“Relationships will be tested and shattered. And maybe not everyone will make it out alive. I mean it this time.”
These are the words that Apex Legends narrative lead Ashley Reed (no relation to Ash) said to me all the way back in August when hinting at the narrative beats to come over Seasons 18 and 19. With the Kill Code arc now complete, we can look back and pick through the corpses to examine exactly what she meant.
Note: In case you missed it, Kill Code was a four-part animated miniseries on the Apex Legends YouTube channel, with the final cutscene happening in an in-game live event earlier this week
“Relationships will be tested and shattered,” is the easiest part of Reed’s quote to analyse. Loba and Valkyrie have been bickering throughout the animated series, and their relationship appeared to be at breaking point in Part 3, when Valkyrie betrayed Loba in order to save Revenant’s head, and therefore his life. However, leaping out of the ship to save her potentially ex-girlfriend at the start of the Kill Code Finale in-game event shows that she still has feelings for the story’s protagonist, and they might be able to repair the scraps of their relationship in the future.
However, it’s also worth talking about Octane. His relationship with Lifeline has been tested since Season 12, when he started acting as a spy on his grandfather’s behalf. Considering his grandfather initially posed as Octane’s dead father in order to get him on board, the pair have a torrid relationship themselves, but more on that later.
Then we come to, “Maybe not everyone will make it out alive. I mean it this time.” The “maybe” and “I mean it” seem contradictory in retrospect, but many players, myself included, took this to mean that she was being coy. Perhaps we were wrong to assume so.
The only person to die in Kill Code was Duardo, Octane’s father. Or should I say Torres, Octane’s grandfather? He was killed by Revenant in a double heel turn, where he turned his back on his allies in order to join ‘Duardo’ in exchange for ultimate power, before turning on Duardo and unleashing an army of simulacra on his former friends.
It was a twist I didn’t see coming, I’ll give it that much. But when a character’s death has been teased so much, fans’ expectations were sky high. We were speculating which Legend would take the fall, how their death would be implemented into the gameplay, and how the lore and battle royale would react to one another. Instead, we got a minor character’s death which won’t impact the game at all. While we saw Silva being torn to shreds by Revenant’s simulacra, I’m not even convinced he’s gone for good. I’ll bet the mastermind had a plan for this eventuality, and feel like he may return in simulacrum form before too long.
Kill Code does have a big impact on the overarching lore of the game, but players had been built up to expect more. Will Revenant take Silva’s place as commissioner of the Apex Games? It seems unlikely. Does this leave a Kuben Blisk-shaped space for the Titanfall 2 character’s return? Potentially. Titanfall 3 conspiracy theorists will believe it, at least.
I can’t help being disappointed in what Kill Code delivered. There was an opportunity to do something devastating, on the level of Sonya’s sacrifice in Mortal Kombat 11, but instead of a shocking crescendo, we ended with a whimper. And, while I appreciate the efforts to marry the animated shorts to the game itself, the live event simply wasn’t up to the standards set by games like Fortnite. The limited-time mode is a little dull, and there is no narrative importance to the cutscenes it entailed. Sure, Loba rips Revenant’s head off, but there are countless other robots to replace him so long as his real brain is safe.
We’re back to square one. After reversing the roles of Revenant and Loba – he wanted to destroy his brain so he could finally achieve peace and she wanted to save it to prolong his eternal suffering – they’re now back where they started. Loba still hates Revenant, Valkyrie tried to save her so it seems like they’ll make up, and Revenant’s a baddie again. The only character who may see interesting development is Octane, and I’m interested to see where his arc takes us next. Other than that, however, Kill Code gave us little to chew on, least of all a Legend death that was teased, but not outright stated.
Next: I Now Have Two Reasons To Go Finally Finish Dragon Age: Inquisition