Apex Rising launched by Falloutt
esports.gg spoke exclusively to Falloutt, as he announced the first of several Apex Rising events.
ALGS Caster, Jon "Falloutt" Kefaloukos has unveiled 'Apex Rising', a new tournament series designed to cater for amateur players. Apex Rising will kick off with a Community Charity Invitational raising money for a soon to be announced charity partner. The event will be held on April 20 & 21.
This tournament will feature both professional Apex players, and amateur players from the wider Apex Legends community.
esports.gg exclusively spoke to Falloutt about Apex Rising and the upcoming Charity Invitational.
Apex Rising: $25k Charity Invitational details revealed
After approval from EA, the details of the upcoming Charity Invitational have been released.
The tournament follows a unique format. The event will be a multi-day affair. Featuring 40 teams. They will compete in a double elimination, ALGS style format event familiar to most Apex fans.
However, a twist comes with the teams. Both pro players and amateur players will compete together. Each of the 40 pro players will captain a team of amateur's.
This event will be worldwide, with captains from all 5 regions of the ALGS featured. Falloutt told esports.gg that there has been a strong reception from players so far. He is expecting major names to take part.
Why mix teams?
Skeptics would argue that you would raise more money and awareness by having 40 teams of all pro players, instead of just 40 captains.
However, Apex Rising are positioning themselves as "by the community and for the community". Falloutt wants to address the gap between casual players and the ALGS Challenger Circuit.
Pairing casual players and ALGS fans with star ALGS players makes both interesting content, but also helps to bridge the gap between the different levels of Apex. Additionally, there is a real desire to help discover the next generation of Apex competitors.
How can I take part?
Apex Rising is looking for 80 "diverse and deserving" community members. These are being selected via application based on community merit and other factors. Full details can be found here.
Raising money for Charity
The Apex Rising: Community Charity Invitational will seek to raise money for Charity.
Falloutt is has been incredibly ambitious about how much money that this event could raise. Details are still being decided, but it is expected that there will be an initial $25k prize pool going to the charity partner. Falloutt wants to grow this total and is setting a $1m fundraising target. This would be the biggest fundraiser in Apex history.
Falloutt reveals all about Apex Rising's future
Speaking exclusively to esports.gg, Falloutt explained that the upcoming Charity Invitational is just one aspect of Apex Rising.
"Apex Rising is meant to be a programme and ultimately an umbrella with multiple events underneath it. What those events are going to be is still to be announced."
"The Apex Rising Charity Community Invitational is a single event underneath the umbrella. The goal is that if everything goes well, we will make that a quarterly or consistent event. Consistently raising money for charity, and giving those amature players a chance to play with their favourite pros and get better. Everyone watching can learn and improve from it."
Gap in the Apex Legends competitive ecosystem
Falloutt set on the Apex Rising journey after identifying a huge gap in the Apex Legends competitive ecosystem. Between the Challenger Circuit and Ranked sits a huge gap in both skill and playstyle. Moreover, there is a distinct lack of tournaments even for established Challenger Circuit teams. Most events are gatekept and do not allow open entry for aspiring teams. What's more, his passion to make this project a success is one of the reasons he has taken a step back from casting the ALGS Pro League this split.
"Ultimately Apex Rising all up is aimed at really solving an opportunity in the Apex scene right now. For that middle tier of Apex player that wants to compete either recreationally or aspirationally and reach a higher ceiling but doesn't really have the means to do so. Ranked is a great experience for online casual competitive fun play but you don't get the experience of the full ALGS experience. Rather than just having those players just watching, I want them to be able to go and compete and apply what they have watched into their gameplay in competitive events."
Events to feature all regions
Falloutt is really keen to make sure that his events do not fall into the trap that a lot of Apex events do, focusing solely on North America. Some events also focus on the EMEA region, but others get totally left alone beyond ALGS.
"We want Apex Rising to be as diverse and inclusive as possible, so it will be across all regions, as many as possible. The Apex Rising Community Charity Invitational we will have pro players represented from every single region. Those players will ideally also then compete with players from their region. No leaks or spoilers, but we have FCHAN invited and looks like he will be competing."
Following the Post Malone model
When asked how the Charity Invitational will raise money for Charity, Falloutt pointed to the Charity event hosted by Post Malone. He raised $196k across his event, with Respawn contributing an additional $40k on top.
"The model is very similar to Post Malones model. The tournament itself will likely have a $25k Charity Prize pool, going directly to charity. That will come from corporate sponsors and partners. But then the rest of the fundraising is coming from the community. We are going to kindly ask the pro players and influencers that are participating to take part with our charity promotion and overlay to drive donations and funds from the community to our overall goal. Between the main stream, pro players and corporate partners plus hopefully EA will support the event we should be able to rally and reach our goal."
Falloutt, as one of the longest serving and most notable ALGS casters, is well connected across the game. He has already started reaching out to notable pro players, streamers and influencers across the Apex scene.
"So far we have gotten interest from almost all of the big names. To make Apex a 10+ year esport we need to build the foundation and the middle funnel for players to grow and learn."
Plenty of interest from brands in Apex Rising
It has been a difficult time for Apex Legends over the last 12 months. Several organisations are withdrawing from the game. There has also been a huge lack of third party tournaments, especially outside of EA. Falloutt says that despite this, he has not struggled to generate interest in his upcoming event.
"From a brand and marketing perspective we have had a lot of interest. Apex Legends is still a top five viewed category. Two of those categories, like Just Chatting, are not competitive multiplayer shooters. Apex is still one of the most played games. It has strong viewership and other KPI metrics. Brands know that, brands want to support the Apex community. We've had some really good conversations with a variety of brands and problems."
"There has been so many willing brands who want to get involved."
Falloutt has been calling on his professional experience working for Microsoft to help generate sponsorship for his tournament. In addition, he admits that this event could be much easier to jump in with than launching your own sponsored series. Consequently, Falloutt hopes this could help spawn more tournaments in the future.
"My learning from all of this is that I am surprised that there has been struggles to [host tournaments] because there has been so many willing brands who want to get involved. One of my super powers is I spent eight and a half years at Microsoft in partnerships and sales so I am very fortunate to have a lot of contacts. Maybe that's why. We are giving brands a very easy way to get involved, so maybe that is also why."
However, Falloutt is more than aware of the struggles in Apex when it comes to tournaments. He hopes that Apex Rising can help resolve this problem across all organisers. He is working with ChronoCreative and Minustempo, who run the Oversight series in North America.
"Our goal is not to monopolise all the sponsorships and become the only tournament series. We don't want to compete, we want to uplift. We want to rise up the entire community. I've already been talking to Minustempo, Chrono and other tournament organisers. Our goal is to let them eat as well and to bring the momentum that we gain from brands, sponsorships and connections to help them succeed as well."
Apex Rising will have multiple event tiers
When pressed on how the future of Apex Rising might look, Falloutt exclusively revealed the current working plan for the future of his new tournament umbrella. However, EA has the final discretion on all major tournaments and therefore this could all change.
"I'll give you a pretty big roadmap, the details will be announced in more details specifically and of course is all pending approval from EA to be able to run this. None of this is locked in by any means but it is all a vision.
There has been some confusion as to if Apex Rising's Charity event was the be all and end all of his plans, but Falloutt can exclusively reveal to esports.gg the current planned events under the Apex Rising umbrella.
"The next steps are four different things. One of those is our Community Charity Invitational which is already known. The other three are three distinct programmes."
Apex Rising: Academy
"Number one is most likely going to be called Apex Rising: Academy. This is an opportunity for Bronze, Silver and Gold level players to learn from top tier players on how to get better and how to improve It's not fun for anyone if Bronze, Silver and Gold players are competing against Diamond and Masters players in tournaments. They get destroyed, it's not balanced and it is not fair. The way they get better is by playing against players of their own skill level to experience competitive Apex the way everyone else does. This will be run likely weekly."
Apex Rising: Predator
"Programme number two is tentatively called Apex Rising: Predators. This is for tier three, the next up. Kids like 'Vodery'. He's insane, he's made fans. The biggest criticism I have heard about Vodery is he isn't playing with good enough players but that is because he doesn't have a chance to put his name out there. Take that concept. Apply it to all these programmes. Give those players a chance to put their skills on display. We also want to make sure that collegiate teams are involved. We are hoping that this is a weekly opportunity for masters and above level players to compete weekly, rise up and reach that Challenger Circuit."
Vodery, Falloutt says, is the epitome of what he is trying to do with his new series. 15 years-old, so not able to compete in ALGS, but already incredibly talented and trying to seek experience before he becomes ALGS eligible.
Vodery says that "Falloutt lit a passion under me I haven't had in a long time". If Apex Rising can establish a new pipeline for players, how many talented emerging talents could we see work their way into the ALGS system? In addition to sharing stories of players like Vodery on social media, Falloutt has even been competing in tournaments alongside Vodery in recent weeks. Moreover, he has hinted that he will be supporting Vodery as he begins his ALGS career this summer.
Apex Rising: Community
While a lot of details are pending approval by EA, Falloutt has already made a start on hosting events. He has been running community games through his Discord and has received a great response so far.
"The last branch is something we have already been doing. Apex Rising: Community. This is everyone playing with each other. Balanced teams, a predator player teamed with a Diamond Player and a Platinum player for instance. Everyone helps each other get better and it's a mixed bag of teams. It's a lot of fun. The feedback has been amazing on these already. I've had hundreds of people message me saying I have never been more inspired to grind Apex as I am right now. You have renewed my passion for Apex with these competitive games."
Apex Rising to help Challenger Circuit players improve
But, how does this sit with the Challenger Circuit, which is open to players Silver 4 and above. It is widely felt that in reality this is too low. Silver players are not going to progress through the event, and would likely be put off by their experience. Falloutt hopes Apex Rising can help bridge the gap for these players.
"I like that it is open and inclusive. My thought process and my teams vision is that there is a perfect synergy. This will give [pending EA approval] a weekly opportunity all year long to get better. The goal is that those Silver players become Diamond players or Platinum players and can go into competing in the Challenger Circuit and do better every week. They can see their improvement. Feel like they are on a path to improvement."
Bridging the gap between Ranked and ALGS
A common complaint amongst Apex Legends players is how different Ranked plays out, especially at the top tiers, to ALGS and other tournaments. Falloutt can see how this generates an opportunity for a new tier of competition.
"You're right that right now you ranked and you're a silver player, cool. It's not like the true Apex esports experience because you don't make it to late games etc. It's way different, no one rotates early it's just very different. Then you go into Challenger Circuit and get your butt kicked, what's the inbetween? You don't have a chance to feel a sense of improvement or accomplishment week after week. The whole goal is: let's build and rise up the entire community, that middle tier. So when they go into Challenger Circuit it flows in perfectly for them to use that as a benchmark. Did I make it to round three? Quarters? Semis? I think we are gonna have a lot of great stories of people who came out of Apex Rising and ended up making it to the finals and becoming Challenger Circuit teams.
All regions to be included
With his clear ambition to run Apex Rising globally, Falloutt is aware of the huge amount of effort his vision will take to execute.
"Likely, we are running these events regionally. Details are TBD and we are working on these things day by day but the intention is for this to be across all regions if possible. It will require a huge staff and we need to find those people."
Another aspect that is important for Falloutt is ensuring Apex Rising staff also benefit from the tournament series.
"I don't want to take advantage of volunteer work, there is enough of that in esports. People taking advantage of free unpaid volunteer work out of passion. It's a mentorship. TSM Dunc is a great example. He is our social media lead. Runs one of the largest social media brands for esports organisations in the world and he is treating it like a mentorship. People that want to get into social media in esports get to work with him and learn how to set things up. We don't want to take advantage of that."
Furthermore, as well as giving mentorship opportunities, Falloutt also wants to make sure staff get paid. Apex Rising could generate a lot of opportunities in the Apex Legends space. On top of helping people make a living in esports, this could additionally spawn more opportunities and events across the game.
"We want to make sure people get some form of compensation, a stipend or whatever it can be. We're trying to secure sponsors and partners to make that happen."
EA in discussions about Apex Rising
The future of the wider Apex Rising programme is still up in the air. EA have to give approval for major tournaments, and Falloutt is discussing details with EA on a near daily basis. However, it is not expected that there will be any major issues with his vision. It has been acknowledged that Apex needs more third party events outside of ALGS, and this initiative will likely be welcomed.
Furthermore, Falloutt is very keen to ensure that he helps the scene more widely. If this initiative can help draw in more support and sponsors for the competitive ecosystem, Apex Rising could be a huge gamechanger.
Stay tuned to esports.gg for more Apex Legends coverage and esports news.