How Apex Legends Uses A Rat To Characterize Season 11's Ash
In a Twitter thread, Respawn lead animator Moy Parra details how the animation department helped characterize Ash, Apex Legends Escape's new character.
Apex Legends Season 11: Escape kicks off November 2 and introduces playable character Ash to the battle royale game. Like many of the previous legends, Ash has a sidekick--a small rat that rides on her shoulder and hides in her hood--and it's designed to inform players of her characterization.
"Ash's rat has no name," Respawn lead animator Moy Parra said in a tweet. "This was a request from us in the animation department with a particular purpose in mind."
That purpose, as it turns out, was to provide a little bit of humanity for the terrifying simulacrum. Ash presents a lot like Apex Legends' other simulacrum, Revenant, in that both are seemingly cold individuals with an insatiable desire for killing. But Ash's rat characterizes her as a bit more calculating and purpose-driven than the murderous Revenant.
As Parra adds, Ash is not so caring as to name the rat, but the fact remains that the rat's health and trust of Ash betrays that Ash is capable of taking care of a living thing, despite her voice lines dripping with supposed disdain for biological life and her repeated vocalizations that humans are weak because their bodily needs make them fragile.
"[The rat] allowed us to show a bit of humanity from the character, without compromising the character itself," Parra tweeted. "Ironically, it is the rat that shows the more warm/human side, the side that Ash herself will never show!"
Though Respawn won't ever internally name the rat, the studio is more than fine with the Apex Legends community coming up with one. So far, the popular choice seems to be "Ronin," in reference to the name of the Titan that Ash pilots in Titanfall 2. In fact, Ash's abilities are seemingly inspired by Titanfall 2's Titans, especially her ultimate ability which behaves similarly to a Ronin's Phase Dash.
Ash is just the latest legend to have a pet-like companion. At launch, the only two legends to have this sort of companion were Lifeline, who has D.O.C, and Bloodhound, who has Artur. Since then, Respawn has regularly relied on pet-like sidekicks to help characterize most of the new legends--some are actual living creatures but most are drones or signature weapons. Octane had Navi (past tense as Navi died), Wattson has her Nessi plushie, Crypto has Hack, Rampart has Sheila, Horizon has N.E.W.T., and Fuse has Wally.
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