Blog - February 5, 2024

Legends get mid-match upgrades to Apex season 20 in ‘biggest change since launch’

Season 20 of Apex Legends, Breakout, gives Respawn a chance to redefine gaming going forward. To that end, legends themselves will get a new mid-match upgrade system when it launches on February 13, which the developer marks as the biggest development since launch. eye.

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This evolution — dubbed the legendary upgrade system — will be tied directly to the player’s Evo shield level, which is now no longer a lootable item but instead becomes a your permanent equipment from the beginning of the match. When players upgrade their shield in season 20, it not only improves the shield’s power, but also allows them to choose between one of two unique boosts to their gear legendary.

Valkryie, Horizon, and Newcastle flee from an artillery attack while wearing their Final Fantasy costumes.The moment-to-moment gaming experience will be significantly different in Breakout. Image via Respawn Entertainment

As design director Evan Nikolich said at a recent press event, this is “the biggest change since launch” for Topits gameplay and represents a bold new direction for the legendary sandbox.

“To provide some context on how we got here, every battle royale match is different,” game designer John Larson explains. “Every decision you make from the moment you exit the dropship affects the outcome of your match.” However, until Breakout, this was only true for components like loot and your drops. “Choosing a legend is a decision you commit to before the game even starts,” he said. “In doing so, you have chosen to participate in a fixed set of capabilities.”

Those core abilities will remain the same with this new legendary upgrade system, but additional features will be available throughout the match that will allow players to power up their legends with passive bonuses. New animations or minor tweaks to their kit. “Ultimately, the goal of the upgrade system is to allow players to go deeper with legendary mastery and versatility,” said Larson. Respawn wants to create a “more intimate and dynamic gameplay experience” with each match for legends.

We were shown some examples of what this looks like. In one, Gibraltar players can choose between an upgrade that will make his Protective Dome smaller but with a faster cooldown, and a second upgrade that increases the bubble’s duration. In another example, the upgrades players can choose from are less lore-specific – one upgrade helps players revive allies, and the other gives the shotgun an auto-reload feature again when you defeat an enemy.

Players will only receive two of these opportunities per match, meaning every legend in the cast will have a total of four upgrades to choose from. This allows Respawn to add more depth to each legendary, but the limited scope of the system means players won’t have to learn hundreds of potential new ways that opposing players may have upgraded themselves before fight.

“In general, two decision-making moments will occur early to mid-game,” he said. “The sooner you start taking action or supporting your team or taking advantage of your class perks, the faster you’ll get Evos and climb your upgrade path.”

However, adding legendary upgrades isn’t just about evolution and versatility. As Larson said, the upgrades add “another lever” that Respawn can use to tweak legendary balancing. “We now have the ability to modify or outright swap out upgrades to quickly change the meta in a way that doesn’t impact the core gameplay of specific abilities.”

There’s a lot to take in. Even for players who have already played Top As of 2019, Breakout will need to relearn a lot to grasp the new tools on offer and fend off enemy attacks. But for a battle royale game about to enter its fifth year, it’s a series of much-needed new changes that are sure to revitalize the match-by-match experience.

Season 20 of Apex LegendsBreakout, launches on all platforms Tuesday, February 13.