Technology

The making of Vantage: Apex Legend’s newest character

VANTAGE is the latest Legend to enter the arena in Season 14 of Apex Legends.

The first Sniper character introduced apexVantage’s long-range abilities make her a formidable opponent.

Vantage with her pal Echo.

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Vantage with her pal Echo.Photo Credit: Respawn Entertainment/EA

When the Legend was originally designed, developer Respawn considered giving her a powerful rifle resembling a Kraber.

Kraber are only available in care packs, and even then come with limited ammo.

If Vantage was given a weapon as powerful as the Kraber, there might be 20 of them on the map at once. It would have changed the game completely.

On the subject, Vantage lead designer Chris Winder said, “One of the things that the Kraber also has is maybe no warning.

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“You could just sit anywhere, look in one direction and then be down.

“Or, if it’s a body shot, that’s quite a bit of damage. So we knew we had to do something about it.”

The team had to look for ways to balance Vantage’s power.

One of the first ideas was to get Vantage to require a lock-on before shooting to alert players that they were being attacked.

Another warned players with a voiceline.

Winder explained, “We tried a number of different mechanisms to communicate this up front and give players a way to avoid or potentially mitigate this after the fact.

“So maybe it’s still doing a lot of damage, but there’s a way to stop some of it after getting hit in some way.”

Neither of these ideas felt entirely fair to the developers, who feared they spoiled Vantage’s usefulness.

The next idea was to add a debuff to their rifles, either Stunning, Blocking, or Restricting.

Winder explained why the team ultimately decided to move away from the idea: “You can imagine what kind of debuffs we have like slows and silences and things like that we could try.

“It could just debuff those targets and do minimal damage, but really it’s all about the debuff and that’s the purpose of the ultimate.

“I think some of those things worked from a gameplay standpoint – there was a loop in use and you understood why and your team understood what to do when those gunshots happened.

“But what we didn’t hit at that point was the sniper fantasy. It didn’t really feel like you were holding a sniper rifle – it felt like you were holding a debuff weapon.”

Then the team landed on Vantage’s current kit.

Her ultimate ability, Sniper’s Mark, allows her to use her custom Sentinel with its 3/5x scope without having to fully charge it.

Your ammo count simply increases from one to five, and it’s up to the player when to use it.

The higher the count, the more chances of missing, but a visual prompt from the scope tells you where to aim to account for bullet drop.

The first bullet to hit deals 50 damage for a body shot, but each subsequent hit doubles that damage.

These hits also benefit from headshot multipliers and boosted rampart shields.

Winder commented, “The idea is that the first shot does less damage – and we played around with that number a lot, or what that initial damage should be – and with the second shot you get that greater damage.

“And again we played around with that number.”

While experienced players will be able to get additional shots, this mechanic gives the targets a chance to escape before being knocked out.

While this might sound frustrating for those playing as Vantage, her rifle does a lot more than just deal damage.

Anyone hit by Sniper’s Mark, as the name suggests, is marked.

This is an invitation for your teammates to team up against this opponent as their weapons also deal 15% more damage.

Her tactical ability, Echo Relocation, allows her to move her pet Echo anywhere on the map.

If she can see Echo, she has the ability to move towards them wherever they are by jumping towards them.

Used correctly, this ability can allow for hasty retreats and clever crosses.

Vantage also has the Spotter’s Lens passive ability.

This allows her to know the rarity of shields, team size, and enemy range, and even share that knowledge with her teammates.

Winder explained how these skills work together: “The original goal was really to encourage long-term engagement.

“Can we create a character based solely on long range?”

“So the first versions of the kit had no movement, there was no echo, there was no tactical movement.

“You can end up being too far away from your team, or getting to high ground to get those shots can be a chore,” he continued.

“It’s really difficult to catch up or close down a team once you’ve done the first few damage shots if you don’t have a character on your team to help you with that.

“So that created a need to solve that problem, and Echo did it.”

This also creates an interesting synergy with other Legends.

Ash’s passive lets the team know where Death Boxes are – coupled with Vantage’s knowledge, this can be devastating to opponents.

Respawn created a more aggressive season of Apex Legends, changed Kings Canyon to favor melee combat, and added laser sight attachments. Perfect for this team-up.

Winder has his own ideas for how a team could work alongside Vantage: “A rampart that puts up some shields that she can shoot through to amp up that damage even more.

“Ash is good, or any other movement legend – Octane with the jump pad or Pathfinder with his grapple and zip line himself.

“As she is now, she doesn’t really need the mobility of other Legends to get there.

“But the fact that these legends have the mobility to pounce on a team, those are going to be good combinations.”

While characters with movement skills make great teammates for Vantage, they also prove to be tricky opponents.

These characters can exploit her position when isolated from her teammates, and shield-based Legends could quickly doom her.

Design Director Evan Nikolich explained what he saw during testing: “I think the ones that are most impressive are those that are very intentional in the flank.

“You’re suppressed, then you lose sight of Echo, and then suddenly you’re shot. It’s like, ‘Oh no, I need to reposition myself.’

“So it’s like learning this new skill, knowing where Vantage stands on the field.

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“Now I have to respect her, but also where Echo is – where she could possibly be from. So yes, some high-skill games there.”

Apex Legends Season 14 lands on August 9th. All of the changes being made this season can be found on our hub page at this link.

Written by Georgina Young on behalf of GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN.

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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/9203496/apex-legends-vantage-interview/ The making of Vantage: Apex Legend’s newest character

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