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Hot Drop is GameSpot’s weekly Apex Legends column in which Jordan Ramée takes a closer look at Respawn’s battle royale to provide more insight into the game’s evolution and gain insight into its episodic story and characters.

Most aspects of Apex Legends contribute to the game’s story – character design, quest chapters, in-game dialogue between legends, map changes, legendary and mythical cosmetics. Respawn has done a great job of reversing the evolutionary nature of live service games to serve its brand of episodic storytelling. With that in mind, I think we might even consider Apex Legends’ battle pass when we’re talking about the game’s story. Granted, the Battle Pass is just contributing in a fairly simple way, but it’s still cool to see the Battle Pass seem to reinforce the syndicate’s growing corporate presence at Apex Games over the past few seasons as the company strives to make the The public sells blood sports.

Play now: Apex Legends: Hunted Game Trailer

Each Battle Pass in Apex Legends corresponds to a theme, starting with Wild Animals in Season 1 and ending with Safari in Season 14, where Wraith and Caustic even dress up as *sigh* Big game hunter. But when you look back at all the themes, they were noticeably tightened in season 3, and since then they seem to be used as a means of promoting new lore and maps. Battle Passes are of course something that sells players, but the themes also seem to have in-universe functions – in the game, they act as corporate messages from the syndicate, almost as if to unify its marketing to everyone Apex Games’ season, Make hot-blooded sports look more appealing to the audience.

Season 3 is a major shift in that narrative line of thinking. Seasons 1 and 2 are arguably the weakest Battle Pass themes of all seasons. Both passes have cool rewards (especially season 2), but the unifying connective tissue between cosmetic items doesn’t really exist. But then came Season 3, and the Battle Pass revolved around the conflicting forces of ice and fire. This theme is best exemplified in two Legendary skins – Pathfinder’s Frozen which adorns his shell like ice, while Lifeline transforms herself into a hell with heavy makeup with her Ash skin like a succubus.

The Battle Pass matches the design of Season 3’s new map, World’s Edge. Half of World’s Edge is frozen while the other half is consumed by lava pools. Apex Games has moved to a new map after Crypto hit Kings Canyon in Season 2. I think the whole thing sounds like the syndicate is trying to sell World’s Edge to people watching Apex Games. They know people love Kings Canyon, but now, look, the edge of the world is here! A place of fire and ice! Isn’t that cool, everyone? Even legends dressed up for the occasion, and they adorned their weapons with ice and fire themed skins! We will sell toys and replicas!

From Season 3 onwards, each Battle Pass has a clear theme running through every unlockable cosmetic. Season 4 is a simulacrum theme, Season 5 is a treasure hunt, Season 6 is racing cars and vehicle customization, Season 7 embodies high society and the Olympian class, Season 8 is anarchy and rebellion, and Season 9 is Japanese culture, season 10 has insect themes, season 11 is jungle life at Storm Point, season 12 is (sophisticated) motorcycle fashion, season 13 changes legends with medieval fantasy cosmetics, and season 14 is again It’s a safari.

The costumes worn by Legends didn't evolve in the movie trailer, which means the Battle Pass skins are one-off costumes, not regular ones.
The costumes worn by Legends didn’t evolve in the movie trailer, which means the Battle Pass skins are one-off costumes, not regular ones.

Each Battle Pass also has a special “sale” of anything new for the season. For example, Season 5’s treasure hunt theme promotes the mysticism of Loba, a thief who joins Apex Games to find the secret treasure she plans to loot, and Season 9’s Japanese theme welcomes Valkyrie and her culture to Apex Games.

This also explains why legends like Wraith and Pathfinder get more battle pass skins than Caustic or Loba. As Wraith is trying to discover who she is, she may prefer to dress in a different culture in an effort to discover what suits her, and Pathfinder is so easygoing that, of course, whenever the Syndicate asks, he dresses up. At the same time, Caustic isn’t someone who likes to dress up unless he has to, and Loba is so in tune with her good looks and fashion that she’ll only attend things that are considered cool. Coincidentally, most Legendaries who want to dress up or feel the need to dress up usually also get new skins in the Battle Pass.

To welcome Vantage to the Apex Games, legends dress in hunting attire or take on the role of big game hunters.
To welcome Vantage to the Apex Games, legends dress in hunting attire or take on the role of big game hunters.

Am I thinking too much? perhaps. Is Respawn focusing on more cohesive themes, more about selling these cosmetic items and new lore/maps to us, players, than syndicates trying to sell Apex games to fans? Maybe. Do legends like Wraith and Pathfinder have more battle pass skins than legends like Caustic and Loba, since Wraith and Pathfinder are the most played characters and therefore more likely to sell battle pass? 100%. But, who else said that?

Anyway, imagine that the Apex Legends writing team was involved in why the Apex Legends combat experience took such a sudden turn in Season 3 and evolved in a way that seemed like someone was trying, that didn’t change the way the new lore and map ( and Apex Games in general) sold to a fan base who, at one point, grew increasingly disappointed with the bloody level of the blood campaign. The whole contest is now very spectator friendly, with contestants wearing ridiculous costumes and shooting each other with guns that usually don’t look like guns anymore. It’s not the strangest thing about Respawn’s efforts to change the format of the live service battle royale in favor of its character-driven story.

The products discussed here have been independently selected by our editors. GameSpot may share revenue if you purchase any product on our site.

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