Creating Catalyst, Apex Legends' First Trans Woman

Respawn worked with her voice actor, trans developers, and consultants to craft the battle royale's latest hero.

For the creation of Catalyst, an out trans character in Apex Legends, Respawn consulted with trans people both within and without the developer.

In an interview with GamesRadar, Apex Legends lead writer Ashley Reed, associate director of gaming at GLADD Blair Durkee, and Catalyst's voice actor Meli Grant talk about what went into making the first transgender woman in Apex Legends, and Titanfall by extension.

In her Stories From The Outlands trailer, Catalyst outright states her identity, emphasizing the importance the developers on making an out-and-proud trans character. Blair Durkee said, "I think players will be pleasantly surprised that her trans identity sort of shines through in every aspect...It's something that is intrinsic to who she is in the game." The team also wanted to make her identity explicit, given the limited amount of time they have to introduce her. Apex Legends has plenty of lore, but it's contained mostly on the outside of the game in trailers, comics, and other material.

GLAAD consulted on basically every aspect of her character and Meli Grant also lended her expertise and lived experience to the role. Playing a part that connected to her real life, Grant found resonances. She said, "I can't speak for everybody, but a lot of trans people live their lives in some amount of caution or fear...that kind of creates in you a sort of natural defense mechanism where I know a lot of trans women who are very snarky and sardonic… that connected with me very, very deeply." That carries to more superficial areas as well, with trans developers connecting to and being excited about Catalysts techno-witch aesthetic.

Catalyst will enter the fray on November 1.

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