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Apex Legends dev says Forge stab-and-switch was meant to foil data miners

"It started as a fun way to misdirect data miners who, at the time, felt like they had solved our next legend and had ruined our surprise,” designer director Jason McCord recently told Dot eSports.

Earlier this year Respawn debuted new playable Apex Legends character Revenant with a bit of a bait-and-switch, introducing him as the assassin of Forge, a ringer which design director Jason McCord told Dot eSports was designed explicitly to foil data miners and leakers.

"It started as a fun way to misdirect data miners who, at the time, felt like they had solved our next legend and had ruined our surprise,” said McCord, who credited the idea to Apex Legends designer Rayme Vinson. “We actually purposefully leaked fake concept art and details of Forge’s kit in patches, so there would be a bread crumb trail by the time we announced him. It’s pretty insane, really. I can’t think of any other game that has gone through such hijinks.”

It's a remarkable bit of effort to outwit data miners and, sure enough, it seems many Apex Legends players were earnestly surprised by Revenant's reveal, presaged by an animated teaser in which Forge is murdered mid-interview by the rapacious robot.

The surprise appeared to land even though Revenant's existence was leaked ahead of time by said data miners, whose efforts continue to frustrate McCord and other game developers. Late last year, for example, Blizzard's Jeff Kaplan made a point of highlighting how leaks of a game's existence or assets can negatively impact game devs' morale, as they lose out on getting to promote something they've worked hard on and instead often have to deal with misunderstandings and mistaken assumptions based on incomplete or unfinished work. 

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