I started as a designer at Respawn Entertainment in May 2010, when the studio opened.
Apex Legends was released in Februrary of 2019 on PC and Xbox One and Playstation 4.

Every level shown is a product of the whole team, with many assets being designed and implemented by other departments such as art, fx, audio, etc.
While I was the principal designer of Kings Canyon through developement, other designers and even artists helped design some areas. It was truley a team effort.

Kings Canyon In-Game Map

Kings Canyon was a very exciting project for me because of how monumental a task it was.

The map is 1.1 mile squared (or 1.8km squared) and contains about 29 uniquely designed towns.
I'm confident that if you took every map I've made before this in Call of Duty and Titanfall, they would all fit inside Kings Canyon.

When we started this project, we did not have the tools or the engine capable of supporting a map of this size. Previously, the biggest map we had ever shipped at Respawn was probably Beacon (Titanfall 2 Single Player), which I think could fit easily inside of Relay and Wetlands. We were constantly breaking the map compiler and exceeding engine limitations, where then code would give us a little more rope.

Kings Canyon was designed around "zones", which are large areas that feel like big, outdoor rooms. This allows players to peak into the rooms from the chokepoints and decide if they want to enter based on the activity they see. Fights feel more understandable and contained in the room, and afterwards let the squad feel like they won and, in turn, now "own" the room. Until the next squad rolls up.

This makes Kings Canyon feel a bit more like a traditional MP map than a Battle Royale map, which I think helps with competitive mastery as players learn their favorite positions and routes for moving through the map.

A big inspiration for me was how MMO's design their worlds. Each area you enter needs to feel special and unique, and you can get a vibe for the theme of the area from the entrance. Landmarks rise into the skyline to give you a sense of direction and layout. The chokepoints let us compose beautiful, epic shots where your eye travels from power position to entrances to landmarks.

Below I'll highlight some zones and some design goals with them.


Skull Town is the largest town on the map, named after the giant Leviathan skull that sits off to the side.

The spine acts as a prime sniping location for the entire zone, which is designed like an X in the middle of a ring of rocks and sand dunes. The ring of rocks acts as a border wall, signaling to the player that they are entering a new space, and to check the spine for snipers before entering.

The arms of the city act as welcoming roads into the center, with plenty of tarps and interiors to act as vertical cover from anyone controlling the spine or the rooftops of the tall apartment buildings in the center.

The open dunes contain pockets of loot bins, used to temp players out into the open.

While having some of the most loot in the map, it also is one of the few places you can get rolled up on from 360 degrees.

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Artillery is another hot drop location in Kings Canyon. The goal here was to make a high value area that was very secluded, and getting in or out required fighting through some tight chokepoints.

Areas in Kings Canyon were designed around what position you would naturally want to hold if you predicted that the ring would close there. This rewards forward thinking, strategy and positioning.

The building in the back has a powerful position on (almost) all the approaches, so if you were holding that perch while the ring closed in, you'd have a strong advantage to anyone playing the ring's edge and running across the open ground.

The large artillery cannons that give this area its name were used to create a "weenie" that could be seen from far away.

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Market is popular partly because it's near the center of the map, but also because it's an enclosed space that players can easily understand. It's also a very visible shape from the plane.

It's designed to be its own little deathmatch area. I use this idea in lots of Kings Canyon locations, but this is the one that embodies it the most. It's fully enclosed, and in the days of Quake, this could be an entire, small  deathmatch map.

Being enclosed forces some different gameplay. There are very little positioning & flanking options compared to fighting out in the open. There are no airstrikes or distant snipers. Getting third partied is less frequent because that team would need to breach the Market doors, which is a lot scarier than engaging 2 teams fighting from afar with a Longbow.

Later in the game, the Market meta shifts. The inside has been looted, so the rooftop becomes a power position to hold a very heavily trafficed junction.

The windmill town to the South is used precisely to give options for players to loot and fight against a team on the Market roof. This is one of my favorite fights in the game because it can get so hectic. If the team at windmill town can supress the Market team for just a bit, they can push past the open space and get underneath them. Then, it's all out chaos, players poking up at different angles to fight the rooftop, and controlling that Market roof feels very scary.

On a personal note, you can find a small homage to my pup of 12 years (Shadie) in a corner of the Market. She passed away while I was working on Kings Canyon, and this little shrine helped me get through that.

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Where my Caustic mains at?

Bunker, up until about a month before shipping Apex Legends, was just an unnamed cutthrough in the mountains. It wasn't designed to be a drop location. It was designed to allow our defensive characters to have areas where they felt powerful against the more aggressive assault characters.

As we playtested Kings Canyon, people would describe to me epic fights they had enjoyed in "that military hallway in the mountains... I don't know what it's called."

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