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Apex Legends Revenant rework interview: how the upgraded murderbot came to be

We had a chat with Apex Legends game designer Evan Funnell about everyone's favorite murder robot

Revenant wasn’t scary enough. Apex Legends’ latest season is here to revitalize everyone’s favorite murder robot, who had recently been made slightly obsolete because Seer stole some of his powers.

Thanks to a new leap ability, a shield that buffs up his health, and the ability to track prey who are almost dead, he’s now back in line with the fantasy of controlling a mad robot assassin with a gravelly voice.

“He had that sneaky feel from his passive, but the rest of his kit didn’t pick up that narrative idea that we had for him,” designer Evan Funnell tells us during a roundtable interview. “So we wanted to address some of the issues we’ve seen with his kit and how it works, and that led us towards a full rework. We wanted to push him to be much more scary and in your face.”

Revenant wielding a Charge Rifle in Apex Legends Season 18 Resurrection

Revenant is changing forever in Apex Legends Season 18 Resurrection.

On top of this, Revenant’s pick rate was down, and a new kit could help him to carve out his own niche in the meta. Whenever a new legend is introduced to the game, it impacts every other playable character. New abilities and team compositions can make the old meta obsolete, which is why the developers constantly shake the game up to ensure it doesn’t get stale.

But how did the team land on this Revenant specifically? Dataminers have had a peek at some of the work-in-progress abilities before the rework dropped, but it’s interesting to dive deeper into how Respawn landed on the kit that eventually shipped.

“We tried a lot of different things in the lead-up to the kit that we have now,” Funnell says. “We prototyped a bunch of different abilities. We did try giving him wall running at one point, but we found the ability was just generally super situational, especially in most Apex maps. They didn’t really offer players enough options or consistency for what we really wanted, which is where we moved away from that.”

Respawn fans know that the developer can do wall running exceptionally well, but Titanfall’s maps were built specifically for these movement techniques, with routes leading from building to building, ending with windows you can dive through before emerging from the other side with a cocked shotgun. But Apex Legends’ maps are more sparse, and there are only a handful of POIs where such an ability would work as intended. Instead, Respawn built upon his old passive ability, which allows him to scale any surface and crouch-walk at high speed.

“It works better for what he’s going for with his pounce,” Funnell explains. “The pounce was one that we had sticking around for quite a while, but the ultimate definitely went through a lot of different iterations. We tried doing a one-on-one duel at one point. It was really cool idea. Revenant would bring somebody into a shadow realm and they’d fight. But we found that it was difficult to read and hard to make the other players feel like they had enough counterplay, and Revenant would often feel like they didn’t know if they really got enough out of their ultimate. So it was one of those things that was a cool idea, but it didn’t really work.”

Before the rework, Revenant’s ultimate ability was his Death Totem, which he could place on the ground before he and his teammates interact with it to become specters with low health, who would respawn back at the totem when killed. It was a good ability for getting a free push on an enemy team, but it was quite easy for the ability to backfire.

“We also tried a bunch of things to maybe keep his totem around,” Funnell explains. “Keep that as part of his kit. But a lot of those fell into similar trappings, tying him down to a location or relying on this perfect opportunity for it all to work out. So a lot of that pushed him more into this idea of his ultimate amplifying and allowing him to do these more aggressive pushes onto low-health enemies.”

It seems like it all worked out. You can tell because every player is currently complaining that Revenant is overpowered, which definitely wasn’t the case with his old kit. And while his new pounce ability does make him one of the most mobile legends, it’s just as easy to cut yourself off from your teammates if you use it at the wrong time. Revenant is a lot of fun to use right now and it’ll be interesting to see how he shakes up in the meta for casual players and the pros.