Respawn took the radical step of banning voice communication during their internal testing of the Apex Legends‘ ping system. Fake names were also used to replicate the experience of playing with random players.
Apex Legends is off to a flying start and this has led to a wave of admiration for how the game has introduced new concepts to the battle royale genre, as well as how it’s reinvented tried and tested mechanics. In response to a tweet praising design choices, the Apex Legends Twitter account revealed some information about how the “Smart Comms” system was tested.
The Apex Legends ping system provides an accessible way for players to communicate across abilities and languages. The ping system’s simplicity is what makes it great. The mechanic itself adapts contextually to the item the player wants to interact with. You ping an enemy, your character will call out they’ve spotted someone. You ping a supply crate, your character will call out that you’ve spotted items. All with the click of one button.
Other tweaks to the format by Respawn have attracted praise too. Apex Legends keeps players together when dropping to the map. The game basically makes players have to opt-out of sticking together, which in my experience is not an option taken often.
Apex Legends’ approach to respawning is inspired. Players are required to balance the risk and reward of retrieving a player banner and delivering it to a respawning location. More often than not this can be a game-changer and brings added interest for players left spectating after a death.
While getting to grips with the basics of Apex Legends, players are already looking for the tips and tricks needed to best utilize these innovative mechanics. More clever ways to combine abilities are sure to come. When they do, it will be interesting to see if Respawn has any more nuggets of information regarding development. Beyond it being in the company’s name, it would be fascinating to find out how the Apex Legends team decided to introduce respawning in such a manner.