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Why Apex Legends' Broken Moon Map Changes Took Longer Than Usual

Respawn is destroying the central landmark of Broken Moon to make room for the new Quarantine Zone.


When Apex Legends Season 21 kicks off next week, the game's fifth battle royale map, Broken Moon, will finally be getting a facelift. This is the longest any battle royale map in Apex Legends has gone without a major update, as every other map has gotten a permanent layout change within two seasons of launching. Broken Moon, which was added in Season 15, is only now getting new point of interest landmarks and adjustments to the environment--that's six seasons later.

"We've been working hard on a lot of content," Apex Legends lead level designer Steve Young told me when I asked why adjustments for Broken Moon took longer than usual. "I think on the map side of things--and obviously Broken Moon is not the only thing that we've been focused on, but to that end--I would say that this is a pretty heavy lift as far as the changes that you're going to see. And yeah, it's been a long journey, but I'm really happy personally with where Broken Moon is, and I honestly think that fans are going to dig it too. [Also,] we have a lot of active maps right now. These are very detailed maps and we have to keep up with all of them and develop new maps on the side."

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The most notable adjustment to Broken Moon is the destruction of Promenade, the centralmost POI that acts as a major chokepoint given its long, snake-like structure. It's not uncommon to find yourself contending with three or four other squads (or more!) if you decide to rotate through that location in the latter half of a match because that's when a lot of people choose to do so (or are forced to depending how the ring is closing). This has led many players to actively avoid the landmark altogether. In Promenade's place, Broken Moon is getting a brand-new POI called Quarantine.

"Since we basically nuked Promenade--which I assume a lot of people may be happy about, I don't know, but maybe--the whole center of the map had to receive a pretty significant update," Young said. "Which means that rotations and chokes and all the connective tissue [of the map] is much more intentional and intuitive, and that's all to accommodate the redesigned center of the map, the Quarantine zone."

Goodbye Promenade, and hello Quarantine.
Goodbye Promenade, and hello Quarantine.

Broken Moon has a unique form of transportation known as zip rails--long, yellow rails that curve and twist around the map. If you grab one, you're propelled along the line, gradually picking up speed. Their primary purpose is to aid squads in moving about the outskirts of the (frankly, too big) map before the first ring starts closing. In addition, all the rail tracks eventually funnel toward the center, helping squads get from one half of the map to the other. Previously, that meant all roads lead to Promenade. Not anymore.

[Zip rails] used to bleed into the center and kind of funnel everyone there," Young said. "And so yeah, a lot of those have been removed and it is hard to call out specifics, but let's just say all of the connective tissue has received a pretty significant update across the map, but especially leading into the new Quarantine zone. And then we have, in my opinion, the most creative and fun use of zip rails in the Quarantine zone itself, specifically right now. They're designed primarily as a rotational tool within the POI because it's a lot faster paced, but it's more... controlled chaos, I guess, is a good way of putting it. You're now going to be able to identify threats and formulate a strategy for how to navigate through there. So you can either use the zip rails within the POI--they're only contained within the POI--to either rotate or if you just want to make a really big spectacular play off them, that's easy to do now too. Well, easy if you're like [Apex Legends balance game designer] John Larson."

There will be smaller POIs added to the map to fill empty space.
There will be smaller POIs added to the map to fill empty space.

The narrative reasoning for Quarantine's addition is that after Apex Legends' third map, Olympus, collided with Broken Moon and destroyed Promenade, alien eggs of an unknown species were discovered and the location was coordinated off. Badly, evidently, if the legends are still using the space as a battleground for their blood sport but that's neither here nor there. Regardless, I asked if this might hint at future PvE elements coming to Broken Moon, similar to the prowler dens and spider nests on Storm Point.

"No," Young responded, chuckling. "It helps contextualize the containment zone area that was set up, so the eggs themselves are within these storage containers that you can look at. I'm just trying to hype up how ridiculous the biome update is because it genuinely looks and feels like a brand-new map, and that was one reason I was calling [the eggs] specifically out, but now I'm realizing I need to be a little bit more careful."

Alongside Quarantine, Broken Moon is receiving several smaller adjustments across the map, as well as the addition of a few smaller POIs injected between the larger ones. The map is also getting a cosmetic facelift--the gentle greens and pinks of grass and shrubbery will transform into sharp reds and purples, and the previously clear skies will now look like Broken Moon has been transported to another, more alien realm in the Titanfall multiverse, likely in reference to Season 21's new playable legend, Alter, a tiefling-looking villain who can walk through walls.

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