The latest Apex Legends September 3 patch has tuned up the game with a few bug fixes and character balancing, but it also addresses an inappropriate line that Respawn have removed after it was brought to their attention.
There are tons of quips and off-hand comments that the Apex Legends developers included in the Arena to bring more life or whimsy to the characters being played.
One of these lines, however, was brought to the attention of Apex Legends writer Tom Casiello who then raised the issue within the studio.
“I’m not sure who to ask this so (Tom Casiello and Principal Writer Manny Hagopian), please read this, but as an Asian, having Caustic address Crypto as a ‘rat’ is kind of uncomfortable,” user ‘luciopops’ said. “‘Rat’ is a slur towards Asians since World War II.”
When we write lines like this, we run them past people from the community. Coworkers. Friends. The lines didn’t set off alarms at the time,but just because a handful of people weren’t familiar with the slur, doesn’t mean… (1/2) https://t.co/9r6tY1YNEg
— Tom Casiello (@tommiecas) August 18, 2020
In the game, Caustic had an interaction with Crypto that reads: “You’ll regret the day you crossed me, gutter rat.” After being made aware of the complaint, Casiello was quick to respond.
“When we write lines like this, we run them past people from the community. Coworkers. Friends. The lines didn’t set off alarms at the time, but just because a handful of people weren’t familiar with the slur, doesn’t mean it isn’t one. I apologize to anyone upset by this. We’ll take care of it on our end and continue to do our due diligence, casting a wider net next time,” Casiello said.
Not even a full month later, Respawn today launched an update that “removed an inappropriate Caustic voice line.” The writing room acknowledged the blunder and, while it wasn’t intentional, the studio felt that it needed to be corrected.
… a dozen other things that didn’t double as slurs. I know you’re all trained on a lifetime of MSNBC vs FOX, and it’s “pick a side”, but all i give a damn about is if it changes the story or…
— Tom Casiello (@tommiecas) September 3, 2020
“Thank you for bringing this to our attention. This was not the intent at all, but we are looking into resolving this as we speak,” Hagopian responded to the initial concern.
While Caustic is known for being one of the more aggressive or sinister Legends in the game’s lore, this instance touched on a real and historically damaging moment for some members who are a part of the Apex community.
The Respawn writing team said they are going to vet future voice lines with more scrutiny to avoid similar scenarios now that this concern has been resolved.