Is Apex Legends the New Fortnite?

If you’ve been hearing less of the word “Fortnite” being tossed around lately, you’re not the only one. A new video game called “Apex Legends” has swept the gaming world off its feet and could be putting an end to the Fortnite hype.

Developed by Respawn Entertainment, "Apex Legends" was virtually unheard of before its launch on February 5 this year. According to the CEO of Respawn Vince Zampella, since then the game has gained 25 million players within its first week. By contrast, similar online multiplayer game “Fortnite” had only about 2 million players during the first week of its initial release in 2017.

"Apex Legends" is a Battle Royale game, a sub genre of competitive online multiplayer games, popularized by earlier titles such as "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds" (PUBG) and later "Fortnite." Battle Royale games consist of setting up a large number of players against each other in a continually shrinking map. In both "Apex Legends" and “Fortnite,” teams start the game by skydiving into each match and fighting for survival. In both games, players start off with nothing, and have to procure weapons and items around the game world while taking down opponents to see which team will be the last standing, and crowned champion.

However, the two games have their differences as well. “Apex Legends” is considered a “hero-based” game — players take on the role of one of eight hero characters, whereas “Fortnite” has many customizable characters to choose from (and purchase). Santa Monica College (SMC) student Curtis Crowe says he prefers “Apex” because it allows for more “player individuality” since “each character has different abilities as opposed to Fortnite where everyone is the same, the only changes between players are cosmetic.”

David Javelosa, a Game Development and Design teacher at SMC, also points out that “Apex” is strictly team-based, requiring three-person teams. “Fortnite,” on the other hand, “leaves more room for solo action and one-on-one Battle Royale.” Another immense difference between the games is that “Apex” has no building aspect, whereas “Fortnite,” although the main objective of the game is to take out other players, it is known for its creative building aspect. Javelosa explained that “Fortnite” has been attracting “Minecraft” players because of the building factor yet “Apex” is attracting more “Call of Duty” and “Overwatch” players from this generation because of the gaming style and mechanics.

Due to Apex’s astronomical success, shares of its publisher EA Games went up 8.5 percent on February 12, after they announced that their new game had 25 million players. Since it took “Fortnite” three months to see 30 million players, EA may be giving their competitor Epic Games a run for their money in the months to come. On March 2019 “Apex” is expected to unveil its "battle pass" which is supposed to work similarly “Fortnite's" battle pass feature, but will have free and premium models that will enable gamers to unlock different weapons and characters. Twitch, a live-stream gaming network, is also seeing a change in numbers as “Fortnite” was finally de-throned from the number one spot. As of February 8, just three days after its release, “Apex Legends” is in the first slot on streaming website Twitch with the most views, “Fortnite” is currently in the fifth slot. SMC student Curtis Crowe, said that he would “prefer to watch a professional game of Apex, because the use of the abilities leaves each player with more room for individual creative potential.” Crowe admitted that he used to watch “Fortnite” games on Twitch, but that they would “get boring quickly.”

“Fortnite” has had a long, extremely successful run so far with more than 200 million players, as much as people may be done with hearing about this game, “Fortnite” won’t be disappearing just yet. Nevertheless, “Apex Legends” did steal its spotlight and it won’t stop shining for a while, it’s just the beginning.