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Apex Legends characters are VTubers now

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Apex Legends developer Respawn has released three new VTuber avatars based on the game's characters, free to download and use here (opens in new tab). The term VTubers comes from 'Virtual Youtuber' and is a catch-all term for a wide range of digital avatars of wildly different styles and functionality that creators use as their presence while streaming or in creating videos.

These three are the characters Bangalore, Octane, and Mirage, and their release coincides with Apex Legends' Gaiden Event. In-keeping with the whole VTuber culture, Octane's outfit is a nod towards One Piece while Mirage's look is inspired by My Hero Academia.

Each has their own emotes and HUD overlays, and has been generally more anime-fied in appearance. Respawn didn't create these itself, but partnered up with existing VTuber creators, and it all even comes with the above instructional video, narrated by VTuber Vienna, who explains how to use them.

What is unusual is that Respawn is giving them away for free: VTuber avatars, the fancier ones anyway, tend to be paid-for software. "These Apex Legends avatars are available to all to use while streaming, creating content and beyond," says Respawn, so fill your boots. Simply as a way for people to play around with good quality digital avatar, this is a pretty cool tie-in.

VTubers have become increasingly popular over recent years, offering a way to stream with personality while still retaining a degree of anonymity. The avatars themselves also come with various tricksy effects, and the best VTubers make a show of how they use the avatar as an extension of their personality. And now, you can watch an Apex avatar stream themselves playing as themselves in Apex Legends: what a world.

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."