Why the recently-leaked Apex Legends characters might never come to the game

Some of the information doesn't add up with the usual game development cycle.

Screengrab via Respawn Entertainment

It’s character reveal season for Apex Legends players, even though none of them are official yet.

Data miners claim to have found details of 14 new Legends coming to the game in the future based on information hidden in the Iron Crown update game files. Since then, they’ve been revealing names and abilities of many of these characters, including one with self-reviving abilities and another with a huge body shield.

Most of these data miners clearly say that these leaked Legends are subject to change, but they show that they found such information in the game files, specifically in the English subtitle section. That’s how they got names and ability descriptions so clearly.

Related: Everything we know about the leaked Apex Legends characters

The existence of these files and the work of these data miners seems to be legit, but there are some unanswered questions in these leaks that don’t connect with how Apex and games in general are developed. Here’s why you shouldn’t get too excited about these leaks.

The leaks represent four years of development

If Respawn keeps its new Legends release schedule the same as it was for Octane and Wattson, fans can expect new playable characters to join Apex every three and a half months. If these 14 new Legends are actually in development and coming to the game, Respawn already has four years worth of new characters. They would be in different stages of development, some close to release and others years away from leaving a prototype stage.

This isn’t a usual plan in game development companies. Blizzard, for example, confirmed in the past that it develops, at most, about a year in advance. That’s what Blizzard does with Hearthstone expansions. Whenever a new expansion drops, the company is working on the concept of the one that will come a year later.

Four years of development is a lot. A lot can happen until then, such as the genre losing popularity or a competitor taking over Apex’s player base. That makes it hard to believe that Respawn is working on 14 new Legends.

If it’s not working on all of them, these leaks must mean something else.

The leaks can be abandoned prototypes

Respawn might’ve left information from previous tests and old character prototypes in the game files. It’s common for developers to test lots of characters and maps before release or even between updates. The company may have given up on some ideas if there were issues with development.

Some of these characters might fit into that category, especially those that sound either too overpowered or too similar to characters we already have in Apex. Jericho, for example, sounds a lot like Gibraltar, while Downfall has an ultimate ability similar to Bangalore’s.

Respawn’s already addressed data mining

Some characters were leaked in season one as well and Respawn released a statement regarding them. The company said that players shouldn’t take everything as the truth.

“There’s stuff in there that is very old, or things we’ve tried in the past and cut—remember our design process is to prototype and play lots of ideas—and some of it may be things we’re still building for Apex Legends,” Respawn said.

That statement might hold true for this case as well. While some leaks from season one were correct, like the release of Octane and Wattson, others were never confirmed.

Apex fans can trust that the information these data miners is revealing about unreleased Legends is in the game files. But nobody other than Respawn can be sure about the nature of these characters and what will happen to them as the game is developed.