Apex Legends has never been more connected to Titanfall.
Ahead of the launch of Apex Legends Legacy on 4 May, Stevivor sat down with a host of Respawn developers to preview its new content.
Legacy officially kicks off the ninth season of the popular battle royale game and adds a new character called Valkyrie, a 3v3 mode called Arenas, updates to the Olympus map and a new composite bow weapon called the Bocek Bow. We’re focusing on the first two items for the purposes of this preview.
Valkyrie is the title’s newest character and one with the “biggest connection” to Titanfall in Apex Legends to date. Valkyrie is the daughter of Titanfall 2 antagonist (and Apex Predator himself), Viper. She’ll be able to take advantage of jetpack flight and a cluster missile barrage ability that are possible through a salvaged Titan, though Titanfall‘s metal behemoths will sadly not directly feature in-game.
“Valkyrie is a smuggler with a lot to prove,” said Respawn’s Ashley Reed, Senior Game Writer on Apex Legends, who continued on to say that she’s character looking to find herself in the post-war world that the shooter is set within.
The character has three passive skills, though her main claim to fame is the VTOL jetback on her back. Double-jumping will activate the jetpack, and you can fly as long as you have fuel — as shown on your HUD — remaining. Describing the feature, Lead Game Designer Daniel Klein said a lot of attention was put into making Valkyrie and her jetpack “fair” in comparison to Apex‘s other characters.
Simply put, jetpacks are super loud, making it so other players “can practically pinpoint” where Valkyrie is when it’s in use. Her jetpack also means she has some predictable flight paths, making it relatively easy to lead the target for some good shots when you’ve located her.
Valkyrie’s tactical ability is a cluster missile barrage that was described as a “mini-Bangalore ultimate”, painting a 3×4 grid of target locations on the ground when activated and then sending rockets down, wave by wave, upon enemies. The rockets will deal damage of course, but also cause a stun effect comparable to an arc star, Klein confirmed.
Finally, Valkyrie’s ultimate is Skyward, a move that first rockets her — and her two teammates if they’d like — up into the air for a quick reposition. When she (and her team) hit their peak in the air, they’ll then launch into a dive identical to the one you undertake when starting a match.
Season 9 also brings a new mode called Arenas, a 3v3 mode that is set outside the regular battle royale experience and similar to competitive matches seen within the likes of Call of Duty‘s Gun Game or Valorant.
Arenas matches are “quick, fun and competitive,” according to Chad Grenier, Apex Legends‘ Game Director, “allowing players the chance to learn the ropes” of the battle royale experience before they actually jump in. Two teams of three will face off against each other in an effort to win at least three rounds with a two-round win margin. If neither team can hit that two-round margin at the end of eight total rounds, a sudden death match will be played to break the 4-4 tie.
Before the start of each round, squads are enclosed in separate spawn rooms and have access to a shop to buy weapons, health consumables, character abilities and upgrades. A set amount of currency is given at the start of each round, though additional credits can be earned through gameplay; moreover, most items will be removed from your inventory at the end of a round, though unused character abilities will carry over. The system really lets you spec your player as you’d like as “you don’t want to pray to the RNG gods” for weapons or upgrades given the nature of the mode, Arenas Designer Robert West explained.
Needless to say, there’s a lot of strategy involved — do you spend up big at the start of it all to get some quick wins, or do you save materials to upgrade for bigger and better weapons down the line in order to later dominate? Your inventory can also be bolstered by supply bins and material canisters that are scattered throughout the arena, alongside a single drop pod (per round) that is kitted out with upgraded weaponry. Of course, Apex Legends‘ ever-present ring remains, shrinking the playing space as time progresses.
Dave Osei, Lead Level Designer, confirmed that Respawn is “committed to Arenas in the long term,” with more maps to be rolled out as the season progresses.