Every new season of a battle royale is an opportunity for new players to join the game. Respawn Entertainment believes that Apex Legends season 8 is a great time to join, and the studio designed the season’s new character, Fuse, with that idea in mind.
During a recent interview with Polygon, Respawn team director Steve Ferreira explained why Fuse might be the best character the studio’s ever released for new players.
“We wanted to create this kind of more casual, easy-to-pick-up-and-be-effective-with-immediately kind of kit for new players and casual players,” Ferreira said. “Rather than a character that was going to be super sweaty or someone you need to push really aggressively with, [Fuse] kind of plays with more options in mid to long-range engagements.”
At first glance, some of Fuse’s abilities may seem similar to previous Legends, there are a few subtle details that make him easier to pick up for new players. His Ultimate, for instance, seems similar to a character like Gibraltar — both characters rain down explosives onto a small area. But Gibraltar’s Ultimate is best at clearing enemy players out of a certain area, while Fuse’s Ultimate ability, Motherlode, drops bombs that create a ring of fire around a target to keep enemies pinned in.
“We have a lot of other abilities that are kind of area-denial, kind of like making a space that you should not go into because it would be dangerous, like Caustic or [Gibraltar’s Ultimate],” Ferreira said. “[Fuse] kind of inverts that and says, ‘No, you’re not going anywhere, we’re going to lock you into this space.’ Which, when you think about pairing that to the rest of his kit, means that he can stay back at a farther distance and bombard his opponents from range.”
This difference helps give Fuse’s Ultimate a unique place in the game, but it also makes it a little easier to use than Gibraltar’s Ultimate too. After a big Gibraltar Ultimate, the enemies you were aiming at are likely scattered in a few different directions, making them harder to track. But Fuse’s Ultimate keeps them all in one place, so you always know where to look.
Fuse’s Tactical ability, Knuckle Cluster, is similarly straightforward.
“It’s a kind of cluster bomb that sets off a repeating series of concussion bombs that stun players,” Ferreira said.
Ferreira explains that Knuckle Cluster has a unique synergy with Fuse’s Ultimate because it helps to make enemies a little easier to hit with the ability. Fuse can quickly stun his enemies with Knuckle Cluster, then lock them down with Motherlode to make sure that they’re forced to stay put, while the rest of his squad gets in position to take them out.
Finally, there’s Fuse’s passive ability, which introduces a neat wrinkle to the standard battle royale formula. Because Fuse can hold extra grenades and throw them farther, teams might give all of their grenades to Fuse and turn him into a living artillery cannon. To make that role a little easier, Fuse even has a reticle that shows where his grenades will travel and bounce, making him more accurate than other Legends with thrown explosives.
“Fuse is really anchored around the idea of explosives.” Ferreira said. “In particular, you know what explosives mean for Apex, it means ordinance: grenades, thermite, and Arc Stars. [We] wanted to change up how people think about those things, and how they use those things. [...] [Fuse] can use them in a much more effective manner, and he’s more accurate with them. You can really pinpoint exactly where you want to put a grenade at a much longer distance than you normally could.”
Meanwhile, experienced Fuse players will be able to use his abilities to trap enemies in the perfect chokepoints, or even combo his Ultimate with a teammate’s to pick up a few free kills. But by focusing Fuse entirely around the idea of explosives, Respawn hopes that it’s tapping into some latent skills that new players have picked up in other shooters. As Ferreira put it, “You don’t need a lot of explaining when you hand somebody an explosive in a video game.”