Apex Legends, the free-to-play battle royale game, has unveiled a new character, Catalyst—the first transgender woman to join the roster. A nearly five-minute animated short introduces Catalyst’s backstory along with a teaser for the upcoming map in the game’s 15th season update.
Apex Legends is a hero shooter, meaning it revolves around a predefined cast of playable heroes (referred as “legends”) with unique abilities and gameplay styles. Catalyst, whose real name is Tressa Smith, is described by publisher EA as an “experienced terraformer and defensive conjurer” who “uses her remarkable control of ferrofluid to manipulate the battlefield.”
The animated short, “Stories from the Outlands: Last Hope,” gives us a glimpse into the character’s mystic powers. It begins with Catalyst performing divination through tarot-like crystals. When Catalyst casts the crystals to read her own fortune, the scene transitions into a flashback.
Catalyst comes from Boreas, a planet with a broken moon named Cleo. With the environment threatened by the Hammerhead Robot company, Catalyst has joined up with a sisterhood of rebels, plotting to take a stand. During a conversation with the group’s leader, Margo, Catalyst reveals that she is trans.
“I feel like the whole world has opened up, now that I’m myself,” Catalyst says while overseeing a stunning alien landscape. Later, Margo reads Catalyst’s palm and comments on her strength of character, how she has already been through so much. Catalyst concurs, saying, “Transitioning. That was sort of hard.”
Catalyst and Margo go on to lead a raid against the corporation, and the fate of Margo is ultimately unknown. This sets the stage for Season 15 of Apex Legend, titled “Eclipse,” which EA has teased will take place “in Boreas’ shadow.”
— Respawn (@Respawn) October 17, 2022
Catalyst is voiced by out trans actor Meli Grant, and developer Respawn told GamesRadar that they worked with GLAAD and their trans employees to ensure authenticity in developing the character.
Catalyst joins six other LGBTQ+ characters, including the nonbinary trans legend Bloodhound. Additionally, a 2021 study by Diamond Lobby that analyzed race and gender across 100 recent games found Apex Legends to be the most diverse.
Catalyst will be playable when Apex Legends: Eclipse drops on November 1st.