Apex Legends is definitely the hottest name in the gaming community recently, and for good reason. Released not even a month ago, the battle royale already attracts over 25 million players.

Apex’s momentum seems unstoppable, but remember Overwatch? This shooter game from Blizzard got pretty much the same reaction when it launched back in May 2016. But where is that excitement now? It’s not like Overwatch is dead or anything, but clearly it has not been able to maintain its initial fame. Part of the reason for this was the way it introduced new additions to its character roster.

Apex Legends Character Cover
Apex Legends is huge right now

Overwatch and Apex Legends are two very different games, but at their core, both are multiplayer FPS games with several heroes for players to choose from. If Apex wants to remain hot for years to come, it needs to avoid the mistake that Overwatch made.

Overdone Watch

When it was first released, Overwatch came with a relatively large collection of characters, each with their own unique attributes. They are mainly divided into 3 categories: Damage dealer, tank, and healer, but even within one category, characters can be vastly different. Reaper can turn invulnerable for a short time and uses shotguns, Tracer uses her time-manipulation power to dash around the map, and Genji is a melee swordsman.

This is undoubtedly the best thing about Overwatch, and so it makes sense for Blizzard to release new characters once in a while to keep players interest. However, more often than not, these new heroes do the game more bad than good.

Overwatch now has 8 more heroes than it did at launch, meaning about two or three are added every year. Naturally, the addition of a new character has a huge impact on the game, and not always in a good way. Brigitte is a prime example of this. On paper, this tank/healer hybrid sounded nice. She is capable of healing nearby teammates when she attacks enemies with her melee. She can also grant a massive health and armor buff to an ally. If that’s not enough, she also has a small shield with which she can stun opponents.

Overwatch's Brigitte

Brigitte does everything well. Too well, in fact

Brigitte is a strong healer that also has the ability to crowd-control enemies, leaving them vulnerable to attacks. For characters like Tracer, who is squishy but has to get up close and personal to deal meaningful damage – relying on her mobility for safety, the introduction of Brigitte was a disaster.

And then the next name to join the roster is Wrecking Ball - a tank who could roll through enemies, knocking them around while dealing damage at the same time. The idea is cool, and playing him is indeed very fun, but that is one bonking ability too many. If a team has a both Wrecking Ball and Brigitte and, alongside some other heroes with movement-impairing abilities like Ana and McCree, playing a match of Overwatch feels like you’re playing pinball from the perspective of the ball. If you can’t imagine what that’s like, let’s just say it’s not pretty.

Of course, that’s not to say that Overwatch should not introduce more heroes. However, Blizzard has to be more careful with its ideas. Brigitte alone basically renders many other heroes unplayable.

To be fair, not all additions are bad. Some newcomers have actually been good at what they are intended to do: Making the game more interesting. For example, Ashe, the newest hero, possesses a simple shooting-based skillset that suits Overwatch nicely. Honestly, compared to her, characters like Brigitte and Wrecking Ball are maybe too clever for their own good. Overwatch is a first-person shooter, so the heroes should be focusing on, well, shooting. And since many new heroes aren’t, Overwatch started to feel like a completely different game.

Ashe, the newest hero of Overwatch

The future of Apex Legends

Apex Legends is certainly going to introduce new characters. Again, it’s a great way to keep the game fresh. However, unlike Overwatch in which players can pick any hero for free, Apex requires them to spend currency (either in-game or real to unlock new option. As a result, adding a new character is a direct way for EA to make money.

But since it's  Respawn who designs these new heroes, hopefully it’ll be more careful with their abilities. Currently, the skills of the characters mostly don’t have a big impact, which is a good thing. It doesn’t matter who you pick, it’s your skills that are most important. Having a, say, melee character in Apex Legends is probably not going to be a good idea.

And even the idea of creating on new characters could be dangerous. What Overwatch needs right now is not more characters, but some bigger innovation, like an entirely new game mode.

Apex Legends must be careful. Yes, designing a hero with unique mechanics to attract players can be enticing, but those characters might do more harm than good to the game as a whole. There are still other ways to make the game feel fresh.