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Apex Legends’ Catalyst VA Talks Bayonetta 3, Destiny 2 Representation, and Trans Voiceover


Apex Legends recently got a lot bigger thanks to the November update that brought gameplay changes, the Broken Moon map, and a new Legend: Catalyst. She is the first trans Legend to join the games in the Outlands, which is a big responsibility in and of itself due to the LGBTQIA+ representation that follows, which Apex Legends already offers plenty of for different gender identities and sexual orientations. Catalyst was voiced by Meli Grant, who is a trans voice actor herself, and she managed to pass some of her own experiences onto Catalyst, while the character’s backstory found some ties with Grant’s own.

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One of the issues with being a trans voice actor is that trans people can sometimes experience gender dysphoria when their voice doesn’t match a pitch they are comfortable with and that is gender-affirming. With her role in Apex Legends, Grant didn’t have this particular issue, and instead, she stated in an interview with Game Rant that she is comfortable dropping her pitch to match that of masculine-adjacent characters, but she also made it clear that this shouldn’t be the experience for other trans actors if they’re uncomfortable with it. Grant also spoke about VA pay following Bayonetta 3‘s discourse started by Hellena Taylor, and she commented on Destiny 2‘s LGBTQIA+ and POC representation.

RELATED: Apex Legends’ Catalyst Makes Mad Maggie An Even Better Character


Why Apex Legends’ Catalyst Can Start More Voice Actor Pay and LGBTQIA+ Representation Conversations

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Grant transitioned in her late 20s, well after her studies in stage and screen acting, which eventually made her doubt she could pursue a carrier in the industry if she transitioned, as she had already gone through a testosterone puberty that changed her voice. However, she later did start her voice-acting carrier, even though it was hard at first to find where she would fit in terms of female character archetypes. She thought there were roles she couldn’t really do, such as that of a femme fatale, but she later started developing that side of her profession more, and it turned out to be the direction Respawn Entertainment went with for Apex Legends‘ Catalyst.

“I was thinking about this the other day. When we create characters for the game, we don’t try to create voices as they relate to the other actors. Oftentimes, we’ll play something that is very close to home, but in the aftermath, I’ve looked back, and I realized that Catalyst kinda has the seriousness of Wraith, a bit of the sultry of Loba, but also has that grim, deadly focus of Ash. So if you took Wraith, Ash, and Loba and put them in a triangle, I feel like Catalyst would be somewhere in between the three of them.”

Catalyst’s abilities and trans identity resonated with Grant for different reasons. She believes this character is so important because she can start all the right conversations about topics that are not talked about a lot in the industry, including the importance of trans role models in voice acting. Another important element came from Respawn taking good care of Grant for her work on Apex Legends, which is more of an exception than the rule when it comes to voice acting, a discourse that Hellena Taylor’s pay claims started quite recently through Bayonetta 3.

Grant believes that the talent that helps make multi-million properties should be paid more than a few dollars per hour, which is unfortunately what the reality ends up being in most cases. Grant is only now going to be able to afford a better healthcare plan after voicing Catalyst. Voice actor pay industry-wide needs reassessing, and it’s important that this step is followed in other industries as well, such as anime. It’s important that the discourse about VA pay from Bayonetta 3 is not forgotten, and queer people should be able to at least play themselves more often in the future.

“All that is to say, within the current framework, Respawn has taken incredibly good care of me, and I’m so grateful for that. As an industry, it would be really cool to go back over the numbers and maybe try to define a new normal that creates more opportunity for the people working in this field because the bar shouldn’t definitely be at “Hopefully I get healthcare.” I think we can do better as an industry.”

On the matter of LGBTQIA+ representation, Grant praised Bungie’s effort to make Destiny 2 a more inclusive game over the years, which was especially powerful with Saint-14 and Osiris’ story. This provided fans with good gay and POC representation, but Bungie’s inclusivity doesn’t stop there. Destiny 2‘s Cloud Striders will introduce the game’s first non-binary character in the form of Nimbus. Grant also talked about how she would love to be in the game at some point or even the rumored Marathon revival, but she is also partial to the silent protagonist trope.

Apex Legends is available now for Mobile, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

MORE: Apex Legends New Character Catalyst Abilities Explained



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