At EA Play today, Respawn Entertainment shared a whole lot of information on what’s coming up for their hit battle royale title Apex Legends. Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez led the presentation and shared the platform with Respawn’s Community Manager Jay Freshette and Project Lead Drew McCoy.
The big news for Apex Legends is the reveal of the game’s tenth Legend, a new character named “Wattson.” Wattson is a female uber-genius with a creative and defensive style of play. The presentation included an animated short to show off this unique new Legend. Wattson will release with Season 2: Battle Charge on July 2nd.
Wattson is the “smartest woman in the Frontier” and her design and kit illustrate that. Senior Game Designer Griffin Dean, Senior Artist Will Cho, and Writer Tom Casiello shared what it was like to work on Wattson and talked about how she fits into the world of the game as well as the Apex meta.
Wattson is an RTS-style character, and the panel dressed that creativity was the ceiling for her effectiveness. If you give Wattson problems, her job is to solve them–and her defensive strengths mean that with strong map knowledge and prior and proper planning, she can “survive the third party meta” in unique ways. Wattson is a disruptive support Legend and does not have to be played in a hyper-aggressive way to be powerful.
In an effort to expand on the lore and world of Apex Legends, Tom Casiello talked about Wattson and her father, explaining that story-wise, Wattson and her father invented the Arena and she “grew up” in it. Wattson is loved–or at least respected–by the other Legends, and she knows the terrain like the back of her hand.
The team also talked about Wattson’s abilities in detail. Wattson’s abilities are interrelated, and her kit shines brightest when the player understands all those interactions. She can build fence nodes on the map and the player has “free reign” to place them how they see fit. The team gets pinged when enemies cross the fences. Wattson also has an Interception Pylon for her Ultimate, increasing defense and charging the team’s shield, and it affects cooldowns based on proximity. Finally, her passive allows Ultimate Accelerants, which will affect the strategic choices of other Legends like Lifeline.
Respawn also talked about Apex Legend‘s “Legendary Hunt” Event, which will last for two weeks and present challenges for players to earn rare, epic, and legendary skins, as well as double XP opportunities and limited-edition skins through challenges. There will be new cosmetic types to acquire too. Badges and basic stat trackers are being removed by Respawn, replaced by three new content categories. Apex Legends’s “Legendary Hunt” event will be active until June 18th.
The team also shared what’s in store for Season 2. The team is learning from Apex Legends‘s first season and making sure that Season 2 lives up to player expectations. Apex Legends was designed as a skill-based, learning and development game and the team wants to enforce that aspect with the inclusion of a Ranked Mode. Ranked Mode will have six tiers and will feature intelligent match-making. There will also be daily and weekly challenges that stack over time, so players pressed for play time can bang out a bunch of them at the end of the month at no penalty.
The new weapon “L-Star” is a crate drop, and the presentation team called it “OP.” This plasma gun is a cameo from Titanfall 2. The dev team is planning on making balance adjustments, and emphasized that the goal is to bring weaker weapons up to par with other stronger options. The presentation team also teased at a “meme-able weapon” when discussing balance tuning.
Respawn likes the “seasonal approach” and is promising “lots at launch” for Season 2, including “new ways to play the game.” They’re also implementing ways to level to 100 faster and more Crafting Material rewards for more player options. Again, Season 2 will launch on July 2nd.
This was Respawn’s second presentation during EA Play today, following the reveal of fifteen minutes of gameplay footage from Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, due to release November 15th of this year.