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Apex Legends' new character is a big, beefy boy with a metal arm

A new season of Apex Legends will begin in February, and when it does a new character will join the ranks of contenders. His name is Forge, and he's a heavyweight who uses his massive size and Shatter Gauntlets to pound his opponents into goo.

"This guy is the exact opposite of Crypto," writer Tom Casiello said in the new dev diary video. "This guy is a brawler. He gets up close and personal with you. He's got a mean left hook, you can see from the picture. He's a five-time Hyper Fighting Federation champion!

"He's got a big personality. He's conquered one world, the MMA world, and now he wants to conquer another one with the Apex games. He's also the first legend we're introducing who is corporate sponsored. His sponsor is Hammond Robotics. I don't know if Apex Legends people know that, but if you're a Titanfall fan you've heard of it before. Are they good, are they bad? Have to play to find out."

(Alternately, we could nip 'around to the Titanfall Wiki for a look: "One of the major interplanetary corporations that exist within the universe of Titanfall, Hammond Robotics is a major manufacturing, aerospace and defense contractor allied with the IMC. Claiming to have been at the forefront of robot design since the 20th century, Hammond produces considerable amounts of war material for the IMC cause, including Titans, Marvins and Spectres. Their logo can be found on all Titan briefing videos." So, yeah, they're bad.)

The lead-in to the fourth season will see big changes to the World's Edge map, similar to the King's Canyon update in season two, design director Jason McCord said. "Hammond might have something to do with it."

Assimilation will also see the addition of a new weapon, a bolt action sniper rifle called the Sentinel. Unlike other sniper rifles in the game, Sentinel has a "charge mechanic," so you'll have to decide whether to wait for a full-power shot, or take the shot you have at any given moment. "There's some good gameplay there that we're having a lot of fun with," said McCord.

Ranked play will also undergo some changes in the new season. Series 3 of ranked will be three months long, but divided into two "Splits," the first on World's Edge and the second on King's Canyon, with a soft reset between them. There's also a new Master Tier being inserted between Diamond and Apex Predator, which will require 10,000 RP to achieve, the same as Apex Predator has been so far. Apex Predator ranking will be limited to the top 500 players on each platform, and it will be possible for players to be demoted out of that ranked and back to Master if they're surpassed by others. There will also be changes made to party restrictions, penalties, loss forgiveness, and rewards—the full rundown (as it stands so far) is available here.

Apex Legends Season 4, Assimilation, will begin on February 4, the first anniversary of the game's launch, and to celebrate the big birthday EA is offering free login gifts for players who get into the action anytime during the new season's first week: A Year 1 Origami Flyer charm, a Year 1 loyalty badge, and 10,000 XP for your first match of each day throughout the week. 

Naturally, a new Battle Pass is on tap, but we'll have to wait a bit to see what's coming in that. The full Apex Legends Season 4 reveal is up at ea.com.

Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.