After a successful turnout and strong viewership at X Games’ EXP Apex Invitational, Respawn Entertainment has announced that its Apex Legends team is back hosting the Apex Legends Preseason Invitational in Kraków, Poland on September 13. This will be the biggest event for the game to date.
Until recently, the future of Apex in competitive gaming was uncertain, as the only two break-out Battle Royale titles, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite, had very well established player bases. Discussions about the future of the game were largely put to rest when the EXP event in Minneapolis in August this year brought together 20 teams, some from well-known organisations such as Cloud9, Team Liquid, and TSM, the latter of whom ended up taking home the winning prize of $30,000. The support for the event and the partnership with ESPN allowed Apex Legends developers to think even bigger.
Now, they have unveiled their newest ambitious project. Respawn has announced that 80 teams chosen from those that sign up will compete for a $500,000 prize pool. While there has already been some criticism online of the invitational system foregoing playoffs in favor of resume-weighted applications, this move will allow the Apex team to open the tournament to a larger number of players while still capitalising on the exposure of featuring popular teams. This is valuable for a competitive game in its early stages.
Indeed, many teams have already expressed interest. Large organisations such as Gen.G have admitted that their players are preparing for the tournament under Razer’s patronage, and previous X Games participants such as North American teams Sentinels and Misfits have been invited to play as well. The latest listing for the event features 58 teams with an Invited status, with the rest still to be determined in the application process.
This event makes for a thrilling setup for Apex Legends’ fans and the game’s long-term esports scene. The “Preseason” name itself implies that Respawn may have big plans for a season-based competitive rotation, which could turn into a staple event on the esports circuit.