Respawn Entertainment, dismayed with the early discovery of Revenant as the next character in the battle royale shooter, created Forge to misdirect dataminers, according to design director Jason McCord.
Revenant was first seen in the Shadowfall map of Apex Legends‘ Fight or Fright event for last year’s Halloween, but he had already been leaked as an upcoming character. When Respawn announced Season 4: Assimilation, the new legend was not Revenant, but rather Forge, a former MMA champion that was expected to join the roster as a close-range brawler.
A cameo and files discovered at the back end of the Electronic Arts website, however, raised expectations that Revenant would still soon be added to the game, perhaps in the middle of the season. Respawn tricked everybody though — while in the middle of an interview with Outlands TV, Revenant appeared behind Forge and killed him, taking his spot as the new legend for Season 4.
The plot twist was received well by the Apex Legends community, but according to McCord, the plan was put in place partly to confuse dataminers, who he felt were “stealing” Respawn’s right to make announcements for new characters and content the way that they want to.
“We actually purposefully leaked fake concept art and details of Forge’s kit in patches, so there would be a bread crumb trail by the time we announced him. It’s pretty insane, really. I can’t think of any other game that has gone through such hijinks,” McCord said in an interview with Dot Esports.
Some players did not even believe that Forge was really dead and that he would come back in some form to Apex Legends. McCord, however, shut down the idea, saying “Forge is super dead.” The development team did not even really create a model or skills for the character, he added.
In the interview, McCord revealed that it took Respawn more than a year to create the “unique personality” and “interesting story” for Revenant, who started as an idea from designer Griffin Dean of a “Synthetic Shinobi.”
McCord discussed a tactical ability for Revenant named Marked for Death, which applied an icon to an opponent that players and their team members can see for the rest of the match, but it was considered to be overpowered. McCord also revealed that they had a”very disturbing” idea for a “scurrying spider” animation when Revenant crouched, with dislocated shoulders that made him walk on all fours, but the animation was removed as it interfered with the robotic assassin’s Stalker passive ability.
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