In the world of online hero shooters, Respawn Entertainment’s Apex Legends has stood out for its diverse character roster. Over the years, Respawn has been dedicated to adding new Legends from the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, with the recent introduction of asexual Legend Alter. But how does Respawn approach creating these diverse characters, and why is representation so crucial? I had the opportunity to speak with narrative lead Ashley Reed and Alter writer Jaclyn Seto to dive into these questions.

Ashley Reed emphasized the importance of players feeling seen and included in the gaming world. She highlighted the significance of building a vibrant community with diverse experiences and backgrounds. From the beginning, Respawn had a clear focus on creating a diverse cast of characters that reflected the world around them. By consulting with developers and individuals from different groups, they ensured authenticity and avoided harmful stereotypes in character creation.

When it comes to developing new characters, Respawn takes a design-first approach, focusing on gameplay mechanics and character uniqueness before diving into backstory and representation. Ashley mentioned that the team is passionate about exploring different identities and creating characters that players can connect with on a personal level.

The addition of Alter, an asexual character, was a result of organic character development. Jaclyn Seto shared her journey in crafting Alter’s personality and how asexuality felt like the right representation for the character. She expressed the team’s desire to make players feel seen and represented through the diverse cast of Legends in the game.

The positive impact of diverse representation in Apex Legends has been evident through player feedback and community engagement. Ashley mentioned that receiving positive comments from players was both fulfilling and reassuring after months of hard work behind the scenes. The team hopes that diverse characters have contributed to a more inclusive and welcoming environment for LGBTQIA+ players.

In response to criticism of “forced diversity” or accusations of being “woke,” Ashley emphasized that diversity and inclusivity have been core values for Respawn since the beginning. She highlighted the importance of creating meaningful, colorful, and diverse characters that resonate with a wide range of players. The team is always exploring new avenues for representation, including potential disability representation in the future.

As the conversation wrapped up, Ashley reflected on the vast possibilities for character representation in Apex Legends. From exploring different nationalities to considering characters with disabilities, the team is committed to expanding the diverse cast of Legends in the game. While resources and development timelines present challenges, the dream is to continue including characters from all walks of life in the game.

Overall, Respawn’s approach to inclusive representation in Apex Legends showcases a dedication to authenticity, creativity, and community building. By putting diverse characters at the forefront of their game design, Respawn has created a space where players from all backgrounds can feel welcomed and represented. The ongoing journey of character creation in Apex Legends promises a future filled with even more diverse and inclusive storytelling.