Apex Legends is changing the support game with its newest hero, Newcastle. The shield-wielding knight is bringing a very unique kit to the battle royale, one that deviates from existing support Legends in very interesting ways. Newcastle may very well become a top choice for support players in Apex Legends Season 13, as well as a fan-favorite character thanks to his dad jokes and dad bod. We got a chance to get a sneak peek at Newcastle during a deep dive presentation last week, here’s how we think the new Legend will shake up the Apex games.
Newcastle’s character arc was written by a fellow dad, Respawn’s Ify Nwadiwe, who says he wanted some “cool dad representation” in Apex Legends.
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Everyone loves a daddy, and Respawn is leaning into the father figure with Newcastle (aka Jackson). When the hero known as Newcastle is killed by mobsters coming to collect on a past due payment, Jackson reluctantly puts on the armor to protect his town and his family. The new Newcastle may be Bangalore’s long-thought dead brother and former IMC soldier, but he’s also a father looking to protect his family.
That “cool dad” ethos Nwadiwe mentions struggles a bit to fit into Newcastle’s armor, as he’s got a quintessential “dad bod” according to designer Christina Laviña Ferez. “He used to be super fit, he used to be a soldier, but now he has more of a chill life, he put a bit of weight on, the suit’s a bit tight,” she says. The team also brought “a bit of an outdated feel to him,” with Newcastle’s old school idea of cool seeping into his design and attitude. As Newcastle’s name and design would suggest, the Legend is something of a futuristic knight, complete with helmet, armor, and a shield bearing his logo. Newcastle is also something of a superhero, and his movements suggest that. This guy is a superstar, and incredibly loveable – a testament to Respawn’s ability to write fantastic characters that add depth to what could easily be a superficial battle royale.
Jackson’s status as former IMC soldier, dad and brother to Bangalore, and the man currently pretending to be a famous hero sets the stage for some great stories. How will Bangalore react to her brother entering the games? Why did Jackson leave the IMC and start a new life as someone else? The opportunities for great in-game dialogue and events are endless, and players who appreciate Apex Legends’ clever weaving of lore throughout the gameplay and season trailers will love this.
Jackson’s story and status as Newcastle are certainly interesting, but it’s his kit that will have people talking. Newcastle is an aggressive support character, a “heroic defender” according to the dev team. “This guy needed to be someone who could leap into the fray heroically to protect his squad, somebody who is going to lead that charge, shield their advance, and he’s a guy who would leave no man behind,” explains game designer Devin Weise. “He’s not afraid to lay his life on the line to bring his team back into the fold and pull them out of the fire. So we knew that the abilities couldn’t fall into that classic bunker defense style, it couldn’t be someone who’s like, ‘Hey, you guys come to me’ – he needs to go to them.” With that playstyle in mind, Respawn has given Newcastle a kit that puts defense on the offense.
His passive ability allows him to drag downed allies away from the fray as he revives and protects them with a wrist-mounted shield that is as strong as the knockdown shield in your kit. This will give players the confidence to go out into the line of fire and drag a downed player back to cover. His active ability is a mobile shield that can be directed after it’s placed, which again allows for hypermobility behind the safety of cover. And his ultimate ability sees Newcastle leap up in the air, pull the shield from his back, and slam it into the ground to build a massive, fortress-like wall. Enemies in the vicinity of this quick construction will get knocked back, while those who try and push will get slowed down by an electrical barrier, not unlike Wattson’s.
While many players may feel like another shield character is unnecessary in a meta largely dominated by Gibraltar, Respawn believes Newcastle brings an entirely new support style to the round table (lol). “Gibraltar has his own problems that we’re looking at very seriously because we want to take on that shield meta that he brings to the table,” Weise says. “But Newcastle has been designed to make sure that his counterpoint that he brings with the different shield aspects are very clear. And you have an option to deal with that, whereas with Gibraltar, you can’t break down his shield, you basically just push and hope that you can survive the 1v1 fight… Newcastle on the other hand, his walls are directional, which means that you can flank them, you can throw items over them, you can break through them if that’s the only option you have on the table.”
It seems like Newcastle, whose kit has been worked and reworked in some way for the past two years according to Respawn, is the perfect new addition to the game. He’s a great Legend for players who like to support but don’t necessarily love hanging back, or for those who have never played support before but are usually super aggressive. While upon initial inspection it looks like Newcastle’s abilities crossover with other Legends, a closer look reveals a hyperspecific kit that slots in well with the existing lineup. After a few aggressive Legends were added in Valkyrie, Ash, and Fuse, Newcastle is a great support character that will help further round out the meta. With Newcastle, Respawn once again shows its dedication to keeping Apex Legends fun and fresh.
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