On August 6th, fans got exactly the Apex Legends reveal they were waiting for, an announcement that the long-awaited solo mode will be coming to Respawn’s hit battle royal title. Dropping alongside the Iron Crown Collection event, this new Season 2 game type will only be available for a limited time from August 13th to the 27th. In a very brief video posted to their Twitter account, Respawn showed Bloodhound dropping into King’s Canyon alone, seemingly suggesting that the mode will be a simple no-frills deathmatch without a squad and not a re-imagining of its most popular game type.
While many have been begging for a solo mode since Apex Legends’ release in February, this limited run event might actually be Respawn attempting to show gamers how poorly suited the title really is for individual modes. Players have long debated both the positives and negatives of including solo mode and Respawn obviously left the game mode out for a reason, so this solo experiment might be only to silence the doubters and show that players are nothing without their teammates. In a recent video, Twitch personality and professional gamer Shroud recently echoed these concerns, saying that “the game isn’t going to be very good in solos” and “I think it’ll come out, limited time… two weeks, people are going to try it, they are going to hate it, and then they are gonna pull it… and probably won’t do it again.”
So, let’s face it, Shroud is right, Apex Legends solo mode probably isn’t going to be all that great. While it may be a fun diversion and create some much needed extra hype around the Battle Royal title, it is not going to revolutionize the game in the ways that many seem to believe. Here are the main reasons why:
In a title purely designed for the interplay and combined power of a squad of three, separating these characters and their abilities from squads in Apex Legends solo mode is really going to damage the fun and excitement of the experience. Similarly to a title like Overwatch, characters are designed to have skills that work together in tandem with each other, making smart character ability and special usage an important part of achieving victory. Taking away this carefully established harmony will sorely harm the meta for the game and render some characters basically useless. In solo combat, Gibraltar becomes a giant bullet sponge imprisoned in a bubble shield, Caustic loses his charm as a squad trapper, and Pathfinder turns into a quick-moving but under-performing character in terms of abilities.
Lack of Variation
Because of these balancing issues, the Apex Legends solo mode lmatches will be full of the characters best suited for individual combat, most likely Bloodhound. With their Tracker, Eye of the Allfather, and Beast of the Hunt abilities and specials, they are designed to operate as a scout and succeed as the last member of his squad, so it is safe to say that they will picked most often. Presumably, Lifeline and Bangalore will be the next most picked, although not with the same frequency. Having matches full of the same characters with the same abilities will undoubtedly lead to both frustration and boredom, as echoing “Allfather, give me sight” lines will surely reverberate around the Canyon.
Waste of Features
Remember the Ping feature that revolutionized the Battle Royal genre and put the game on top as the leading squad title? It’s useless in Apex Legends solo mode and will exist as a waste of a button. The shield, excluding the gold, will serve no purpose either, as getting downed will now result in instant death and a boot to lobby. These features are ultimately a part of the charm of the Apex Legends and do nothing but make it a more enjoyable title, and the absence of these parts will only serve as a reminder of what made the game great in the first place.
In All Fairness…
To be fair -regardless of these concerns- Apex Legends solo mode will be very interesting to try and might have the benefit of bringing people back to the title. Although on the surface solo mode’s launch feels like a move designed to please the fans -let’s face it- this is a marketing move at best. EA has been hiding the game’s overall player count, Twitch viewership has declined drastically, and Fortnite is creeping back into its position as the king. Launching solo mode at this time is mostly a PR stunt and a grand experiment to remind casual players that the title still exists.
That being said, will it be fun? Maybe. Will it be worth a shot? Absolutely.
What do you think? Will Apex Legends solo mode work or will it fail miserably? Ultimately, does it even matter?
August 12, 2019 1:23 PST: Edited to reflect Bloodhound’s non-binary gender pronouns