Respawn designers originally developed a battle-royale mode for Titanfall 2, but chose not to release it, according to Drew McCoy, executive producer of Apex. Like many in the industry two summers ago, Respawn designers were caught up in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, the first widely successful battle-royale game, and developed an every-man-for-himself prototype of Apex.
“It was a really cool new genre that was burgeoning, and we asked, ‘Can we help define it and move it forward and not have it be a flash-in-the-pan game mode,’” McCoy said.
Respawn kept its work on Apex a secret. With the release of the game last month, Electronic Arts paid a number of well-known
fortnite free v bucks generator players, such Tyler Blevins, screen name Ninja, to stream their matches on Twitch and other sites. Since then, Respawn has been battling players who use unauthorized software to cheat in the game, using it to improve their aim, for example. Respawn has kicked off more than 355,000 players and is including ways to quickly report cheating in the newest version of the title.
All of which underscores that a free-to-play game can take as much effort as a traditional one.
“We’ve spent as much time on this as we did on other games, it was actually larger than any previous build,” McCoy said. “We didn’t treat this like a low-cost game.”
Respawn has a colorful history of its own. It was started by Vince Zampella and Jason West, two co-founders of Infinity Ward, a studio owned by Activision Blizzard Inc. and the one responsible for that company’s hit shooting game Call of Duty.
Zampella and West were fired by Activision in a dispute and sued, seeking damages of as much as $1 billion. The parties ultimately settled in 2012 for an undisclosed amount. West has since left Respawn.
Respawn, with 300 employees, still works on traditional console titles — Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order will be out later this year. The success of Apex gives the studio a new level of energy, according to Zampella.
“I think what it signals for us is, in the changing world of games and pricing structures, that we can do something different than what we’ve been done in the past,” he said. “It’s a great thing for the team and morale here.”