Apex Legends v Fortnite: The battle for battle royale

Apex Legend characters pose for a promo shotImage copyright Electronic Arts

Apex Legends – the Fortnite-style battle royale game – has just hit 50m players in 28 days since it came out.

The game, released at the start of February, has a similar narrative to Fortnite.

But Apex’s new spin has taken the gaming world by storm, leading people to question whether it will be a threat.

Apex Legends is available on PlayStation and Xbox – and like Fortnite, it’s free to download.

The speed that Apex is growing has come as a shock to some.

Although Fortnite now has over 200 million players, Apex Legends seems to be growing much faster in its earlier stages.

Fortnite was released in July, 2017.

In its first month, around 15 million gamers had played it.

Building on the success of Fortnite

Image copyright Javy Gwaltney
Image caption Javy Gwaltney, 29 (right)

Javy Gwaltney, an associate editor for Game Informer in Minnesota, spoke to Newsbeat a couple of weeks into the Apex hype – when it had reached 25m downloads in two weeks.

He said that he prefers the gameplay of Apex Legends over Fortnite.

“The combat is fantastic. Movement, gunplay, sound, everything is just superb.

“The shooting in Fortnite is bad. It’s real bad.”

Javy adds that the challenge for Apex makers Respawn is to keep the momentum going by offering more.

“They have to learn, in a shockingly short amount of time, how to give players reasons to return over and over again outside of the core gameplay loop.

“That means doing more than just dropping cosmetic skins and weapons into the game.”

Skins are a range of costumes that can be used to customize aspects of your character and playing experience.

They can be bought with the in-game currency V-Bucks.

Image copyright Javy Gwaltney
Image caption Javy often writes reviews about newly released games for Game Informer

The 29-year-old believes the reason Apex Legends has done so well so far is due to the hype around the battle royale concept.

Whether that’s sustainable is a different matter.

“Fortnite was at the right time and place when nothing else was,” he says.

“[Fortnite makers] Epic wisely built on that in a way that was massively beneficial to them.

“You can’t replicate that kind of success by making a great, even better game.”

Cade Onder is editor-in-chief of GameZone.

The 18-year-old from Iowa in the United States says Apex Legends is a completely different experience compared to Fortnite.

“Apex has 60 players and you’re forced into squads of three.

“Fortnite has 100 players and you can play solos, duos, or squads of four. Apex is first person, Fortnite is third person”

Similar to Javy, Cade thinks Apex’s gameplay gives it the edge.

“Communicating with players without headsets, automatically transferring attachments to new guns you pick up, and more.

“It gets rid of a large amount of junk and fixes the issues that bog down other battle royale games.

“Apex has much better shooting mechanics, much more enjoyable.

“If Apex Legends can find a way to raise the bar and keep the engagement alive, it could at the very least go toe to toe with Fortnite.”

But what do actual gamers think about Apex?

Josh, a YouTuber from Birmingham who goes by the name Frenzee, told Newsbeat a couple of weeks ago that “Fortnite are a little scared”.

He added: “If the Apex developers have a solid roadmap and keep things fresh I do believe it could continue to take over the battle royale genre.”

Image copyright Jason Wyllie
Image caption Jason Wyllie, 23

Jason Wyllie, 23, a Twitch streamer from Scotland says Apex can be enjoyed by casual and hardcore first-person-shooter lovers.

“The game has a high skill ceiling cap – but low threshold for beginners – which means new players have a better first time experience [than Fortnite].”

But Jason, who goes by the name Jaspers, believes Fortnite might not be finished yet.

“Fortnite is such a unique game that they will always have a core group that play the game and caters to the younger generation, as well as older generations.”

However when asked to choose between the two, Apex Legends still comes out on top.

“The big draw to Apex over Fortnite is it comes down to team play, individual ability and gun skill.

“Fortnite has a added skill of building, which I’m not a fan of – I prefer one-on-one gunfights where your aim is what wins the fight.”

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