Why Apex Legends’ Solo Mode Is Never Coming Back
Remember Apex Solo? It’s okay if you don't; it might've been before your time. The limited-time mode (LTM) dropped alongside Season 2's Iron Crown Collection Event. The rules are self-explanatory: drop into a Battle Royale match all by your lonesome, with 60 legends total competing for bragging rights as well as some cool character- or win-specific badges.
In some ways, playing alone was a great way to test one's might in duels without relying on teammate assistance. However, the experimental LTM was a double-edged sword, revealing that some ability kits were simply stronger than others in 1v1s. For instance, Lifeline's "D.O.C. Heal Drone" made her a near-unkillable force, but her "Combat Revive" passive was rendered useless since there were no allies to resurrect. You can already see some of the inconsistencies in the mode's mechanics, right? Then it should come as no surprise that the team doesn't plan to ever bring Apex Solo back.
Watch The Trailer That Revealed Solo Mode:
While listing the myriad philosophies of character creation, lead legend designer Devan McGuire explained that solo play went against Apex's DNA:
"This is a squad-based game, and that's why you don't see solos. We had that experiment a long time ago, and we're not bringing it back. A single character should never be the answer to every problem. They should be part of that team dynamic. That's what creates interesting strategies in the game. And we hold that as a game pillar when designing a legend: To make sure that we never break what's core to the game. Our design pillars, the ones that we use for developing abilities and the core fundamentals of legend play patterns, are that the character needs to be ownable. It needs to occupy its own playspace amidst all the others on the roster so that it's not stomping on the toes of someone else's fantasy."
Moreover, game director Steven Ferreira and design director Evan Nikolich spoke briefly about another popular LTM: Arenas. Released in Season 9 and later removed in Season 15, Arenas pitted two teams of three against one another in condensed locales. Borrowing mechanics from games like Valorant, players could buy weapons, abilities, and items from a shop at the start of each round. Arenas was so beloved that it got its own Ranked playlist; the mode's absence is felt by many. Respawn knows this and has plans to iterate on it… someday. So, fingers crossed, we'll see it back in the mode lineup soon.
"Arenas has been backburnered," Nikolich informed me. "But it's in our quiver to use again at some point. When we introduced Arenas as a standalone mode, I don't think we fully understood what we were doing in terms of bifurcating our audience. We have to build something that is more unified and brings players together to play the entirety of the game. Not just like, 'I'm an Arenas main' or a 'BR main.' It'll potentially come back in the next 12 to 24 months. It's definitely something on our roadmap."
Ferreira chimed in too:
"We want to take a step back and look at what we would change about Arenas so that we won’t run into those same problems. Last year, we brought out Mixtape, and that was effectively the next evolution of Arenas. That experience was a way for players to jump in, get a lot of faster reps on weapons/legends, and just get into the core mechanics of Apex; just get a lot more cycles before they jump into the BR. As far as seeing more things outside of the BR, that's an area that Apex is moving into. How can we continue to build on that but learn from Arenas?"
So, there you have it: Sure, no more Apex Solo, but we also haven't seen the end of Arenas. Only time will tell when the latter LTM makes its triumphant return and how different it'll ultimately be. If you're not an Apex lifer just yet, check out why I think it's still the best battle royale available right now. And trust me, it's not even close.
Alex Van Aken contributed to this article.