Sat. Oct 1st, 2022


Hot Drop is GameSpot’s weekly Apex Legends column, in which Jordan Ramée takes a closer look at Respawn’s battle royale to provide additional insight into the evolution of the game, as well as dig deeper into its episodic storytelling and characters.


Anyone else notice anything weird about Apex Legends’ Valkyrie, Wattson, Mad Maggie, and Rampart? How is it weird that four of the legends who carry some of the heaviest gear in the game are, at the same time, among the thinnest, right? It feels like these four need buffs for their actual stature.

In the case of Valkyrie, Wattson, and Rampart, the three legends carry what appears to be exceptionally heavy gear on their backs at all times. Wattson hauls his bulky interceptor pylon, Rampart drags that huge minigun, and Valkyrie has a jetpack that uses the repurposed flight core of a Titan.

I might buy that Valkyrie’s jetpack is still passive, providing just enough lift to ease some of the burden she’s carrying without actually taking her skyward. But even then, wouldn’t she still need to be exceptionally fit to repeatedly go back and forth between squatting and standing with such heavy equipment resting on her shoulders? And there’s probably a lot of force exerted on her when she’s flying with the jetpack, considering how fast she’s going and how little protection she’s wearing.

And it’s really weird when it comes to Wattson and Rampart, who repeatedly pick up and place their gear. Even though both are the youngest legends in the competition, both should have shoulders and legs built like rocks with all the lifting they have to do. Rampart above all, given that she can now pick up and carry her minigun while it fires with virtually zero rebound. I think she should look less like a bad student and more like Zayra from Overwatch.

Maggie, like Rampart, has a very slim body. And while she’s not carrying anything that feels particularly heavy, Maggie’s ultimate ability requires her to throw a lot. And as anyone who’s ever played a sport involving any type of throw can tell you, doing it over and over usually gives you really strong muscles in your shoulders, arms, back, and chest. Still, Maggie looks like her fellow Legends might snap her like a twig.

This has always bothered me because Respawn clearly isn’t afraid to put taller or more muscular body types in Apex Legends. The Battle Royale game launched with characters like Gibraltar and Caustic, then became closer to Fuse and Newcastle, all of which are designed to be taller, taller, and more muscular than their counterparts to reflect the way they wield armor or heavier weapons. So what’s up with these four? Is it just that they are all women?

Of course, looking physically fit is not synonymous with being physically strong. But it seems Respawn is limiting the number of body types it uses when creating female or female characters – almost all of them are short and thin, with Bangalore and Loba being the two exceptions. Even Ash possesses a pronounced hip movement when she walks, giving the slim simulacrum the appearance of model curves.

Such a restriction on character design can lead to the problem I’m talking about in this article, where someone like Rampart is dragging around a massive turret-like gun while being as exceptionally small and thin as characters like Wraith or Lifeline or Horizon , And so appearing be too weak to do what she is able to do. Respawn could have designed Rampart to look physically strong, but opted for a design that tends to make her more conventionally attractive.

Bangalore (right) and Loba (left) are the only two females in Apex Legends who don't fit a thin and small body type.
Bangalore (right) and Loba (left) are the only two females in Apex Legends who don’t fit a thin and small body type.

It’s such an odd double standard for Respawn’s typically progressive character design team, which explored a multitude of body types for male characters in Apex Legends, creating room for different fitness levels. and strength. Seer and Gibraltar are both in-form legends, for example, although Seer is quite thin while Gibraltar is more physically imposing – both look strong, but in different ways. That same level of variety doesn’t extend to the women on Apex Legends’ roster.

Admittedly, I don’t know to what extent it would be possible to make these changes to Valkyrie, Wattson, Maggie or Rampart. I’m not a game designer, so I won’t pretend what I’m asking is an easy fix. To retroactively adjust the bodies of the four characters so that they authentically reflect how they should actually appear given the gear and weapons they use, Respawn would have to redesign the proportions for (from the start of Season 13) over 200 cosmetic skins. Additionally, there are animations to consider and hitboxes to adjust, the latter of which can influence these characters’ positions in the Apex Legends meta.

With all of that in mind, I recognize that it may be too late for characters like Valkyrie, Maggie, Wattson, and Rampart. But if that’s true, then maybe Respawn should consider things like that from the start. Because when you look at characters like Rampart – who wield these huge massive weapons but then have the skinniest arms of any legend in gaming – it seems unrealistic and silly.

So I’m asking Respawn to make Valkyrie, Maggie, Wattson, and Rampart buff, or – if that’s too difficult at this point – at least keep in mind what a character will look like when designing their aesthetic alongside his toolbox. If you are going to give a character big guns, be sure to also give their big guns.

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