Revenant from Apex Legends faces down the camera with a new look.
Screengrab via Respawn Entertainment

Apex’s story in 2023 will ‘shake these legends to their core,’ says Respawn narrative lead

The stakes are raised.

The narrative in Apex Legends has been taking center stage in the second half of season 17, with the premiere of Kill Code’s first part as well as the Thief’s Bane in-game mission. It’s a drastic increase in scale for the game’s lore delivery efforts, which have been relegated to text quests and the occasional Chronicle event for many seasons now.

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That’s a re-focusing that Respawn’s narrative team wants to capitalize on in season 18 and the rest of 2023. Kill Code is “a big step” in the eyes of narrative lead Ashley Reed and the start of a story arc where many of Apex’s starring characters “will change forever” over the next two seasons.

This information comes via a press conference held last week in the run-up to Apex’s 18th season, Resurrection, where the recent run of revelations that Duardo Silva is building Revenant bodies comes to a head with Revenant reborn. While Apex has done teasers in the past to build up a new legend coming to the games, this is entirely new territory in both scale and what it’s been teasing—Revenant is the first legend to receive a rework like this, after all.

“This year, we’re telling a bigger story than we ever have before through cinematics and in-game events,” Reed said, before adding with a smile: “Know in my heart I want to give you one word to describe it, but ‘serialized narrative arc’ is the best I’ve heard so far.”

So far, that’s involved cinematics, radio plays, and a playable mission all playing into the same interconnected narrative. Single storylines rarely get this level of focus within such a short period of time, and it’s allowed each story beat and how it affects the characters to hit all the harder. But Reed suggests this is just the beginning of much bolder plans for the rest of the year.

Related: A Thief’s Bane steals the show in Apex Legends. Here’s why it’s exactly what the game needed

“This is just the start of something that will shake these legends to their core,” she said. “People will change forever. Relationships will be tested and shattered, and maybe not everyone will make it out alive—and I mean it this time.”

Promises like that are bound to draw in a lot of hype even from the less lore-inclined Apex fans, with a lot of similarities shared between the stakes of Kill Code and Broken Ghost—the first quest Apex ever did in season five. But Kill Code is supposed to be more than even that. To Reed, it represents the combination of “many of our learnings over the past almost five years of Apex,” even if she admits that the devs are hoping “to learn a lot from this as well.”

It’s important to keep expectations in check, though. Apex Legends is still a live-service battle royale game first and foremost, and Kill Code isn’t representative of some grand shift toward providing consistent single-player experiences. Reed said to expect “one more” mission in 2023 before the Kill Code arc wraps up, although it’s unlikely to be at the scale or extent of Thief’s Bane. But that still leaves a lot of other content such as radio plays and cinematics to be excited about over the next two seasons that will collectively build into a single satisfying conclusion.

You can see where the Kill Code narrative arc goes next when Revenant’s reworked design hits Apex Legends in season 18 on Tuesday, Aug 8.


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Author
Alexis Walker
Alexis is a freelance journalist hailing from the UK. After a number of years competing on international esports stages, she transitioned into writing about the industry in 2021 and quickly found a home to call her own within the vibrant communities of the looter shooter genre. Now she provides coverage for games such as Destiny 2, Halo Infinite and Apex Legends.