Apex Legends hasn't been particularly overt about its Titanfall roots for most of its existence, with evidence of the shared universe being apparent in smaller details that only fans would notice - but with Season 9, things are set to change. The new content in the upcoming season embraces the game's origin as a Titanfall spin off - here's everything we know.
When Does Season 9 Begin?
Subtitled 'Legacy', Apex Legends Season 9 will launch on the 4th of May, 2021. This mean we have just over a week left to wait before the new content drops. Or we drop into the new content? Whichever.
In any case, traditionally season updates go live at 10:00 AM PT, so that or its equivalent in your time zone should be when the fun begins. To get that hype up, check out the recently released Apex Legends - Legacy trailer:
New Legend - Valkyrie
Early leaks suggested that the next playable character coming to Apex Legends would be related to Titanfall in some way, but it seems they got the exact character wrong. Instead of Kuben Blisk - the leaked assets may have been one of Respawn's signature diversions - we're getting Valkyrie.
Real name Kairi Imahara, Valkyrie is a titan pilot, one of the elite soldiers we play as in the Titanfall games. As their names suggest, they're specifically trained to drive around the hulking, walking tanks known as titans, but are also a force to be reckoned with on foot - or on the walls. When not inside their mechs, titan pilots rely on rocket packs to parkour around the battlefield.
Since many of the underlying game mechanics are different in Apex Legends, the way a titan pilot works in the battle royale had to be retailored a wee bit. Inexplicably this titan pilot won't be piloting a titan; nor do any of her abilities directly involve titans, unlike Blisk's leaked ultimate. Valkyrie traded the old rocket boosters used for sprinting and limited wall-running for an actual, proper jetpack, and most of her abilities revolve around this piece of equipment.
In lieu of any official information, everything we know about Valkyrie's abilities comes from leaks. These seem pretty legitimate, but considering Respawn's track record with fooling leakers, expect some surprises when they get officially revealed.
- Passive: "VTOL", Valkyrie can use her jetpack to hover in the air temporarily.
- Tactical: "Cluster Missile", Small pods on Valkyrie's jetpack launch a set of cluster missiles, dealing AoE damage.
- Ultimate: "Skyward", Valkyrie and her squad launch up into the air and enter a skydive, just like when you 'drop' at the start of a match.
If Valkyrie's ultimate pans out, this may be one of the most tactically versatile abilities in the entire game. Right now, redeployment is only possible via the scarce balloons scattered around the map, so having one that you can pop wherever you are is a gamechanger.
This level of mobility will allow squads with a Valkyrie player to peace out from a losing battle before being taken down, escape to a safe zone if need be making risky loot more attainable, or hunt down a distant squad with greater ease. We can already see the impending 'Valkyrie meta' for Season 9.
Sure, the other abilities aren't anything to scoff at - depending on how the Cluster Missile will work in terms of aiming and range, it will be a good backup if you aren't lucky with weapon loot, and the hover ability will give Valkyrie more mobility options.
Map Update: Olympus
Each season one or some of the maps in Apex Legends get a makeover, big or small. After last season's comparatively extensive rework of King's Canyon, it seems that Respawn decided to put Olympus through the wringer this time around.
The idyllic city in the sky has something of a weed problem, apparently. While official information is scarce, it seems that some kind of "natural growth" has sprouted in the gardened areas and now covers the once impeccable lawns of Psamathe. Maybe the next Legend will need to be some kind of weaponized gardener.
It's possible that this particular map update will introduce further environmental hazards, provided the natural growth in question is in some way dangerous. Maybe it's thorny, maybe it's toxic, perhaps it even has some sort of evil mutant venus flytrap-like thing ready to chomp on unsuspecting players. We'll have to wait and see.
New Weapon - Bocek Bow
Considering its prominent appearance in the Apex Legends - Legacy trailer, it's pretty obvious the bow is coming to the game. It's also been leaked thanks to data mining efforts, which is how we know the actual name of the weapon. This will be the first weapon in Apex Legends not relying on bullets or energy, which has some interesting implications for the game.
First up, the Bow is likely going to need an all new ammo pool all for itself. Will this make ammo for it more scarce? How will arrow physics work? How will arrows interact with shields? Does this mean more non-traditional weapons will come to Apex Legends?
What little we do know is that the Bocek will be effective at short to medium ranges, with significant damage fall off at long distance shots. It is expected to be a heavy hitter, capable of killing other players with one or two well placed shots.
It is yet to be revealed what the exact stats of the Bocek Bow will be when Season 9 rolls around.
New Arena Mode?
There has been a lot of rumblings about Apex Legends receiving a new, smaller scale game mode which trades the large open maps and traditional gameplay loop of the battle royales and moves closer to regular multiplayer shooters by pitting teams against one another on smaller, tighter maps that encourage firefights.
This seems to have been basically confirmed by the Legacy trailer we linked above, with the narrator - Ash, returning from Titanfall 2 - ominously stating that the Legends are going back to where they started out, in the Arenas. This lines up with rumors and leaks we've been hearing for months now, and it seems that the planned Arena mode has been under some form of development for a long time now.
The exact format of these new Arena matches is unknown. The assumption based on leaked data implies 3v3 battles on small maps, which will either be brand new ones or walled-off areas 'sliced' out of the existing large maps.
Right now the only official mention we have is that brief hint at the end of the trailer, but there is no shortage of datamined info and speculation. Some suggest that the shrinking ring mechanic will remain, but will be sped up, and that a supply crate with high-end loot will drop into the center of the map mid-match to 'force' confrontation.
Some fans speculate that in Arena, you'll actually be able to start the match with a loadout of your own choice, de-emphasizing the loot aspect while keeping it in play as a chance to get even stronger weapons and to surprise the opponent. Either way, we'll likely have to wait a bit longer to get an exact idea of what Arenas will look like.
Ah, the plight of healers. Subject to constant rebalancing and tweaking, always needed, never thanked. Lifeline isn't an exception, and this Legend is getting a bit of a rework for Season 9. In a rather drastic move, her Resurrect Shield is being removed entirely, as it was considered extremely imbalanced in its current state.
To make up for that, her healing is getting a 60% buff, and the Care Package is guaranteed to have better items than what the squad currently sports as opposed to being randomized.
Stay tuned for more news about Apex Legends - Legacy as we get closer to release!