Apex Legends’ upcoming Rampage LMG will join the game with a slower fire rate, a charge mechanic, and a ton of firepower. Despite the Spitfire’s reign of terror over the past few seasons, however, the new gun “plays very differently” than its predecessor, according to Respawn senior game designer Robert West.
The problem with the Spitfire wasn’t necessarily the fact that the weapon is an LMG, West told Dot Esports. “[The Spitfire] has a really big magazine, is very forgiving if you miss, and you can have a lot of suppressing fire if you have three of those in a team,” West said. These elements aren’t as present in the Rampage.
The Rampage has the lowest base magazine of all LMGs and “doesn’t have the best hip-fire accuracy” either, according to him—two lessons that Respawn learned from the Spitfire. Add in a slower fire rate and that combination makes the Rampage far less suited to spray-and-pray tactics.
The reduced fire rate also plays a role in shaping the Rampage’s playstyle. It’s “very strong” for mid-range combat, according to Respawn game designer John Ellerton, but its weakness is close range. “If you go one-on-one up against an R-99 in close range, you gotta be really good to beat that person because the fast fire-rate guns are gonna have an advantage,” he told Dot Esports. And that’s where the charge mechanic comes in.
The charge mechanic is more than extra flavor for the Rampage. Revving up the gun boosts its fire rate and helps mitigate one of its weaknesses, particularly in close-range combat. And adding the Rampage to Apex, paired with the charge mechanic, was Respawn’s way of tackling two design objectives at once.
Respawn has “multiple guns in the works,” Ellerton told Dot Esports, and deciding which one to launch takes into account the gaps in the weapon pool and which one “will fit best for the season.” The Rampage tries to kill two birds with one Thermite.
Without the Rampage, there are only three LMGs in the game—the Devotion, the Spitfire, and the L-Star—and one of them is moving to the care package with season 10. “We didn’t have a huge amount of LMGs, so that was one thing,” Ellerton said. “We wanted to fill that gap.”
Respawn also intended to use the Rampage’s “surprising source of firepower” as a tool to tackle a different gap: finding a weapon that’d work with the charge mechanic, like the Sentinel, but with Thermite Grenades instead of shield cells.
“Maybe people would overlook Thermites before now,” Ellerton said. “Now, they might not pass it up because they want to use it with the Rampage.”
Respawn, however, is keeping an eye on all the moving parts to ensure that the Rampage stays balanced. “If we see a similar situation with the [Bocek] bow, where it’s coming out and maybe it’s a bit too strong, then obviously we’ll adjust if we need to,” Ellerton said.
The Rampage will join Apex tomorrow when the game’s tenth season, Emergence, launches.