Adjusting Apex Legends' Maps Based On Fan Feedback Has Been A "Benefit For Us," Says Design Director
When Apex Legends only had two maps, Respawn had to quickly design new changes for them without knowing what players wanted.
In the Apex Devstream for Apex Legends' upcoming Genesis event, Respawn revealed that it's been much easier for the team to make adjustments to the battle royale game's maps since Season 7. With three maps now in rotation in Apex Legends, Respawn can take a whole season to discuss how a map should be altered based on community feedback.
"We only had Kings Canyon at first," design director Jason McCord said during the stream. "In Season 2, we needed to do a map update--I was working on that, probably pre-launch of the whole game. So I didn't know what to tackle--besides our own playtests--for what I would change, what the designers wanted, and whatever everyone else would want to see different."
McCord went on to say that he had to make "blind assumptions" in those early days, hoping to correctly guess what players would want to see changed based on little available data. "Which is really scary," he said.
These decisions can't be pre-planned either as Respawn does not design Apex Legends' maps with future adjustments and changes in mind. "Everyone has ideas while we're working on the [map]--like, maybe later, sometime down the line, we can do this cool idea that they have," McCord said. "But generally, a map is so much effort that everyone is just really focused on making that first [iteration] good."
The addition of World's Edge in Season 3 didn't help in alleviating the problem too much, McCord continued. With previous seasons taking place on Kings Canyon, it was decided that World's Edge would get the update in Season 4. According to McCord, that meant, "We have to start working on it before World's Edge even launches. So we don't really know what to change--we don't know what the community wants us to change."
"Now we're in a better position where we've got more maps. So we saw Olympus come out in Season 7. And we thought about doing map updates for Olympus in Season 8 but we thought, 'Why don't we take a beat, and let the community talk about it, let us figure out what we like about it. We'll go back to Kings Canyon for Season 8, and then come back to Olympus for Season 9.' That's been a really good benefit for us, to actually adjust the maps based on what the community thinks instead of what our gut is."
Beginning June 29, Genesis is a limited-time event that temporarily reverts Kings Canyon back to how it appeared when Apex Legends first launched and World's Edge back to how it first appeared in Season 3. The event also sees Kings Canyon's Skull Town landmark (which was destroyed in Season 5) return as a new map in Apex Legends' new PvP Arenas mode, and several balancing adjustments to certain characters and weapons. All of the changes are listed in the Apex Legends Genesis patch notes.
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