The CAR SMG is among the best Apex Legends guns, and one of the FPS game’s developers has spoken about the team’s intent that Apex Legends new guns “should be fun” in response to a claim that the weapon is overpowered. Respawn’s live balance designer John ‘JayBiebs’ Larson replied to a comment about the CAR’s strength with a lengthy post explaining some of the design decisions that go into bringing new weapons to the battle royale game.
In a Reddit thread discussing the CAR SMG, which is the newest Apex Legends weapon and was added in season 11, user Sairizard says they feel the gun is an example of power creep and claim that “Respawn are definitely not playing their own game.” In response, Larson jokes, “1v1 me bro,” before going into detail about the Respawn team’s approach to new weapon balance.
Larson begins by saying that “it makes sense to lean towards the strong side” when tuning new gear for release, explaining that the “hype new thing should be fun, and if it’s fun to use, players get more reps in with it sooner,” which makes assessing what makes a particular gun fun, strong, or frustrating for players much easier for Respawn’s balance team. “Would rather release strong and nerf than release weak and buff,” he adds.
“New legends/items have to be sexy and strong to disrupt the meta. The new thing has to be particularly appealing to get us to break up with what’s comfortable.” Larson emphasises that players in competitive games are more likely to lean on the tools they are already familiar with to ensure success, and so anything new needs to give those players a compelling reason to pick them up over what they already know.
One thing Larson stresses is that new items need “a compelling gameplay reason to add the thing in the first place.” The CAR, he says, delivers that with the magazine versatility – the gun’s ability to employ both heavy and light ammo – which combines with its strong hipfire and DPS potential to make a powerful tool. However, initial usage of the SMG was lower than anticipated, in part due to less manageable recoil at range compared to other weapons in the class.
Players warmed up to the CAR over time, says Larson, recognising its strengths. Directly addressing the original poster’s suggestions of nerfing mag size or reload time, Larson says, “I’m really glad we didn’t. I think it matured into the meta quite nicely while giving us a better sense of how to revisit its identity within the SMG class when the time comes.”
If you’re wondering who the sexiest and strongest legend is, our Apex Legends tier list has you covered. We’ve also ranked the best guns in Apex Legends (including the CAR), and our Apex Legends season 13 guide has everything else you might want to know about the multiplayer game’s current seasonal goings-on.