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After Learning Why Each Hero Chose To Join the Game, I Might Switch Up My ‘Apex Legends’ Mains

cropped cover showing many legends in "The Art of Apex Legends" by Respawn Entertainment. (Image: Dark Horse Books.)

Following the release of Conduit in November 2023, Respawn Entertainment maintains a roster of 25 playable characters in their online multiplayer battle royal game Apex Legends. The free-to-play game began with eight champions (six free, with two available for purchase or in-game grinding to unlock). Since those original eight, Respawn releases roughly three per year.

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Because Apex Legends launched as an expansion of the Titanfall games, they share lore. This includes names, locations, political affiliations, and organizations. Each character features their own backstory, special abilities, and reason for joining the Apex Games. Though some of these reasons are noble, others compete just for the glory or love of violence. Meet the 25 characters and learn their motivations for joining the Apex Games.

Bloodhound (Blóðhundur) – Technological Tracker

We’re going to start with one of the most mysterious people on the list, Bloodhound. Outside of their superior tracking abilities and belief in the power of harnessing new tech and the Old Ways, we know little about them. Even their reason for being in the Apex Games is a mystery. They refer to fate a lot and were the only legend with a living companion until Vantage’s introduction in late 2022 (Season 14).

During Season 10 (early fall 2021), Bloodhound became the first legend to receive an Apex Chronicles event: Old ways, New Dawn. This event gave us more insight into their respect for the natural world, but still zilch about why they chose to participate in the games.

Gibraltar (Makoa Gibraltar) – Shielded Fortress

Many of Gibby’s friends joined the Apex games for money and glory but never returned. Having learned about the importance of sacrifice and helping others from a young age, he joined to aid his friends. As one of the jolliest and selfless characters in the game, of course, his reasonings would be noble and pure. We have no choice but to stan.

Lifeline (Ajay Che) – Combat Medic

The daughter of two war profiteers, Lifeline left home disgusted and eager to enlist in the humanitarian organization Frontier Corps. She entered the games to win the funds needed to sustain Frontier Corps. While the rationale may seem weak, these people decided to fight, as opposed to the refugees and settlements aided by Frontier Corps. Lifeline understands money’s influence and is practical.

Pathfinder – Forward Scout

After waking up as a MRVN (Mobile Robotic Versatile eNtity) with a conscience, Pathfinder is on a mission to find his creator. Pathfinder joined the games to gain a following and draw the attention of his maker.

Wraith (Renee Blasey) – Interdimensional Skirmisher

Before joining the games, Wraith worked as a scientist and would experiment on herself. When her partner betrayed her and locked her away, Wraith changed forever as her internal self was split between two realities. Wraith eventually broke free but is still missing a lot of her memories. Hoping to spark some of those memories, as many of the games are held on old IMC bases, Wraith entered the arena.

Bangalore (Anita Williams) – Professional Soldier

After the battle at Gridiron (and on the run), Bangalore’s brother, Jackson, died saving her during a ship attack. While we haven’t seen him die, he fell out of a ship and was vacuumed into space. Then, Bangalore crashed on another planet (hey, she’s a weapons expert, not a pilot, by trade) and looked for work and her brother. Eventually, she came to terms with Jackson’s death and joined the Apex Games to earn the money to pay a pilot to bring her back to her remaining family members. She’s honestly better off without them, as she comes from a military family, and the events at Gridiron deemed her an enemy of the state.

Caustic (Alexander Nox) – Toxic Trapper

Caustic shooting in Apex Legends. (Gif: Respawn Entertainment on Tenor.)

As a scientist at Hubert Labs, Caustic worked to created pesticides to protect crops in the remote Outlands. Unfortunately, he probably skipped his ethics class because he wanted to test living subjects. After his setup at the labs went up in flames (literally), Caustic joined the games to study the effects of the gas on other subjects.

Caustic remains one of the more explicitly nefarious contestants in the Apex Games.

Mirage (Elliott Witt) – Holographic Trickster

While working with his engineer mother to develop Holo-Pilot tech, Mirage took up work as a bartender (honestly fitting, considering how goofy and charismatic he is) to make ends meet. While talking with patrons, he heard these epic stories of the Apex Games and the money that came with winning. With the blessing of his mother, he joined the games for the glory—and attention.

Octane (Octavio Silva) – High-speed Daredevil

After dancing with death too many times, the son of the Silva Pharmaceuticals CEO was injured in a deadly accident. With the help of Lifeline, Octane was fitted with repairable bionic legs. He didn’t learn his lesson and chose riskier and risker stunts since he could just repair himself. So, of course, he chose to join the games to do more death-defying stunts with millions more eyes watching.

Wattson (Natalie Paquett) – Static Defender

Daughter of the Apex Games’ lead electrical engineer, Wattson followed his path and eventually became an engineer herself. Wattson designed the closing ring that we all run from every few minutes. The day Apex Games revealed her creation, Wattson’s father passed away. Subsequently, she joined the game with a few competitors as a way to kind of “return home.”

While this doesn’t quite connect with some, Wattson’s whole life centered on her father, the games, and her own inventions—in that order. So, as weird as it sounds, I get it. Respawn wrote, “Though she could be completely distracted one moment and hyper-focused the next, electricity grounded her – its ordered, predictable flow made sense in a way the rest of the world didn’t.” In addition to her friends, working so closely around her father since childhood, the maps and game mechanics provide some familiarity.

Crypto (Tae Joon Park) – Surveillance Expert

Orphaned very young, Crypto and his foster sister Mila became brilliant hackers for the Mercenary Syndicate. After discovering an algorithm (within the Game’s computer) that could predict the winner of any Apex Games match, Mila disappeared, and Crypto was framed for her murder. He’s joined the games to clear his name and find the people who framed him.

Revenant (???) – Synthetic Nightmare

Over 200 years ago, Revenant worked as a human hitman for the Mercenary Syndicate. Every time he was on the edge of death, he was revived (with the help of Hammond Labs) and became less and less human. Unrecognizable and with no memories of his life before, Revenant tracked down everyone involved with removing his humanity. After killing everyone (we’re talkin’ two centuries here), Revenant stays motivated because Hammond Labs is active and he just likes killing people. So, there’s no direct cause, but he is a broken man who knows nothing but death.

Side note: Hammond Labs is essentially a defense contractor that helped create the Titans, MRVNs, and Spectres.

Loba (Loba Andrade) – Translocating Thief

At the age of nine, Loba watched as Revenant kill her family. To survive, she became a pickpocket, and eventually, the loot just got more valuable. Loba gives very much Catwoman vibes, even though her name is tied up with wolves.

Anyways, her high life of thieving and luxury came to a halt when she learned Revenant joined the Apex Games. However, she got a little distracted by all the loot in the games, and Revenant became a secondary target. After all, he’s been around for so long, he isn’t really going anywhere.

Rampart (Ramya Parekh) – Base of Fire

After opening her own shop, engineer and weapons expert Rampart went into the underground circuit to show off her skills in gun modding. One night, a group ambushed her at her shop and burned it to the ground. All that was left was an Apex Card. Rampart joined the games to not only showcase her skills, but to earn the money to reopen her beloved shop.

Horizon (Dr. Mary Somers) – Gravitational Manipulator

On the cusp of a terrible energy crisis, Horizon moved her family to Olympus and co-discovered the solution in an element called Branthium. On the mission to the edge of a black hole to test her theory, Dr. Reid betrayed her and pushed her in. Barely surviving, Horizon is now 88 years into the future and determined to return to the past. With part of the Apex Games held on her former research station (Olympus), she joined in hopes it will lead her to a solution to reunite with her family.

Fuse (Walter Fitzroy) – Explosive Enthusiast

Bound to the barely hospitable planet of Salvo, Fuse grew up with fellow legend Maggie. While he started with the freedom fighters, Fuse eventually used his skills for mercenary work. Later in life, Fuse found his true calling in the fight arenas. Turns out he just likes fighting, and everything else was done trying to put purpose to it. He joined the Apex Games for the violence and the glory.

Valkyrie (Kairi Imahara) – Winged Avenger

As the daughter of Viper (from Titanfall), she retained her father’s love for flight and battle. While there is no clear reason as to why she joined the games, Valkyrie likely was swayed by finding the card on the hand of a man she went to kill. Valkyrie commissioned Rampart to make her iconic winged suit from the Viper’s suit, Northstar.

Seer (Obi Edolasim) – Abush Artist

Prophecized to bring destruction and born another terrible omen, Seer’s parents raised him with love and compassion. With that support system, Seer grew into a creative performer and superstar. Reaching his mid-20s, Seer decided to join the Apex Games. Thus far, it’s kinda unclear again as to why he’s in the games, but I have my fingers crossed they expand upon his lore some more. Bonus points if they do it by working with Lil Nas X.

Ash (Dr. Ashleigh Reid) – Incisive Instigator

In her human life, Dr. Reid took on a job from a mercenary group to steal an experimental fuel source and manipulate the other researchers on the job (Horizon). After a lab self-destructed, she died, and someone put her brain in a simulacrum shell similar to Revenant. Her personality was fractured, allowing for her to become an even better killer.

However, after a run-in with Horizon, Ash’s humanness started to bubble to the surface. Ash joined the games to prove that despite the cracks of her former human self, she is still a precision killer.

Maggie (Margaret Kōhere) – Rebel Warlord

As an anti-colonial freedom fighter, Maggie has always been on the run from authorities. On trial for leading the attack on the Syndicate, Maggie face execution by firing squad until Eduardo Silva (the CEO of Silva Pharmaceuticals and Octane’s father) intervened to send her into the Apex Games. Because Silva holds some secrets and Silva Pharmaceuticals became the host of the games after she joined, this signals that this was no act of mercy.

Maggie is very interesting because from what we know so far, she is the only legend that didn’t choose to join the games. She’s not super upset about it because Maggie expresses glee over the idea of taking Fuse’s second arm, but still.

Newcastle (Jackson Williams) – Mobile Guardian

After being believed to be dead by his sister Bangalore and everyone else, this ex-lieutenant joined a family in the relevantly peaceful home of Harris Valley. Jackson worked on the armor for a regionally popular but not-so-great Apex player known as Newcastle. Riddled with debt and unable to earn money via the Apex Games, Newcastle was shaken down and killed but not before Jackson jumped in to defend him. The interaction led to Jackson joining the game to prevent Harris Valley from being torn apart by investors upset Newcastle didn’t pan out. Jackson grew out his beard and donned the name and armor of Newcastle.

Vantage (Xiomara “Mara” Contreras) – Survivalist Sniper

Growing up on the ice planet Págos, all Xiomara knew was how to survive and that she and her family had been on this planet for ages. However, after activating an alert on an abandoned ship, she learns that her mother, Xenia, is actually an escaped convict T-0323 from Gaea. In activating this alert, the ship’s defense severely wounded Xiomara. Xenia set off the ship’s SOS beacon so that aid would come, which also led to her imprisonment. Once Xiomara healed, she joined the Apex Games to attract attention to her mother’s case because the bloodsport was all anyone would talk about and surviving a hostile situation (especially with her excellent sniping skills) is what she knows best.

Catalyst (Tressa Smith) – Defensive Conjurer

As a trans, witch born on the planet of Boreas, Tressa only found comfort in her friendships and crystals. The increasing industrialization on her planet and its moon, Cleo, pushes Tressa to break into a mining facility. The situation gets more dangerous when finds that her friend brought a bomb, and chaos ensues. Tressa barely escapes with her life and finds herself with powers strong enough to protect a small community living on Cleo. However, when Seer and Silva Sr. announce the moon will be the home of a new Apex Games arena, the community is kicked out. Tressa joins the games to use the prize money to support her found family.

Ballistic (August Montgomery Brinkman) – Refined Gunslinger

Ballistic is new to this game but not to the battle royal style of combat. Despite being a billionaire, Ballistic joined the Thunderdome Games—the predecessor of The Apex Games—in his youth. Here he gained a reputation for his weapons skill and cocky attitude. Alongside the love of his life, Sok Leng, and her brother, Kit Siang, he was part of a seemingly unbeatable squad.

Unsurprisingly, that carefree demeanor and willingness to sacrifice safety for style was met with tragedy when Kit died in combat. Overcome with guilt, Ballistic pulled away from everyone, including Sok, and their son, Nathaniel. After twenty years of Nataniel admiring his father’s legacy, he enlisted in the Apex Games. Not wanting to lose more family, Ballistic demanded to the top dog of the Syndicate that they let him go in instead. Such a well-known face could mean a ratings boost for the games.

Conduit (Rowenna Valentina Coffey Divina) – Shield Healer

When Rowenna was a child, she survived extreme violence following a coup on her home planet of Nexus. After witnessing a Monarch Titan sacrificing itself to protect their community, Rowenna and others came to idolize these Titans. During the peace time that followed Rowenna was able to live a relatively normal life. This meant becoming obsessed with the Apex Games like many other teens her age.

After tragedy struck in her family, Rowenna ventured into a quarantine zone to scrap Titan parts and found a battery. The initial radiation exposure from this battery drains life from Rowenna, but also was what she needed to rig up a machine that allowed her to join the Apex Games under the moniker Conduit. Like others before her, she feels that the winnings and attention might be what is needed to shield those in her life from more harm.

Last updated November 2023.

(featured image: Respawn Entertainment)

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Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.

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