Apex Legends battle royale is real, free, and out now

Aside from teasing Jedi: Fallen Order, Respawn Entertainment has been quiet since Titanfall 2‘s release in November 2016. However, today the studio revealed what it has been working on in the ensuing years. Apex Legends is a free-to-play battle royale game set in the Titanfall universe on the PS4, Xbox One, and PC via Origin. Even more surprisingly, it’s out right now.

The game was revealed with a Fortnite-like cel-shaded cinematic trailer and a 15-minute gameplay reveal. The big innovation for this particular battle royale is the inclusion of Overwatch-like hero characters, who are the “Legends” of the title. There are currently eight of them in the game, and players choose the Legend they want when they begin a match.

These player characters are distinct and have unique special abilities. For example, Bloodhound is a tracker who can see recent enemy activity and footprints. Lifeline is a medic who can shield and revive teammates. Mirage (one of the Nathan Fillion-like stars of the cinematic trailer) has holographic technology and the ability to create illusions, such as copies of himself.

“Our goal in every game you play is that you come in with a plan but you leave with a story,” said Drew McCoy, the Lead Producer on Apex Legends. “We’re building a game that is not only going to deliver a fun and memorable experience at launch, but something we can keep growing for a long time to come.”

While Apex Legends is out now, the game will follow a Fortnite-like season release model, with the first season scheduled to kick off in March and will feature new weapons, new Legends, new skins and more. It will also have a Battle Pass to allow players to gain access to exclusive cosmetic items, which are all earned through gameplay.

As The Express previously reported, this mode will feature 60 players and will be strictly squad-based, with teams of three jumping into the battlefield and working together, with each player having certain roles to fill. Players can ping useful items and information to their other teammates, highlight threats, and even tell them which way you think the team should go. Apex Legends also introduces “Respawn Beacons,” one-off items that teammates can use, along with a special Banner that defeated players drop, in order to bring that player back to life.

There is only one map currently available for Apex Legends, called “Kings Canyon,” and is “a deadly playground full of abandoned military installations and encroaching nature,” as the Playstation Blog reported. As per usual with battle royale games, the outside of the map is surrounded by a giant fiery ring that shrinks throughout the match, damaging and eventually killing players that venture outside it.

Players still drop in, but as teamwork is more important in Apex Legends than it is in other battle royale games, the new “Jumpmaster” system allows teams full control over exactly where they drop on the map. Kings Canyon also contains various interactive features for players to use to get the jump on opponents, such as towers that throw you into the air (and allow you to handglide back down), and Hot Zones that offer higher-tier loot if you can get there before other people.

Apex Legends has been rumored for a few days now. EA allegedly threw an event for streamers and YouTubers to get a sneak preview at the game, which is likely how an anonymous tipster notified Kotaku. While the trailer didn’t give us much of a peek at the game, the person told Kotaku that it “plays like Titanfall mixed with Overwatch and Blackout from Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.” Possibly the most interesting fact about the game is, despite if being set in the Titanfall universe, it won’t feature the series’ signature Titans at all, which is probably why the game is ditching the Titanfall IP in the title.

Kotaku also reported that this game is being made as a stopgap so that Respawn can put together a better, more modern engine. Titanfall 2 ran on the Source engine, which have begun to show its age when the next numbered sequel would release. While Apex Legends is said to also be on the Source engine, it gives more time to Respawn to make sure that Titanfall 3 runs on a newer engine when it comes out.

It was originally internally slated for a 2018 launch, as a later release would begin to reveal how dated the tech was. Titanfall 3 still has not been officially announced nor does it have a new rumored release date. Apex Legends, on the other hand, is available to play right now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC via EA’s Origin client.