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First ‘Inside the Studio’ episode shows how Respawn worked with GLAAD and trans voice actor to create Catalyst

On Wednesday, Apex Legends developer Respawn released the first episode of its new documentary series about developing the game called “Inside the Studio.” In it, the development team dive into the process of creating the game’s latest playable character, Catalyst.

“When we started working on Catalyst, we had a few key ideas that we were using to guide development,” said lead writer Ashley Reed in the video. “We knew we wanted to do a trans woman, we knew we had a certain design.”

With these ideas in mind, the team eventually landed on “techno witch” for Catalyst’s aesthetic. Being goth was a cornerstone of this design, which was further enriched by GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation)’s consultation on the character.

“Working with GLAAD, they gave us a lot of fantastic feedback about how we can improve her design and make her feel more authentic,” said lead character concept artist Brett Marting.

“Respawn reached out to us back in February of this year,” said GLAAD’s associate director of gaming, Blair Durkee. “We provide LGBTQ media content expertise, we do trainings covering storytelling tropes. It’s very interesting just to go out there and talk to game developers and open their eyes to certain issues that they might not have thought about.”

Beyond GLAAD’s consulting on Catalyst, the Legend is also voiced by a transgender woman named Meli Grant. She has previously played side characters in titles like Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands and the One Piece anime dub.

“It’s so much more impactful when you’re telling open and honest and authentic stories where you have nuanced and three-dimensional characters,” Grant said. “I want this to be a character that people find fascinating. I want it to be someone that people pick and want to play not just because the character is meta that season.”

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