In the recent Stories from the Outlands video, we follow Catalyst and her group of friends who care deeply about Cleo. But, of course, they run into Hammond Robotics – a major corporation that seems to stop at nothing to achieve technological advancement.
Catalyst’s terraforming work on the moon often brings her in contact with ferrofluid, and we see this first-hand in the animated short as she’s chased by Hammond robots. In the Apex Games, that knowledge of ferrofluid influences her style and skills as she uses it to her advantage.
“‘Techno witch,’ as you might’ve guessed, was the term that got the creative juices flowing for the team,” said Ashley Reed, narrative lead at Respawn. “They [made] her look flowy and liquidy – like [with] the tubes on her back – to reinforce that witchy vibe… but the Apex universe is grounded in science, so it was important that her look reflected that, too.”
Catalyst wears her terraforming work uniform in the Apex Games, but she’s given it a bit of a personal touch to fit her tastes and personality, as you can see in the image above. The ferrofluid that she manipulates may seem otherworldly, but Catalyst purposefully goes for that aesthetic. And she appreciates other Legends who fully lean into their own styles, like Revenant.
Even though she enjoys going for theatrics, Catalyst’s abilities can be broken down from a practical standpoint. She wears a backpack full of ferrofluid that she controls using a magnetic field. The magnetic field is then manipulated through conductors that are woven into her gloves. Even though the mysticism can all be explained, we learned that it was difficult to implement it all in gameplay.
“We have an amazing VFX team and they were a little worried when we showed them the Catalyst concept and described how she worked,” Reed said. “The way she uses ferrofluid makes Cat one of the most VFX-intensive Legends we’ve ever had in the game.”
You’ll get the chance to see all of the ferrofluid visual effects in action whenever Catalyst uses her skills – here’s a rundown of what you can expect from her gameplay-wise.
Apex Legends Catalyst Abilities
- Passive Ability: Barricade
As the name suggests, Catalyst is able to barricade doorways and use her ferrofluid to cut off pathways, buy time for healing, or trapping enemies. She’ll get an extra button prompt on doors to activate Barricade. Catalyst and her teammates can pass through barricaded doors normally, but opponents will need to use melee more than twice to break these reinforced doors down. However, the other Legends’ abilities will still do regular damage to doors.
Catalyst can only barricade two doorways – not doors – at a time. This means that two pairs of doors are her limit. The ferrofluid barricade will last until the doors are destroyed, or until she places a new, third barricade at another location. In that instance, the first barricade will disappear.
- Tactical Ability: Piercing Spikes
Catalyst throws out a patch of ferrofluid that damages and slows enemies with spikes as they try to walk through it. She herself is actually immune to Piercing Spikes when it’s used by an opposing Catalyst, so it’s best to use her when trying to destroy the Tactical. The Piercing Spikes ability can be destroyed by attacking the core found in the middle of the trap. The catch here is that the core only reveals itself to enemies who are close enough to be affected by the spikes, which is why Catalyst is the best Legend for the job.
- Ultimate Ability: Dark Veil
Catalyst erects a giant, permeable wall of ferrofluid that slows movement and partially obscures the vision of any enemy who dares to pass through it. The Dark Veil also blocks the scan tech that’s used by Legends like Seer and Bloodhound, which is a godsend in the face of the game’s current scout meta. With that being said, Legends who can use their abilities for unique movement, like Horizon, can completely bypass the wall by going over or around it.
Taking a step back from the gameplay, it’s also important to note that Catalyst is the first trans character in the Apex Legends roster. During the press event, Respawn provided details on the process they went through to create her.
“We recognized the significance of including a new trans character in our game, and so our focus was on doing it genuinely and authentically,” said Reed. “ To that end, we worked closely with trans developers internally throughout the development process.”
Reed also mentions that the team consulted with GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) to ensure that the approach was true and sincere. Casting for Catalyst even started early so that a trans woman could be cast for the voice with plenty of time for feedback and deliberation when necessary.
Catalyst looks like she’ll be a strong addition to the diverse roster in more ways than one. If you’re looking to learn more about Apex Legends season 15 before it goes live, be sure to check out our coverage of the new Apex Legends map Broken Moon, and the upcoming gifting feature.