The Art of Apex Legends is out today and it includes concept art and developer commentary for the characters, maps, and weapons found in Apex Legends leading up to Season 7: Ascension. Of particular note is the commentary surrounding the creative process for Apex Legends’ first 15 characters, including the interesting tidbit that Octane started out as a far more monstrous-looking legend.
“Octane’s design was originally a character addicted to drugs extracted from alien spiders,” Respawn lead writer Ashley Reed and EA senior copywriter Sumari MacLeod write in The Art of Apex Legends. “His early sketches were meant to make people feel uncomfortable.”
They certainly do. The accompanying sketches of Octane’s earlier designs depict the high-speed daredevil with misshapen limbs of goblin-like proportions (his arms are nearly as long as his legs and his fingers appear claw-like), while tubes of glowing liquid crisscross his body like a demonic spider web. It also appears like his mask fully covers his face or is a part of a helmet, giving Octane’s head an exoskeleton-like appearance with fangs and mandibles. Based on those early designs, it seems like the original Octane was mutating on account of his drug addiction, slowly becoming more spider-like over time. It’s freaky.
The book also showcases how these scary arachnid designs slowly morph over time to what Octane looks like now, as Respawn changed the character to be addicted to sports and finding his next adrenaline high as opposed to alien spider drugs.
Octane’s origins are also noteworthy because it may explain the Apex Legends Octane Edition, which includes an exclusive legendary skin for Octane alongside a Charge Rifle skin and weapon charm. Everything in the Octane Edition is spider-themed–a detail I’ve always found odd until today. Folks with arachnophobia can appreciate that the legendary Arachnoid Rush Octane skin in the Octane Edition is nowhere near as disturbing to look at as Octane’s original designs.
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The Art of Apex Legends includes a few other interesting tidbits about the other legends too. I won’t list them all–need to save a few surprises for those picking up the book–but another of these stories is too good not to share. It’s about Pathfinder.
Pathfinder, as it turns out, used to be a very different character. Instead of the happy-go-lucky robot he is, The Art of Apex Legends reveals, “Pathfinder’s design used to be a sad, angry, and snarky robot who hated humans. Lots of his early sketches were red-eyed killing machines. There was even a mechanical Rambo version. We ended up making him a happy robot to differentiate him from Revenant.”
I love this because it reveals two things. First off, the Apex Legends Pathfinder Edition includes the legendary Full Metal Robot Pathfinder skin, which transforms the forward scout into Rambo–another instance of Respawn using a special Apex Legends edition to release a skin based on an early concept for a character. And second, that Revenant and Pathfinder were being designed around the same time, further highlighting how Respawn is designing these characters way ahead of their release, seeing as Revenant didn’t launch until a year after Apex Legends’ launch.
All I know, I’m eagerly hoping Respawn announces The Art of Apex Legends Vol 2 because I need to learn about the design backstories for the legends that have come out since the end of Year 2. There’s got to be stories for Fuse, Valkyrie, Seer, and Ash.
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