Apex Legends launches on Nintendo Switch today, and in the run up to its release, developer Respawn Entertainment and porting house Panic Button have confirmed to Famitsu the resolutions and frame rate that games can expect when playing on the hybrid console. The game is releasing on Switch later today, most likely at Respawn’s typical update and maintenance release time of 5PM UK time.
As you would expect, Panic Button has had to make a string of compromises in order to get the game to run acceptably on the Nintendo Switch compared to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. To do so they’ve set the target frame rate to 30fps, which is half that found on Sony and Microsoft’s home consoles.
Additionally, the game’s resolution has had to drop significantly, depending on if you’re gaming in handheld or docked more. When playing on a TV, the game will run at 1280×720, while handheld mode drops that down to 1024×576. Expect it to look a little bit fuzzy, but tight performance is much more important, and that leads us to another point.
Apex Legends on Nintendo Switch supports full cross-play to other versions of the game, but given the performance disparity, Switch owners will be glad to hear that you can opt out of cross-play and enter a matchmaking queue filled with other Switch players. That will help to level the playing field somewhat.
While porting the game across, Panic Button and Respawn looked to take advantage of the Nintendo Switch’s specific features, and have integrated support for the console’s motion controlled aiming – this is something quite common for Switch ports of first person shooters.
All of this is no surprise to anyone that’s familiar with the Nintendo Switch. The console is based on a smart device platform and countless games have been ported to it making various cutbacks and compromises. Overwatch, for example, has a dynamic resolution which tops out at a dynamic 900p docked and 720p in handheld, while perhaps the closest point of comparison would be fellow battle royale Fortnite, which also has a dynamic 900p when docked and 720p when handheld. Both games sacrifice 60fps gameplay on home console for 30fps and have dynamic resolutions that can be significantly lower than the upper target – Digital Foundry reported that Fortnite could drop to 640×360 at its worst, though this may have changed with further updates and optimisation.
The March release comes after they made a statement of intent to port the hit battle royale to Switch last summer, before being forced to delay the port’s release to the start of this year. There was plenty of speculation that the Switch version would arrive alongside the start of Season 8 – Mayhem, which kicked off on 2nd February, but Respawn were completely silent on the matter.
Having missed that potential release target, Respawn has made special accommodation for Switch players joining the fight mid-season. Switch players will immediately be granted 30 free levels through the Season 8 Battle Pass – presumably a boost up to level 30, so people can’t skip into the higher tiers after playing on other platforms – and playing on Switch will earn you double XP for the first two weeks after launch.
Apex Legends is out now for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with the Switch port out later today, 9th March.