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Hi, I’m Michael Shannon, Senior Level Designer on Apex Legends™ and I’m excited to be walking you through the Kings Canyon map update in Apex Legends: Hunted!
We’ve heard a lot of feedback from the community about Kings Canyon, and this update is dedicated to addressing that feedback directly.
One of the most frequent pieces of feedback we hear about Kings Canyon is the overall map size. Over time, Kings Canyon has continued to feel smaller and smaller as the game has evolved. Often this meant squads were too close together in the early and mid game, making it difficult for players to take fights without being interrupted by a third party. Addressing this was the primary goal of our new POI, Relic.
In Season 5, Skull Town and Thunderdome were sunk by a massive explosion caused by Loba. Now that the Salvage operation is complete, the Syndicate has rebuilt the area for the Apex Games. Dredging machines have refilled the space with sand from the ocean floor, and a new battleground has been rebuilt with the iconic skull as its centerpiece. The winding, interconnected buildings of the center village should provide a frantic (and nostalgic) experience for the Legends.
With Relic, we saw an opportunity to bring back gameplay that many players loved from the original Kings Canyon, but with a POI more appropriately sized for the overall health of the map. We hope you’ll make some great new memories playing on Relic!
The Cage is a memorable structure on Kings Canyon, but we felt its defensibility was too high for a POI positioned directly in a high traffic junction. This was contributing to third parties as players siege squads entrenched inside the tower. In order to resolve these fights quicker, we decided to simplify the top of the structure.
The top of the cage is still a power position, but players entering the area will be able to put additional pressure on the dominant squad. Because it’s easier to enter or leave, players should now more easily be able to capitalize on an advantage and end the fight.
We felt similarly about the hillside POI near Containment, where squads trying to rotate through would find themselves caught in prolonged engagements between multiple squads.
In order to reduce this friction, we have rebuilt this area from the ground up without defensible interior spaces. Our goal with this change is to resolve fights faster and allow safer rotations through this space.
As a bonus change, we’ve restored some buildings that previously existed at Broken Relay.
We really loved this zipline gameplay over the ravine, and saw an opportunity to bring it back. We’ve also renamed this POI from Broken Relay to Basin to more accurately describe how it appears in this version of Kings Canyon.
Overall, we felt that on Kings Canyon squads didn’t need to fully commit to a decision as much as they needed to on other maps. Frequent cut-throughs made it easy to interrupt fights without consequence. For this update, we wanted to reward players for planning their rotations thoughtfully by making some key changes.
This major rotation in the center of the map connected Destroyed Bridges, River Center and Hillside. We felt that this rotation was too fast, contributing to a high amount of third parties at River Center and Hillside. To help make the flow of squads more predictable, we’ve removed the connection to Destroyed Bridges.
We’ve also removed this cave connection between Marketplace and River Center to further stabilize the flow of squads around River Center. We expect that squads will experience less third parties in these central locations on Kings Canyon, resulting in a much smoother mid-game.
At Marketplace, we’ve moved the small cave connection at the back to a more visible location, and widened it significantly. This should make it more difficult for players to ambush squads at Marketplace, and improve player awareness overall.
We’ve made a similar modification to this chokepoint near The Cage. The amount of new playable space is significant, and gives players better visibility of the surrounding area.
Over time, the loot quantity and quality across POIs has become a frequent point of feedback. In this update, we’ve taken the time to re-examine loot on Kings Canyon at a holistic level to get it back to a healthy spot.
We’ve rebalanced the distribution of loot across a number of POIs to address major loot disparity between key POIs. Crash Site and Spotted Lakes have been taken down a peg, and several older POIs have been given a much needed bump, such as Runoff, Hydro Dam, Swamps and Octane’s Gauntlet.
We’ve made significant changes to the loot rarity zones across Kings Canyon. Many POIs that felt prominent enough for medium or rare tier loot simply weren’t tagged for it. The quality of loot you can expect to find should feel much more intuitive in this version of Kings Canyon.
Kings Canyon’s total loot count was much lower compared to our other maps. The biggest offenders were buildings from the original version of the map that contained less loot overall than buildings introduced in subsequent map updates. After taking steps to address this, the total loot that can now spawn is roughly comparable to Olympus.
Kings Canyon’s lighting and skybox is getting a big upgrade in Hunted. This overhaul brings a much more immersive, vibrant environment and we think Kings Canyon has never looked better!
We’ve made a large number of quality of life changes all over Kings Canyon, here are some of the highlights:
And that’s everything! We’re excited about these updates to Kings Canyon and look forward to hearing what you think. See you in the ring!
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