Apex Legends says hello to a bigger Olympus and a better Crypto

Olympus' new phase driver
(Image credit: Respawn Entertainment)

We're a week out from a new season of Apex Legends. And while it's too soon to get a brand new map a la last season's Storm Point, there's still new ground to discover on Apex's loftiest arena.

In a dev panel last night, Respawn broke down some of the map and balance changes coming to Apex in Season 12: Defiance. The biggie is that Olympus, pristine flying city and personal favourite, is back—and bigger than before.

While Olympus has long been a fairly balanced map, next season's changes aim to pull attention away from the meat grinder around Hammond Labs and Waterfall. The area surrounding Bonsai towers has been expanded with broken, 'shifted' hillsides and two new points of interest. The first, Terminal, replaces the tight choke between Labs and Bonsai with a layered interior section set within Olympus' vast phase runner, but it's the second that'll draw the most eyes.

Terminal on Olympus

Terminal turns what used to be a small intersection into a fully-featured skirmish point. (Image credit: Respawn Entertainment)

As seen in the launch trailer, Phase Driver is a massive teleporter plaza that adds a dense arena at a previously empty spot between Bonsai and Hydroponics. Being a portal, Phase Driver sports terminals that can be used to summon loot orbs from thin air. These have a 30-second cooldown and make one hell of a racket, so make sure the coast is clear before yanking supplies from the ether. 

Phased terrain pieces have been scattered across the south of the map, but fortunately that's the extent of Olympus' destruction. It's an additive map change, not destructive, bulking out the map without breaking it apart. After what happened to World's Edge, that's more than welcome.

Hacker voice, he's in

Respawn also detailed a few balance changes coming with Defiance, the biggest being a long-overdue buff for everyone's favourite hacker. Crypto has been maligned for some time, having to be stationary in his drone to get any use out of his abilities. By holding tactical, Crypto can now toss his drone out to gain info without settling down. If he decides to fly his drone direct, the UI will now give him more data on his own health, team and game status, ensuring you're not sacrificing information while scouting

Crypto with hacking holograms

(Image credit: Respawn Entertainment)

It's a small change, in line with Wattson's last season, but one that has the potential to give Crypto a hell of a lot more versatility.

Caustic has also seen a slight nerf in letting players destroy his traps while they're active. On the weapon side of things, the Alternator and Volt trade places as care package and floor loot respectively. The Flatline and Longbow also have the honour of being the first guns to be placed in the replicator all season, no longer appearing as floor loot.

Hammerpoint Rounds also return and now offer extra damage to the RE-45, while Shatter Caps no longer require a toggle—instead firing shotgun rounds while hip-firing and traditional single-shot rounds while ADSing. A new Kinetic Feeder has also been added to the Peacekeeper and Triple Take, slowly reloading those weapons as you slider your arse across the map.

Finally, in welcome news to everyone who's sick of dropping Fragment, Season 12 is removing World's Edge to focus on King's Canyon, Olympus and Storm Point (no details were given on ranked splits).

Apex Legends Season 12: Defiance kicks off on February 8, and we'll have more info on the spiciest new additions, new hero Mad Maggie and 9v9 Control LTM, ahead of release.

Natalie Clayton
Features Producer

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.