Horizon is a lovable and eccentric legend who evokes sympathy from her tragic backstory. But she wasn’t always that way.
Respawn senior software engineer Chris Winder discussed Dr. Mary Somers’ design in a virtual press briefing yesterday, explaining the creation behind the new Apex Legends character. And while she’s perfectly fleshed out now as a brilliant, yet distracted, astrophysicist, she could’ve looked a lot different if the writing team didn’t get involved.
“Horizon actually began as a different legend with a much more evil angle, almost like a Lex Luther, evil genius CEO-type character and abilities all based around fire,” Winder said. “But once the writing team shifted her story, she became more upbeat, altruistic. [They] connected her story with Olympus and becoming an astronaut, astrophysicist, and gravitational scientist.”
Horizon’s kit now manipulates gravity to lift players in the air or suck them toward a black hole. It was a challenge to balance the fun in her quirky kit with the predictability needed to create a fair competitive shooter, Winder says. And even with all the internal balancing performed by developers, they’ll still keep tabs on the black hole when it hits the live servers.
The devs want her ultimate to hit the sweet spot, making it “performant and effective for Horizon” but not “frustrating or OP for victims,” according to Winder. Since Respawn has experimented with both sides of the spectrum during play tests, it’s likely that the ability will be fairly balanced. But releasing a new legend to millions of players will be the true test.
Apex season seven, Ascension, lifts off on Nov. 4, introducing a new legend, map, and battle pass.