Apex Legends’ next season, Hunted, launches on Aug. 9, bringing sweeping changes to Kings Canyon in significant and minor ways. Skull Town’s return, now a new POI named Relic, is the major headline, but the list of additions and improvements to Kings Canyon extends far beyond the reconstruction of the popular landing spot.
A lighting overhaul, a new skybox, changes to The Cage, and pass-over map mechanics such as zip balloons and charge towers are a few of the many updates Apex players can expect to dive into when Kings Canyon returns.
“We’re looking at all the facets of the map, and focusing on the health of the map, and really identifying problems on the map and coming up with solutions to them and trying to touch more areas of the map instead of just like a single corner or something like that,” lead level designer Jeff Shaw said at a press event last week. “It’s something we’re really excited about and it’s definitely a new philosophy that we’re going to be leaning into for future map updates.”
Here are all the map changes you can expect with Kings Canyon’s return in season 14.
All Kings Canyon map changes in season 14 of Apex Legends
The return of Skull Town
While it may be classified as a new POI, rebranded as Relic, Skull Town has returned to take its rightful place on Kings Canyon between Octane’s Gauntlet and Caustic Treatment. The popular landing spot was destroyed alongside Thunderdome back in season five but returns in season 14 as part of developer Respawn’s efforts to add landmass back to the map.
When discussing the new POI, Shaw explained that Skull Town’s return came from a want to bring back “some of that classic Kings Canyon gameplay that people love and miss,” as well as adding better rotational options to an area of the map that previously funneled players into conflict.
Updates to The Cage and Broken Relay
Some of Kings Canyon’s other locations are getting updates alongside the new additions to the maps. The Cage is seeing drastic changes to its height and interior spaces, with the entire upper area effectively removed and replaced with a far more open and much lower top floor next season. The Cage was “dominating the area that it sits in and teams could really bunker in there,” according to Shaw. The change aims to speed up fights and reduce defensive compositions in the POI.
Broken Relay is also seeing changes and being rebranded to be called Basin. Respawn believed Broken Relay lacked appeal as a drop location, so the devs have added more loot and buildings to the area to draw more squads to land at the POI. It’s a smaller change on the surface but part of Respawn’s new philosophy toward map updates, where overall health and holistic improvements take center stage.
Updates to non-POI locations
Given the name “Hillside: by Shaw at the press event, the two-building non-POI location on the hill east of Containment will also be seeing a lot of updates in season 14. Specifically, the two buildings will be removed in favor of open space with less coverage. While the layout and design of the location remain roughly the same, the team hopes this change will reduce the duration of fights in the area.
Changes to zip balloons and map toys
Shaw gave no specifics on the nature of the changes coming to Kings Canyon’s more microelements but explained that every element of the map had been looked at in the pursuit of balance, health, and improved pacing within each match of Apex.
“We looked at so many other aspects of Kings Canyon, including the map-wide loot balance,” he said. “We looked at explosive holds, we looked at zip balloons, we looked at charge towers, we looked at end rings. We just looked at so many aspects of the map, so a lot of changes are coming.”
A visual overhaul
In addition to map changes affecting gameplay, the season 14 update to Kings Canyon significantly changed Apex‘s visuals. The lighting team has relit the map, and a new skybox has also been implemented. The impact on the vibrancy and color palette of Kings Canyon is immediately noticeable and Shaw didn’t hold back in his praise for the work that Respawn has done, saying that its “breathed new life into the map itself.”
Apex players can explore each facet of the new Relic POI and the significant changes coming to the other locations across Kings Canyon when the next season, Hunted, goes live on Aug. 9.