by some nasty members of the community. What about that?

Ferreira: It’s just a dynamic, ongoing process. It’s important to us that our team feels safe at work, that developers don’t feel like they can’t make some decisions, that they can’t do what they think is their best work because they’re being bullied. We also want people to feel they are enjoying their work. Online harassment undermines everything we do to give them that kind of empowerment. Not only is it bad from an obvious human perspective, it’s also bad for the game.”

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Design Director Ivan Nikolic.
Design Director Ivan Nikolic. © Electronic Arts

Where do you see Apex Legends six years from now, on its 10th anniversary?

Ferreira: “I can’t paint a picture of that right away, but I have no doubt that it will be very different from today. The rate of change and development that the game is currently undergoing, at least in the next few years for which we have already set a course, is exponential. But it will still be at Its essence is the same competitive experience it has been since day one.”

Nikolic: “Not only will the game evolve, but so will the team behind it. We’ll get to a point sometime in the next few years where new people know ‘Apex Legends’ really well because they played it for thousands of hours as a student. When those people are gradually integrated, they bring Also a whole new perspective.”