Apex Legends is currently making major waves in the gaming community. Not only is it amassing new players at great speed, but it may well be one of the most diverse shooters ever made.
Respawn’s latest game was only released on Monday and already it’s having a huge impact. The free-to-play battle royale title, set in the Titanfall universe, was developed in secret, with the vast majority of gamers only becoming aware of it at launch.
The lack of build up doesn’t seem to have impacted its success, as the game hit the one million player mark in just 7 hours. Since then the numbers have grown and current figures put the number of players at over 10 million. While Apex Legends still has a long way to go to reach the heights of Fortnite or PUBG, the game is certainly making solid progress.
One of the things currently being praised is the diversity within the character roster. While there is always an argument for more representation, the range of characters Respawn has created is fantastic to see. They have managed with just eight characters to represent a significant amount of people who rarely get to see themselves reflected in a game.
On top of the game's racial diversity, two of the Legends have been confirmed as LGBTQ characters. The first is Gibraltar, who is a tank-like character with heavily defensive abilities. In his official biography on EA’s website his backstory talks about “when he and his boyfriend stole his father’s motorcycle”, highlighting his sexuality in a way which is relevant to his background.
The second LGBT Legend is Bloodhound, who is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. While the pronouns were spotted in their biography many players asked for clarification.
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Allegra Clark, Bloodhound’s voice actress, took to Twitter to talk about the subject and why using the correct pronouns matters.
There’s been some back and forth on the subj, but Bloodhound, through my recording process, has always been NB with they/them pronouns. This distinction might not be important to you, and that’s fine! But it’s important to others, so please be respectful and use neutral pronouns.— Allegra Clark (@SimplyAllegra) February 6, 2019
Further confirmation came in an interview with Rock, Paper Shotgun where Respawn confirmed the character's non-binary status and went on to say:
“Our studio is comprised of a diverse group of people, the player base of battle royale is comprised of a diverse group. Having a diverse cast is super important. You want everyone to have someone they can connect to.”
Establishing these character elements in the game's canon right from the start is important for letting all kinds of players know they're welcome to join in - and there definitely isn't space for anyone toxic. Apex Legends developer Tina Sanchez also has something to say for the toxic people in her life:
To:— Tina Sanchez (@Teanah) February 7, 2019
-all the bullies who picked on me in High School
-The guy who told me I'd never be a Producer
-The guys who thought I only got my previous jobs because I was a "minority hire"
... you can download Apex Legends for free pic.twitter.com/ha52vABWU0
So far Respawn is doing a great job with diversity, here’s to hoping other studios are taking notes.