The leaks and rumors all seem true–Apex Legends is here, and it’s a new challenger in the Thunderdome of battle royale games.
The free-to-play title from Respawn Entertainment is part of the developer’s Titanfall universe, and while the game was just announced, it’s already available on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.
Respawn teased the game on social media over the weekend following leaks that spilled some details onto the internet. The developer made a live stream to deliver the official announcement and a first look at the game. Apex Legends follows battle royale games like Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds while making a few key changes to the formula.
First, it’s a wholly team-based game, with 20 teams of three players facing off on one huge map. Like other games in the genre, you and your squad enter Apex Legends with no weapons or items and have to scavenge everything you need to be the last team standing.
The big difference between Apex Legends and other games like it is the inclusion of characters you choose from at the beginning of a match.
Each character has a different role in your squad and different special abilities, including ultimate abilities that charge up over time. You’re still finding all your guns, armor, and items on the island, but you have specific capabilities you can combine with your teammates that affect your strategy.
There are eight characters, or Legends, in the game at launch, and Respawn will be adding more over time.
Respawn also has an innovative addition to battle royale in its ping system. With one dedicated button, you can “ping” locations, objects, and other players, marking them on your teammates’ screens and drawing their attention to them.
Ping a piece of loot and your character will call it out and mark it for someone else, should they need it, while pinging enemies allows you to call out their location to your squad.
The system is pretty robust, making it possible to communicate well with your squad without ever talking to them–which is handy for matchmaking games where not everyone might have a headset.
Apex Legends’ free-to-play status means it also includes microtransactions and in-game purchases for cosmetic items. You can buy premium currency to purchase items and loot boxes, called Apex Packs, and you’ll also earn in-game currency and packs as you play.
Six of the game’s characters are yours when you fire up Apex Legends, with two more purchasable with either in-game currency or premium currency.
You can download Apex Legends from the Origin store on PC, and on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 right now. GameSpot got an early look at the game, so stay tuned for our impressions. We’ll also have a full review of Apex Legends in the coming days.