Electronic Arts recently revealed the next Apex Legends (opens in new tab) character as the metal-armed bruiser named Forge (opens in new tab), which came as kind of a surprise for rumor-following fans who expected it to be the Lady Deathstrike-lookin' killer robot Revenant (opens in new tab). Today we get a proper introduction to Forge's entry into the Apex games via a new "Stories from the Outlands" trailer, and I'm not going to spoil anything but you're definitely going to want to stick around to the end before you read any further.
Quite a twist, eh? I don't follow the Apex fiction very closely but I have to admit, that was a hell of a finisher. On multiple levels. The blood spatter on the interview's face at the end is a nice touch.
So where does this leave us? It's still possible that Forge will make his appearance in Apex Legends, scarred but too tough to die, and we'll also get a second character, Revenant, simultaneously or sometime later in the season. Releasing two characters in a single season would break the previous pattern, but this will only be the fourth season of Apex Legends so it's not as though there's a deeply-entrenched history in that regard.
But it seems much more likely that the Forge reveal was a fakeout—that he was never actually going to be added to the game, but was instead a vehicle for Revenant's introduction. Over on the Apex Legends website (opens in new tab), the Forge character listing has been greyed out and renamed to "RIP Jimmie 'Forge' McCormick – Never defeated (except for that one time)." It seems a lot of effort for such a short-lived, throwaway narrative device, but EA and Respawn do seem to be leaning into that fiction. The Apex Legends Twitter account (opens in new tab), for instance, has been renamed to Outlands Television, and now features an OTV logo.
It may or may not be related (I strongly suspect it is) but shortly after the trailer went live, Respawn project lead Drew McCoy shared his frustrations with leaks on Twitter.
Since it keeps popping up:Leaks are the absolute worst. I've never worked on a single project where it was purposeful or wanted.We spend insane amounts of time and energy to create cool surprises. Really sucks when someone wants internet points bad enough to ruin that.January 27, 2020
Forge's televised shanking came as a full-on surprise as far as I know, so I assume he's talking about the leak of Revenant itself, word of which first slipped out way back in October 2019. His annoyance is understandable, but I'd think he'd be used to it by now. Leaks and rumors have been a fact of life for videogame developers for years, and the intense curiosity that drives them is a whole lot better than the alternative.
Interestingly, EA still hasn't officially acknowledged Revenant in any way, but we'll no doubt be hearing more about the character soon: Apex Legends Season 4 begins on February 4.
Update: Electronic Arts—that is, Outlands Television—has made it official: Jimmie "Forge" McCormick is dead.
A statement from OTV regarding the events that took place earlier today. pic.twitter.com/QvnrrBBRN6January 27, 2020
But is he dead? Apex Legends characters get killed, and then get better, every day, so a recovery wouldn't seem entirely out of the question here. Let us also remember that Forge had a big robot arm, so why not a big robot chest too? Even if it leaves him in a zombie-like, more-man-than-machine state, the "up close and personal" play style described in the initial character announcement wouldn't have to change.
It's a long shot, yes, and I'm confident that Revenant is the big reveal for season 4—but I also wouldn't be surprised to see Forge 2.0 turn up as a real character at some point down the road, too.