when Titanfall studio Respawn gathered members of the press at a hotel in Los Angeles last week, the crowd knew they were going to see a new game, one with a peculiar shroud of secrecy around it. In fact, up until that point, no trace of the title had been talked about, leaked, or discussed before. And afterward, even knowing the game’s name, I was unable to find any shred of its existence on the internet — that is until it starting leaking over the weekend.
But the secrecy is for good reason: Respawn, now owned by Electronic Arts, wants to ensure that its newest product can sidestep every expectation players might impose upon it before they get a chance to boot it up and play. The game is not a sequel to Titanfall 2, but it is set in the Titanfall universe. It’s called Apex Legends, and it’s a free-to-play battle royale game in the vein of Epic Games’ hugely successful and influential Fortnite. In keeping with the surprise approach, the game isn’t just being announced today: it’s also launching. You can download it right now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
The launch strategy marks a drastic shift for a traditional, big-budget studio like Respawn, and it marks an even more radical one for EA, one of the world’s largest and most conservative game publishers. The goal is to get the game out as quickly as possible, so players can jump in and see for themselves how Respawn has remixed the battle royale genre before drawing inevitable comparisons to what it will be competing against.