Recently, I had the chance to check out an early preview build of Apex Legends: Season 7 - Ascension, where I went hands-on with all the new goodies coming to the live title - you can check out the preview here. After the gameplay session, I caught up with Apex Legends' Game Director Chad Grenier, to talk about all things Apex, in particular the new content coming with season seven.
Gamereactor: Season Seven is bringing the first iteration of cross-save between Origin and Steam, will this be developed further?
Grenier: As far as having cross-save across different consoles and PC, it's definitely something we're really passionate about and want to support and are looking into, but we haven't done that work just yet. But we would love to do that at some point.
Gamereactor: Horizon, the new Legend brings a whole host of great new abilities for players to try out. Would you say the focal point of her kit was mobility?
Grenier: She's the gravity manipulator, and when you think of that, you think of all the cool things you can do with gravity, which means mobility, how the Black Hole Ultimate came to mind. She's definitely a mobility-based character, it's a little different to say Octane, or Pathfinder, but she brings mobility in a new fun way.
Gamereactor: Her Ultimate, Black Hole is unbelievable. Were there challenges with creating this sort of ability?
Grenier: It started in Titanfall, with the Gravity Star. The difference was in Titanfall multiplayer, you would just die and respawn, and the cost of a death wasn't as high as a player who has just spent 15 minutes invested in scouring for loot and moving with the ring. You can't have your abilities just be so lethal in a BR game, so it started there, and it was just too OP [overpowered], it was pretty clear.
We start changing the dials, you know we say, how much damage is it going to do, or how strong is the gravity, once you are sucked in, what options do you have to escape it, because we want a lot of counterplay as well, we don't just want player does something, another player dies. It got turned down a little bit, I think it's in a really good place now. We're going to see things happen, we're going to see people abusing it and of course we'll adjust it and balance it as needed.
Gamereactor: Olympus, the new map features a different take on negative space, or unplayable areas. Will you look to utilise this unique method again in future maps?
Grenier: I don't know, I think each map has its own flavour, and its own design and ideas, but I don't know whether we will go back to that again necessarily, maybe? We're always looking to shape things up, and do something new when we are making a new map. We've got some things coming in the future that we can't talk about, but we're always going to continue on with that theme where things are just trying to get shaken up a little bit.
Gamereactor: Olympus features several unique areas to explore. Is this sort of design crucial to the design of Apex maps?
Grenier: That's always a goal for us, not just Olympus. We talk about maps being like Disneyland, with all its different lands, that's kind of important to us, to have landmarks. With a map of that size, if you don't have unique landmarks and themes, it's really difficult to get lost. Our artists are always coming up with awesome ideas and concepts, and we try to fit as much of that as possible into our map.
Gamereactor: The new Trident vehicle isn't a directly offensive weapon. What led to the design choice of taking lethality off the table?
Grenier: We want our game to be about gunplay and the Legends. We built our game around trios, and having characters that have synergy and abilities and Tacticals. If you have these vehicles that can be used to run people over, then all that teamplay, and the importance of the Tacticals, and the strategy of the game goes out of the window - you know, you're just going to drive around, and run everyone down. I think that would be fun for a little while, but it's shallow, and I don't think it has the same lasting appeal as a true tactical game where you care about the Legends.
Gamereactor: Has the Trident opened the floodgates for future Apex vehicles?
Grenier: Oh yeah. The ideas are flowing for sure. We have to stop people, you know like, hold on guys, we're just going to ship it in Olympus first, those ideas are all really good, but we've got to get it done first. There are a lot of people who have anywhere from cool ideas, to totally insane, crazy ideas, and we'll probably try all of them.
Gamereactor: Clubs are another massive feature being introduced with season seven, how do you plan on expanding this feature?
Grenier: I would say this is our version one of Clubs. I think where we take it in the future is about giving those clubs more ways to show off, more ways to achieve things. Club challenges, Club tournaments. There is no lack of ideas, we're just trying to figure which are more important, and which ones we should do first.
Gamereactor: Without spoiling anything, was there anything you didn't get to introduce in season seven that you wished you did?
Grenier: There is, there are a couple of things we didn't get to release. Sometimes we have the realisation, this is really good and it could come out, but if we hold it for another season or two, it's going to be great. We want to make great things, not just good things, and it's not just season seven, it's every season, and we release everything we think is great, and the rest, we take some more time on.
Thanks again to Respawn and Chad Grenier for taking this interview with us. You can check out Apex Legends' seventh season - Ascension starting from November 4 on PC, Xbox One and PS4.
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