As an avid gamer, I am constantly looking for new releases and gaming experiences. Last year, I came across “Apex Legends,” a battle royale game that was released in early 2019.
The object of the game is to work with your teammate to eliminate all other enemies and, of course, win. There are other game-modes available, but battle royale is the most popular. Since its release, “Apex Legends” has come out with 14 seasons and 14 new legends — character options with unique abilities.
This November, Apex will release a brand new legend for their new season, Eclipse. The new legend is a transgender woman named Catalyst. Within the previous list of legends there are non-binary and LGBTQ+ characters, but for some reason, not all fans are on board with a transgender legend.
Many are arguing that it is unnecessary, but honestly I think this is a great step forward for the gaming world. I think it is crucial for such identities to be represented in popular games, as it can help people who are struggling to see someone like them in something they enjoy.
The development studio of “Apex Legends,” Respawn Entertainment, took creating Catalyst very seriously, “work[ing] closely with consultants from GLAAD and the studio’s own trans employees in developing her,” according to Polygon.
GLAAD, which stands for Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, writes on their website that they undertake “tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change.” Helping to create a transgender character in a well-known video game can lead to that exact change they are looking for.
According to gaming website Active Player, just in the last 30 days, over 63 million people played “Apex Legends.” The majority of these players are 18 and under, which is quite an impressionable age group.
It is not only important for the release of a transgender legend to help others see representation, but also to teach acceptance. If that many people are playing the game, seeing and playing as Catalyst could educate and help players learn respect towards those who are different from them.
Each legend has their own voice lines that tie in with their character, and I am expecting some from Catalyst that reflect her journey and identity. These could be informative to those playing her or playing with her on a team. It is not the first time players have seen this either.
Queer female characters Valkyrie, Bangalore and Loba have flirtatious voice lines with one another that depict a love triangle. Bloodhound, the first legend from the game, is believed to be non-binary. This is why I do not understand why people are having such a problem with Catalyst, as she is not the game’s first queer character.
YouTuber CrazyRachet, a big content creator in the Apex community, was able to play as Catalyst before her upcoming release. “There’s been a lot of controversy about… Catalyst being a transgender woman,” he acknowledged within his posted video. “You can not agree with something, but still be respectful… Accept people for who they are, people are people.”
His YouTube video received a ton of positive feedback, with user Gekobi commenting, “Seeing an influencer stepping up and talking about everything you said in the intro is the reason why you are the best rachet. I appreciate you man.”
I’m hoping that with the actual release of Catalyst when everyone will be able to play her, there will be an even greater response. Regardless of what people believe in, we can all learn something from this about respect. I’m glad that such a prominent video game is taking the steps to create a more accepting world, and especially glad that it’s a really great video game.
Photo courtesy of Antoni shkraba, Pexels.