Titanfall dev’s new Apex Legends battle royale title snagged 1M players on day one

    
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We don’t really cover Titanfall around here, but you might be interested all the same in Respawn’s new battle royale set in the same universe. Apex Legends is not, to the dismay of some franchise fans, a true followup to Titanfall 2; instead, it’s a first-person shooter-style battle royale, free-to-play with lockboxes and battle passes, and it hit the ground running on PC and console with an announcement and launch yesterday, which is a strange way to go about it.

Apparently the secrecy wasn’t some exciting new strategy; as GIbiz’s Christopher Dring put it, Respawn and EA were simply scared to take on a traditional PR hype cycle, knowing they’d be blasted by fans and press: “The conspiracy theories write themselves. EA, after sending Titanfall 2 out to die during a hyper competitive month, bought up the business and forced it to stop making Titanfall games and build a free-to-play title instead. […] So why risk it? Just get the game out there and avoid the months of PR hell that’ll only succeed in distracting and depressing the development team.” Yikes.

Regardless of all that, the game launched well, apparently hitting a million players on day one.

Source: Official site, Eurogamer. Thanks, Xijit!
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Dunk Bird
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Dunk Bird

If anyone is curious as to whether its good, I’ll say I’ve had more fun playing this than any other battle royale style game. I hate fornite. I hate PUBG and how clunky it is.

The game feels polished, the guns are super fun to shoot. There’s interesting upgrades to find that aren’t straight stat boosts for guns, and a LOT of quality of life changes were put in that make it a much smoother experience.

It is pretty early still, but I’m having a blast playing a type of game I historically don’t like. There’s a niche for every kind of player with one of the characters probably matching your playstyle, and its nice to have a guaranteed way to change your playstyle aside from finding different guns.

And to those upset its not Titanfall 3, I’d say give a try. I’m avid Titanfall 2 fan and was playing it the week before these rumors of this game started. I loved the movement of TF2, but I don’t miss it in this game. Its much more tactical without it and less twitch based. I can’t imagine having to focus that much to play well in a long drawn out match like BR. The titans I don’t miss too much, a lot of their playstyle is preserved through the abilities of the characters.

Anyhow, I’m done ranting. Its a fun game imo and people shouldn’t talk down on it unless they’ve given it a fair shot. Its clear a lot of love went into making the game with how much the features were thought out.

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Sorenthaz

That is one thing that I can enjoy about the Titanfall devs – they don’t seem to be held at gunpoint by EA in comparison to Dice and Bioware. Titanfall 2 was pretty much released right around the same dang time that Battlefield 1 was, causing the game to get heavily shadowed – but it had great gameplay and the DLC was all free. Only real problem is that it didn’t get much attention regardless, but at the same time that’s probably for the best because folks couldn’t really see EA’s strings pulling everything in comparison to their other games.

Either way Apex Legends is getting a lot of attention on Twitch. Guessing Youtube is probably similar. Seems like a pretty successful strategy to not hype it up and whatnot and just let folks digest it on their own.

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Armsbend

Looks kinda fun to me. I like the graphics and lack of building.

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Robert Mann

Proving that new flashy stuff and short term hype still work… whether the game is worthy within that genre will be another thing entirely. I’m going to state this bluntly, but the sooner bribery to the influencers of the lemmings out there is a dead thing (ideally by fixing the problem of lemming gaming) the better. Not just because we will fix many other issues in the industry, but because we will all see more attention to better games for everyone who wants to play.

My interest in jumping off a cliff just because it is momentarily popular is about on par with smoking a tide pod or eating 27 ghost chilis… absolutely zero. And people do those things, albeit maybe not in quite the numbers that chase the ‘in gaming scene’.

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Armsbend

Why? Was it better when a publisher would just a very expensive scattershot tv ad hoping someone who’d buy the product might on the off chance see it?

What is wrong with having someone you like play and talk about a game for a fraction of the price in what amounts to an 8 hour advert? You get to watch every facet of gameplay and decide if it’s for you. Before Twitch we’d use magazine where the “press” was paid for giving 9.5 reviews in between typing about this year’s booth babes. Or the back of the box? or the guy at gamestop?

I’ll take influencers over that any day. They influence because people trust them or are good AF at what they do. – *shrug* They don’t magically become that. The industry used to choose influencers they thought were hip from focus groups before.

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Robert Mann

Simply put, my opinion on this is that instead of it just being advertising, it changes other things. Those other things are a problem. Just because what came before it wasn’t good, does not make something else good.

In the end, I don’t mind the idea of streams and videos available to people… but the rest of it needs to diaf. The money involved corrupts it, even to the point of changing the products we get. And that is a huge negative, that easily overwhelms knowing how the game will play (speaking as somebody who bought games BEFORE streaming).

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PanagiotisLial1
PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

I love Apex Legends, it’s a breath of fresh air in the BR genre. The genre can always use more innovation. Although the lack of solo mode is a tad disappointing, and no more wallrunning (maybe saved for another class?)

Also ironic that people love the infantry combat in Titanfall but NOT the actual titular Titan mech combat.

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Bruno Brito

While i see the Titanfall franchise being a good BR concept, this isn’t it. No wallriding, no Titans.

When i played 5min of Titanfall at my friend’s house, i spent 10min shivering on the sofa, waiting to play again. It was the best FPS experience i’ve ever had. The game was just fucking fun and glorious.

Now? Meh.

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Greaterdivinity

I’d argue that them not talking about the game up until now WAS the strategy. They knew they’d have no chance of “winning” any traditional marketing campaign as they’d never be able to control the message and the entire response would instantly be “LAWL EA KILLING ANOTHER STUDIO WITH FORCED BATTLE ROYAL AND LOOTBOXES AND THEY ALSO KILLED AND ATE YOUR PUPPY AND FIRSTBORN CHILD BECAUSE I AM A REASONABLE PERSON”.

Their strategy was to know they couldn’t combat that, queue up all kinds of previews at an event, and then roll out everything in one day – Announce/launch the game, dump info, let media/influencers fly with impressions/opinions, interviews galore etc.

And it’s smart, probably the smartest launch strategy they could have had. Especially given that they’d have been competing with Anthem during this period which would be even dumber.

THAT BEING SAID, this is not the Titanfall game I want by a longshot. Gimme Titanfall 3. But in the meantime, a few friends are giving it a shot and while BR games still don’t interest me, if they give positive feedback I’ll give it a try.

Xijit
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Xijit

It is what they should have started doing after Battlefron II, but I guess both BFV & Anthem getting Carpetbaged from the second they were announced was the nail in the coffin to just abandon marketing their games.

Probably much cheaper too … I am sure that theu had to have shaved 7 or 8 figures off of the development cost for this thing by refusing to market it. Google Adsense probably isn’t too happy with them, and I am sure that they didn’t make any new friends with the EIC’s of the Gaming Websites that bottom feed off that shit, but streamers / “influencers” (barf) have a bigger impact on a games perception than Game Informer does.

And I too am thoroughly uninterested in a Titan-less Titanfall game … But best of luck to them & I pray that if this thing takes off, then EA will be too distracted by it to demand Bioware fuck up Anthem with this BR horse shit.

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Greaterdivinity

It’s not what they should have done for BFV/Anthem at all. It’s a strategy that works for some games, but not for every game. Battlefield is a tent-pole franchise, they need to have a proper marketing campaign to support its launch, even if they manage to bungle their way through or step into some manufactured controversies.

As for Anthem, I think they needed to do a lot of this pre-launch marketing to really try to show off what the game is. It sounds basic, but there’s quite a lot going on that needs to be messaged around unlike a BR game where it’s designed to be easy to pick up and understand for anyone already in the genre (who are the audience for Apex Legends).

Don’t get me wrong, marketing budgets are nuts, but EA and other publishers would do well to look to Sony and their first party titles lately for tips on how to cut costs. Longer development cycles with smaller teams focused on the games gave us amazing titles like Detroit, God of War etc. all with budgets that are far, far below their AAA counterparts. And that’s just development costs alone, as each of those games had sizable marketing campaigns to go along with them.

EIC’s of websites generally don’t handle ads directly, they either have in-house ad-sales teams that handle that kind of thing while having minimal interaction with editorial (separation of church and state, essentially) or will have external ad managers (IIRC Bree has mentioned she has one that handles MOP’s ads rather than the editorial staff). And they probably won’t care too much anyways, ads are being placed on their sites for these articles anyways so the clicks are still driving revenue and I wouldn’t be surprised if they started their online ad campaign at launch.

I wouldn’t be too worried about Anthem though, technically the game doesn’t seem at all designed to support any kind of BR style gameplay. It’s very much designed primarily for small-scale group play at the most.

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rafael12104

Arktouros is right. I logged into Twitch last night and almost all the major streamers were playing it. I’m talking about the guys and gals that bank as paid “influencers” because they pull large audiences. Shroud, Dr. Disrespect, Summit1G, etc. etc. were all playing and were all getting paid by Apex.

On top of that, other streamers who would like to get paid, one day, were playing too. Why? To get a slice of that audience and become relevant.

And after watching gameplay for a bit, I realized what the game is at its core.
Think PUBG weapons and skill, with Fortnite gimmicks.

So, its free. I might download it… Score another one for Apex.

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Greaterdivinity

Did you confirm they were all sponsored videos? Or were they just all jumping on the new hotness while it’s hot before jumping back to Fortnite and their usual affair? Because it’s pretty common for those big name streamers to stick to a few core games (Fortnite -_-) but to spend a day here or there playing whatever the new hotness is to get all them views while the hype exists.

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rafael12104

Yup. I know the phenomenon you describe well. Yes, many of the top streamers announced it in stream, although I should also say they aren’t diligent in repeating it.

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Greaterdivinity

Yeah, should be somewhere in the video name/description as well if they’re following FCC guidelines. Just always curious since there’s a lot of gray area and many folks aren’t looking for that tagging etc.

Can’t say I’m surprised that they did a big influencer spend on launch day, those are the folks that are the “tastemakers” for the BR genre, not traditional media. Guess I should see if I can find any one of them that doesn’t annoy/bore me to see how things looked.

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rafael12104

It fits perfectly with the strategy you describe. Don’t go with the ad hype as you are competing with Epic. Go straight to the source.

Check this out: skip to the middle if the first part gets to be a yawn. He plays a couple of trailers.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

Were there any Twitch streamers that were doing sponsored paid streams for Apex? I couldn’t find any today.

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rafael12104

There was last night, but I’m not sure about today though. It might have been a one day deal because I’m sure that many streamers will play it today without the need of sponsorship.

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rafael12104

Just logged in to Twitch out of curiosity and Apex has Ninja on board. 50k viewers in the middle of the day.

ihatevnecks
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ihatevnecks

That one particular quote is interesting, because everything I’ve read said it wasn’t EA who threw out Titanfall 2 when it did – that was Respawn’s choice.

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Tobasco da Gama

No Titans, no Pilots, no interest.