Video game Apex Legends is finally expanding from team play to include solo options for gamers who want to go it alone. Respawn's free-to-play Titanfall spinoff, Apex Legends, has emerged as one of the most acclaimed and beloved battle royale games on the market, standing alongside huge titles like Fortnite, PUBG, and Call of Duty: Blackout.
At launch, Apex Legends was defined by its dedication to strategic, squad-based play. With a selection of varied classes, each with specialized skills, it was up to players to find the best combinations of characters to maximize their team's tactical potential. Combined with the one-life tension of the battle royale genre and the tried-and-true shooting mechanics perfected by developer Respawn Entertainment, Apex Legends made waves with its unique approach to the popular genre.
Now, six months after launch, Respawn and publisher EA are shaking things up with the addition of solo play for Apex Legends. In addition to the standard three-person teams, a new mode has been added to the game as part of the two-week "Iron Crown" event. The self-explanatory solo mode features 60 players in a winner-takes-all battle royale. The mode is said to be temporary, but Respawn is suggesting it may become a permanent fixture, perhaps if it becomes popular enough.
Solo play is just one facet of the Iron Crown collection event. The coastal village area in Kings Canyon, west of Skull Town, has been completely redesigned to match the personality of Octane, AL's resident thrillseeker. The new flaming rings, boost pads, and big jumps should make heated gun battles in "Octane Town" particularly exhilarating. Even following the end of Iron Crown, Octane Town will remain a permanent fixture of Apex Legends' map.
Of course, Iron Crown also includes a bunch of new weapon skins, player skins, and Iron Crown Collection Packs, loot boxes that promise a fixed pool of top-tier loot for players who complete specific challenges (or buy them with real money - it is still a free-to-play game, after all). The new player skins are particularly noteworthy, since Apex Legends was criticized at launch for its unimaginative alternate skins, which were usually low-key palette swaps rather than drastic redesigns.
The battle royale market is fiercely competitive right now, and the pillars of the genre work tirelessly to keep adding new features to the game at a breakneck pace, lest they find themselves accused of being lazy or otherwise slow on the draw. This pressure to perform usually comes at great cost to the developers, who are worked to the bone during seemingly endless periods of crunch. This crunch is becoming increasingly accepted as a cultural norm in the era of "games as service" titles, but time will tell how it all shakes out in the long run.
The Iron Crown Collection event in Apex Legends is out now, and will run until Tuesday, August 27.