Leaked Apex Legends Hardcore mode could break recycled LTM trend—but players already doubt it

Apex is still trying to solve the LTM conundrum.

Image via Respawn Entertainment

While the Wintertide event succeeded in bringing in a season 15 high player peak on Steam for Apex Legends, it didn’t do much to address players’ criticisms of the game using recycled and reused limited-time modes. This go-round for the Winter Express is the fourth year in a row that some version of the LTM has appeared in Apex, and the general sentiment on its return has been middling.

So it’s not exactly a surprise that a recent leak from ThordanSmash caught the attention of the community. The popular content creator and insider teased a new mode that might be coming to Apex: Hardcore battle royale.

According to Thordan, the new mode will be one where players will be eliminated much more quickly and will put significant value on game knowledge. There won’t be any HUD, the highest armor available will be the base white body shields, and bullets will do more damage than they do in the base game. There also won’t be any Gold rarity items except for weapon hop-ups. That means items like Gold helmets that make abilities recharge faster and Gold backpacks that allow players to carry more health items won’t be used in the mode.

In addition to these changes, there will be fewer health items, according to Thordan. This will make for an extremely fast time to kill (TTK) that should have players thinking and rethinking every single rotation and move they make on the battlefield.

Whether this is another LTM on the way or the new mode inhabits a more Control-esque role, a popular mode that commonly returns and feels more akin to Arenas than most LTMs, players are already split on whether a Hardcore mode in Apex is a good idea at all.

There are players who seem excited about the prospect of a Hardcore mode, but several others have brought up how the idea feels like an accelerated version of the standard non-ranked battle royale mode, with no incentive for players to take the mode seriously. That would most likely result in incredibly short games or long stretches where teams that decide not to hot drop don’t see any fights. 

There’s also some precedent in Apex for players not loving a significantly shorter TTK: the much-maligned nerf to all body shields in season six, where all body shields got 25 less health. The player outcry on the change was strong enough that Respawn reverted the change a few weeks into the season since players didn’t enjoy the shorter TTK that the shield change enabled.

The new Hardcore mode sounds like Apex with a more Call of Duty-style TTK, and it’s debatable whether any Apex players actually want that. A new LTM is certainly welcome, but if an Apex mode feels more like a different game, what’s stopping players from just going and playing Modern Warfare 2 instead?

Thordan also mentioned that other LTMs like Team Deathmatch and some other previously-leaked game modes are still in the works. This year has been a fairly successful one for breaking up the LTM cycle compared to 2021, with both Control and Gun Run being popular LTMs in the community. But the response to the newest leaked LTM has been decidedly lukewarm and it remains to be seen if a Hardcore mode will inspire much new interest in Apex.