Once the surprise from the launch of Apex Legends wore off, Respawn found themselves compared to the absolute giant that is Epic's Fortnite:Battle Royale, but their CEO Vince Zampella now reiterated that their sights are set elsewhere.
With Apex Legends hitting 25 million players in a week and 50 million in its first month, it was only natural to see Respawn's battle royale compared to Fortnite.
Of course, natural doesn't mean it was fair considering the difference in the size of the studios, without even going into the development pipeline specifics. This led to Zampella saying he'd rather establish Respawn's own tempo of delivering content than try to emulate Fortnite and as a result.
Speaking to Los Angeles Times, Zampella said that the focus of Apex Legends and Fortnite is vastly different as well, with the latter evolving into a sort of a communal hangout, in addition to being the most popular battle royale around.
Apex Legends, however, is more about Respawn creating storytelling opportunities. Zampella said he fears his games coming to read as generic sci-fi stuff.
"To identify with a character, either by play style or because you like who they are and what they stand for, it was important for us to take that next step. Character-based is now super important to what we do", he said.
When it comes to characters, however, not many games can rival the rich and colourful cast of Apex Legends. Considering it's a battle royale, a genre not traditionally known for character development, this is an even bigger feat, and the studio is clearly dead set on this approach.
Respawn's Chad Grenier said, "We tend to rapidly prototype characters at a high rate and throw them away when they’re not working [...] We do 10 times more prototypes than what actually make it into the game."