As Nat Clayton pointed out on PC Gamer, Ash may be the debut character in season 11 of Apex Legends, Escape, but she isn’t its star — at least not its only one. Horizon is just as important for the game’s lore and ongoing story this season, because she and the Arenas overseer have some big time beef to hash out.
If that doesn’t sound familiar, don’t worry — Upcomer is here to break down everything there is to know about Ash and Horizon.
Horizon’s Apex Legends lore
Understanding the core of this conflict must start with Horizon. Her Tales from the Outlands cinematic established that she – Dr. Mary Sommers – was one of the scientists at the forefront of trying to solve the Outlands’ energy crisis, alongside her protegee Dr. Ashleigh Reid. The pair discovered an element called Branthium that Dr. Sommers was convinced could be the key to unlocking limitless energy and ending the crisis. Branthium can only be found on the accretion disk of a black hole, so the two doctors embarked on an expedition to one. Dr. Sommers left behind her young son Newton, but promised him she’d be back.
Dr. Sommers ventured out into space to collect the Branthium, and Reid used that to her advantage. She stole the Branthium and sent Sommers’ shuttle into the orbit of the black hole, abandoning her in space. Using her scientific knowledge, Sommers was able to modify her robot, N.E.W.T, to escape the black hole. However, due to the way the black hole distorted time, she didn’t return home until 87 years after she originally left.
Her time in the black hole also gave Sommers special powers. This, in combination with her desperate desire to see her son again, is what fueled her to start competing in the Apex Games. With the money from victory, Sommers plans to fund research to turn back time and reunite with her son at last.
Ash’s Apex Legends lore
Originally, the consciousness that would become Ash belonged to Dr. Ashleigh Reid. Along with being Dr. Sommers’ apprentice, she was also involved in building Pathfinder. Unbeknownst to Dr. Sommers and the other researchers, Reid was working with the Apex Predators, a mercenary group looking to steal Branthium.
After betraying Sommers, Reid attempted to take all of the Branthium supply for herself, but was mortally wounded in the process. In her last moments, Reid requested to be made into a simulacrum (robot body, human brain, basically) and thus Ash was born.
This robotic form of Reid became a part of the Apex Predators and was running around, wreaking havoc as one of the villains in Titanfall 2 for a while. Her main, important connection during this time is Blisk, the leader of the Apex Predators. After Ash went through a series of dis-and-reassembly (plus encounters with other Legends like Pathfinder, Mirage and Rampart), Blisk contacted Ash and asked her to oversee the Arenas competitions in the Apex Games.
Horizon and Ash ended up meeting again somewhat by mistake. Horizon had a theory Ash might have a similar knowledge base to her friend and fellow scientist, Lilian Peck, so she got a code from Crypto to unlock Ash’s ego retention system. This woke Dr. Reid up, revealing that Ash is a part of Reid’s psyche that has taken on a life and agenda of its own.
Internally, Reid is fighting against Ash, as the robotic personality is looking to prove that it has transcended what it perceives to be human weakness. She joins the battle royale side of the Apex Games as a competitor to prove just that. Meanwhile, Horizon realizes who Ash really is and the mistake she made in waking her up.
Trouble in Paradise
The Episodes section of the Escape tab in Apex Legends features the ongoing story of Ash and Horizon’s conflict. Ash has new memories to investigate and Horizon finds a clue about what might have happened to her son. This leads to them crossing paths again at a surveillance facility. Chapter 1 is a fairly brutal exchange between the two regarding the past and how both plan to take on the future.
Chapter 2 unlocks in about five days and will continue the story of the pair’s conflict.