Apex Legends’ new map comes with more than just a breathtaking view. Storm Point is built on the lessons Respawn learned from Kings Canyon, World’s Edge, and a year of Apex in the wild—from planning future map updates to even avoiding some pitfalls the team experienced during the battle royale’s growth.
Kings Canyon and World’s Edge were designed long before Apex came out, and during development, “there was never an expectation that we would change the maps,” level designer Rodney Reece told Dot Esports in an interview. Updating other maps came as a challenging way to change elements while keeping the arenas fresh.
With Storm Point, though, the team already knew to expect changes since the beginning of its development. As a result, the new venue will “grow more naturally and with some more forethought,” Reece says. It’s a departure from the old way of replacing map elements through destruction—and a lesson the team learned after a year of handling Apex.
Getting the hang of map updates and future-proofing Storm Point for them wasn’t the only takeaway from Apex‘s experience on live servers. The game developed much differently in the public build than in internal playtests, Reece explains, and some elements that weren’t oppressive in playtests could prove to be a bloodbath after the game launched.
One example was the choke point between Fuel Depot and Capitol City when World’s Edge released. It was a “brutal” position on the public servers, but not on internal playtests, Reece said. What made the choke so particularly bloody in the hands of the public was its location: it sat at the exact center of the map, with the base of a tower being the exact 0,0,0 point, and the ring logic made it a coveted spot.
With all the insights from Apex‘s growth, Respawn had a “huge list” of potentially troublesome elements, and the team wanted to take them into account and avoid them when designing Storm Point. The Barometer, for instance, was one of the first elements in the new map, and developers knew it could become the Storm Point equivalent of Skull Town. So, while it was in development, the team made an effort to avoid giving the new POI the same grim fate as its predecessor. Knowing map updates were coming, developers also added an extra layer of story to Barometer, making it an important part of the new map in both gameplay and lore.
Storm Point is 15 percent larger than World’s Edge, making it the biggest map in Apex so far by a comfortable margin. There are several unmarked or vacant spots around the map, and even the existing POIs could give way to different Town Takeovers or map updates throughout its lifespan. Hammond Robotics and the Syndicate could start construction on the secluded Fish Farms, for instance, since there’s no need for food in the area. This would add a new POI to the map as part of a future update without the need to use destruction as a design tool and would also tie it with the existing lore.
Or Respawn could just blow up Barometer and call it a day.