Apex Legends has taken the battle royale market by storm. The free-to-play multiplayer game has amassed over 25 million players in a week. Respawn’s done a lot right with the game, including character mobility and the ability to revive party members. One of the best aspects of the game, though, is the legend diversity. Two of the main, and debatably most essential legends, are two black women Lifeline and Bangalore. Lifeline is a support character, able to keep her teammates topped off in the middle of battle. Running across a team without a Lifeline is rare. Bangalore, a badass professional soldier, has one of the best ultimates in the game. She can call in an artillery strike that can kill entire squads or provide an escape route for her teammates.
Not only are the legends racially diverse, but some have distinct sexual orientations. Gibraltar, a beefy shield tank, is canonically gay. He developed his need to protect others after his father lost his arm while attempting to save Gibraltar and his boyfriend from a mudslide. His protective streak, combined with a sense of rebellion, is why Gibraltar joined the Apex Games in the first place. He intended to protect his friends by putting himself in harm’s way.
Bloodhound, considered one of the best game hunters in the Frontier, is non-binary. They’re many rumors surrounding Bloodhound’s identity, but no one knows for sure who they are. The mystery surrounding Bloodhound is perhaps what makes them so interesting and exhilarating to play.
As I’ve mentioned before in a separate article, representation in video games is essential for communities who feel marginalized by the industry. I think Apex takes this a step further by adding a non-binary legend. Gays and lesbians are slowly becoming more natural in the industry, but we don’t mention most orientations outside of those two. Bloodhound’s existence in the Apex world will help non-binary players feel more welcome in the community.
This inclusion does leave us with an important question though, did Respawn include LGBT+ characters in the game specifically to cater to a marginalized audience? Short answer, yes. Respawn wants the community to relate to their legends and continue to play their game. The more groups they refer to, the more people who will play Apex. But I also think they truly intended to represent the LGBT+ community. Respawn’s legend diversity shows players that there are more than just straight white characters in the world and that they offer their own experiences and abilities. This representation is a significant step in the direction of inclusion.