Battle royale game Apex Legends to run for '10-15 more years'

Originally published at: Battle royale game Apex Legends to run for '10-15 more years' | Boing Boing

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Narrator: It won’t.

Bless the optimism of everyone in tech (my field) but being accurate about the future is definitely not one of our strengths. Will “the kids” want to play a game that’s so old?

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10-15 years before I have to find a different game, thanks Respawn.

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Given the continued popularity of CounterStrike I’d say there’s a chance, but given that it’s also the only example of that kind of longevity, I’d say it’s a slim one. (Yes, there’s also StarCraft, but that’s kind of dying or at least relegated to a niche at this point.)

On the other hand, I’d say there’s a strong argument to be made against the author’s sentiments here. Is this based largely on a corporate desire for profits? Absolutely, no doubt. But at least this is a pretty good game with continued success over several years, unlike the vast majority of attempts at inventing an e-sport. And that term is the key here: Apex is an e-sport more than it is a game. What does that mean? Mainly that the focus is on competitive play (yes, even for casuals), not story or aesthetics or anything else. (To be clear: I am in no way saying those elements are unimportant - far, far from it - only that they are subservient to maintaining a relatively cohesive feeling of playing the same-ish game.) And, as a sport, the activity is the core, and continuity allows for development of community, skill, tactical understandings, and more. Of course rules, mechanics, aesthetics and more will be tweaked along the way, and as with all corporate IPs these days we’ll nol doubt see a plethora of cash grab paratextual products launched to capitalize on the player base. But none of that is an argument against the core good of keeping the sport playable. The existence of capitalist exploitation of a sport doesn’t fundamentally undermine the core element of play being enjoyable. It can, but that takes serious effort to achieve.

Would it be better if the game was abandoned? Obviously not. Would it be better if it was shuttered, with the code being open sourced and dedicated server software made available? In some sense, sure, but in the mid-to-long term the game would die.

Me? I’d rather see players still playing Apex in a decade than see another decade of half-assed, cash-grab, me-too attempts at reinventing the e-sport shooter wheel while incorporating elements of the multiplayer trend du jour.

Doubtful. I’m an avid Destiny 2 player and the game going into it’s 6th year (9 if you include Destiny 1) is showing it cracks. The game at a technical level is basically being held together with duct tape and zip ties, it’s difficult for new players to wrap their head around the basics, hard choices were made to keep file sizes in check over the years that drew ire and reverberations from decisions made years ago with regards to power creep and economy are still being felt today. Plus Bungie moved much of the staff to other projects (the rumored Marathon reboot and D3) ahead of the possible final year of D2.

Apex is a much more straightforward game than it but much of the same thing could apply. Trends change all the time at one time EA’s Battlefield games were the main competitor to CoD but now it’s Apex because of CoD’s dive into the world of the FPS battle royale. I mean Team Fortress 2 is still around but not really being updated anymore. It’s about what the game companies find profitable in the near future.

Also @Valantar , there has been rumors of a new CS:GO game in the works.

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I think you’ve got a bit of a point, but I also think you’re underestimating the difference in play styles/genres between those games. Destiny’s struggles are largely tied into it being a mission-based game centered around a narrative core - which means that every new development, every new expansion and DLC, needs to be rooted in the fiction of the game in a somewhat cohesive way, and large changes in mechanics or even rebalancing can be hard to incorporate. Adding in new game modes after the fact becomes an exercise in seeing just how much retconning the player base is willing to accept before it puts them off.

Apex is kind of brilliant in being an in-fiction sport - an arena fight within the fictional world. This gives the developers tons and tons and tons of leeway for changing how things work, while simultaneously lowering the requirements for fictional/narrative cohesion and continuity. It’s more complex than CS’s utterly generic ‘cops v robbers with cash rewards for killing, and either bombs or hostages’ structure, but it’s still infinitely more flexible than Destiny. Want to make a new arena? No problem - it’s a new arena in a new place in the larger fictional universe. New weapons? Same. New character skins? Same. New mechanics? No problem. New game modes? Same. Again: basing the game fiction on “the available gamworld is a sports arena, it’s all constructed for play” gives an inherent flexibility that gives tons and tons and tons of leeway for changes. And that has massively more potential for continued use than anything that needs to fit within a semi-cohesive overall fiction.

As for a new CS:GO, I wouldn’t be surprised - it’s about time Valve made another of their twice-a-decade, half-assed attempts at game development, and no doubt someone there has some kind of ideas to drum up renewed interest around CS.

What the naive but hopeful part of me sees from this is that maybe Apex cash can allow Respawn to make another Titanfall, or maybe something new entirely, using profits from an existing success to shore up a massively expensive gamble. But knowing how conservative and profit oriented the industry is, I doubt this will actually happen.

I understand Apex is exclusively an straightforward, easy to understand pvp game while D2 is various differing modes of pvp, pve and pvevp that are a pain to balance because one affects the others (which is one of the reasons why Gambit has been left alone in the later years). Getting pvp players who don’t like banging their heads against a wall to play Grandmaster Nightfalls to try to get a roll of a weapon that does wonders in pvp is a challenge. Convincing pve players to go though getting their genitals getting constantly hit by a bag full of rocks trying to get an adept roll on the most powerful smg in the game’s recent memory by winning 7 games straight without losing a single match in the game’s sweatiest pvp mode last week is a miracle… until the gun gets nerfed straight off a cliff in a few weeks thanks to everyone who got it and started to complain about it.

Plus I realize after years of D1 and D2 how lore outside of a game can be a strength and weakness. Riot and Blizzard knows these things as well. Story wise for D2 things are looking grim. Lightfall’s story has been poorly received (although this season’s story has been decent), the strength of the previous year’s stories was well received mostly due to the story beats surrounding storylines revolving around Zavala. Bungie grew dependent on Lance Reddick’s performances who happened to be very avid player of the game too. He even played the game the night before he passed away. So things went from bad to worse with the news of his passing for the story team.

What i’m saying is live service games have a defined lifespan before they peter off. Most of them don’t make it as nearly long as what Bungie & Respawn have pulled off and their corporate execs know they can’t last forever.

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Likely, probably not. But there’s definitely precedent.

This is silly in my view for many reasons. First, tastes CHANGE. Remember when every game developer was trying to muscle in on the RTS genre in the late 90s and early 2000s? Now, we’re lucky if one mid level development firm makes one. Same with FPS games, most have morphed into Live Services or turned back into boomer shooters (GZ Doom mods, updates on the genre like Doom and Doom Eternal, or Build Engine games of some sort). Second, as some have mentioned with respect to similar Live Services games, the technical debt that accumulates with games is about as bad as it with non-game software or possibly worse since the pressure to deliver sooner rather than later is favored in the game development industry. I really think companies that think they can live off of rentier models need to rethink their position, especially with regard to games and other forms of entertainment.

PoE is showing its age and that’s probably why PoE 2 is taking so long since they’re basically rebuilding the game from scratch and trying desperately to keep many years of league mechanics that were added to core at the same time as they make new mechanics. These aren’t two things you should mix. GGG should admit they’re wrong and focus on a minimum viable product (i.e. the improvements to gameplay and visuals) then round back to reimplementing legacy league mechanics such as delving and the like.

… Nothing about Fortnite? Or does that not count?

Well would you look at that hhahahaaha


Live service games definitely have a limited life span, no doubt about that. But that also kind of goes to the core of my argument: Apex isn’t fundamentally a live service game - it doesn’t need continuous updating and new content and expansions to keep being fun, entertaining, or just a good experience with your friends. And this is the specific outcome of the relative simplicity of its ludofictional framing that I tried to sketch out in the previous post. Contrast this to Destiny, which as you say is trying to be a ton of things at once - and frankly at least three quite separate games wrapped into one, though arguably more - and you have a problem where you keep needing to add to it for it all to make some semblance of sense to players. If nothing was done to Apex for the next few years outside of bugfixes and work for future hardware compatibility, you’d likely still have a significant player base there simply because the game has a low threshold to entry, is easily graspable, and works as a cohesive whole. Something like Destiny with a lack of expansions and updates would likely quickly enter a death spiral of players losing interest as the complexity of the game requires developer work to keep players engaged and interested to a far higher degree. PVE focused players would need new challenges; PVP focused players would need a more fine-tuned experience, and it doesn’t seem to me like Destiny has very good PVP player recruitment or retention (though my impression here is definitely not based on much). If the idea is “recruit long-term PVP players through PVE experiences”, then that requires both a constant flow of new and interesting PVE experiences while ensuring PVP is compelling for those more interested in that, alongside making the transition between the two accessible (which is a huge challenge, well known to anyone who tried playig Diablo II PVP back in the day!).

And yeah, I saw the CS2 announcement - which IMO supports my argument. How? Through how the main message of the launch is “we’re changing as little as possible”, with everything carrying over for players, but it gets a graphical overhaul (though likely not that much of one given that this is a game where people actually see benefits from those 240Hz and 360Hz monitors, and producing those framerates at a much higher fidelity will be too demanding) and some under-the-hood improvements that will mostly benefit the e-sports crowd. To me this has the feel of a football team building a new stadium - you get updated infrastructure, better seating, probably better training facilities and wardrobes and stuff, but the pitch won’t change much, the rules of the game will be the same. The experience of play will absolutely change for both players and spectators, but (assuming the old stadium wasn’t falling to pieces) the change is mostly luxury and creature comforts, not a fundamental necessity for the longevity of enjoying the game.

And, again: CS isn’t a live service game at its core. It’s a team-based competitive multiplayer shooter. The only need for continued updates for it is bug fixes and hardware compatibility. There is no need for expansions or additions to keep the game compelling in that sense, as long as it works as a team-based competitive multiplayer shooter. And the same is mostly true for Apex. IMO, part of what separates Apex and something like Destiny is that Apex is, for the most part, an e-sport - a relatively simplified and delimited experience focused on a few core elements. Destiny is a sprawling … thing with far more range, but also far less focus. To me, it’s pretty self-explanatory that the former is more suited to repeat play than the latter, and the latter has a higher need for follow-up content to stay interesting to players.

Which is why I think the OP’s outright rejection of any thought of Apex having staying power is far too harsh. Apex has already shown that it has staying power. Does it have a decade more? Who knows? It does absolutely sound optimistic - very few games stay popular for that long - but it’s possible, sure. Me? I’m glad to see a popular multiplayer game not being abandoned. IMO, developers abandoning games, rendering them unplayable, is a far bigger problem than someone having over-ambitious goals for longevity, even if that does come with the obvious downsides of “”“needing”“” mtx to stay afloat.

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