Apex Legends Mobile devs discuss surprising community response

Following their iPhone Game of the Year win, Apex Legends Mobile developers discuss the community response to their unique take on the series.
Apex Legends Mobile

Apex Legends Mobile recently took out a 2022 Apple App Store Award for iPhone Game of the Year. It also took out the Google Play award for Best Game, as voted by both users and the store’s editorial team. It’s a testament to a game that takes its own unique spin on the already-established and well-loved world of Apex Legends, the fast-paced battle royale first-person shooter from Respawn Entertainment. As the awards make clear, Mobile stands on its own.

Speaking to GamesHub in the wake of this win, Myke Hoff, product lead on Apex Legends Mobile, and Kevin Childress, Creative Content Director, expressed gratitude to the community who has supported game during its launch year.

‘Initially, we didn’t see a large portion of our players who had played Apex Legends on console and PC try the game out,’ Hoff said.

‘But since then, we’ve actually seen a pretty massive expansion in places where [Apex Legends] doesn’t have a lot of familiarity, so South America, the Middle East, Europe. We see a lot of players positively take to the game as well across Asia, Japan, Korea.’

Childress added that the attention from existing Apex Legends players has started to pick up as well, especially when it comes to the original characters the Mobile team created for the game – characters that don’t exist in the PC and console versions of the game.

‘We got some good positive feedback that we didn’t fully expect when we released Fade and Rhapsody. They’re brand new to the universe. So we, in the back of our minds were concerned about how the community would react to Mobile making these characters. Do they feel like real Apex Legends characters?’

‘But everything was incredibly positive, so we’re very humbled that people appreciate the incredible work that it took to make two brand new Legends.’

Given Apex Legends Mobile is not even a year old, the team is very much still thinking about how it can improve and optimise the game, and grow its audience in a crowded market for free-to-play mobile shooters. Those optimisations might consist of more nuanced features.

‘We’re always looking at that new player experience, to see what is important in different markets, and how we make this game more accessible to more players,’ Hoff said.

‘Something that we’ve been doing is constantly looking, hypothesising, putting into market and seeing the response for is “What’s the default setting?” Is it first-person view or a third-person view? How do we position that to players?’

‘The third-person view is very prominent in certain markets, so once we changed it to say, “Hey, don’t just default to the standard Apex experience, let’s go with what you want,” we saw an increase in retention rate. Being able to continuously learn and adopt is something super important for us.’

‘And the idea there is really about having to not overwhelming you with choices, but giving them to you at the right point. So you can actually, you know, give it a shot.’

Of course, one of the big sticking points for any free-to-play title is in its approach to monetisation – something that’s vital to the game, both in terms of its active playerbase, as well as the developers themselves.

Read: What are games worth? Mobile game developers talk monetisation

On this subject, Hoff has a clear philosophy in mind. ‘I come from a mental model of: Make a really great, great game, and then allow players to reward you with their money.’

‘Our monetisation philosophy is that everything is free. So if you are going to buy stuff, you’re going to be buying cosmetics because you enjoy the game, and it’s going to be about changing the way you look. There’s nothing there that players can’t unlock for free eventually.’

‘So the philosophy is: make a really great game. Then, let’s make really cool content that players want to purchase, and not be forced to purchase.’

Apex Legends Mobile is available on the iOS App Store, as well as the Google Play store.

Edmond was the founding managing editor of GamesHub. He was also previously at GameSpot for 13 years, where he was the Australian Editor and an award-winning video producer. You can follow him @EdmondTran