Meli Grant discusses her role as Catalyst in Apex Legends, voice actor compensation, and LGBTQIA+ representation in video games with Game Rant.
The November update to Apex Legends that brought gameplay changes, the Broken Moon map, and a new legend, Catalyst, made the game significantly larger. She is the first trans Legend to join the games in the Outlands, which comes with a lot of responsibility because of the LGBTQIA+ representation that follows, which Apex Legends already has a lot of for players of different gender identities and sexual orientations. Catalyst was voiced by Meli Grant, who is a transgender actress herself. Meli Grant was able to give Catalyst some of her own experiences, and the character’s past was similar to hers in some ways.
One of the difficulties of being a trans voice actor is that trans people can experience gender dysphoria when their voice does not match a pitch that is gender-affirming and comfortable. Grant did not face this issue with her role in Apex Legends; instead, she stated in an interview with Game Rant that she is comfortable lowering her pitch to match that of masculine-adjacent characters, but she made it clear that this shouldn’t be the case for other trans actors if it makes them uncomfortable. As a follow-up to Hellena Taylor’s talk about Bayonetta 3, Grant talked about how LGBTQIA+ and people of color are shown in Destiny 2. She also talked about VA pay.
Why Apex Legends’ Catalyst Can Spark More Conversations About Voice Actor Compensation and LGBTQIA+ Representation
Grant transitioned in her late 20s, well after her studies in stage and screen acting, which caused her to question whether she could pursue a career in the industry if she transitioned, as her voice had already been altered by puberty. However, she eventually began her voice-acting career, despite the fact that it was initially difficult to determine where she would fit in terms of female character archetypes. She believed there were roles she couldn’t play, such as that of a femme fatale, but she later began developing that aspect of her career, and it turned out to be the path Respawn Entertainment chose for Catalyst in Apex Legends.
“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.”
Grant connected with Catalyst’s abilities and trans identity for various reasons. She believes that this character is so significant because she can spark conversations about topics that are seldom discussed in the industry, such as the significance of trans voice actors as role models. Another significant factor was Respawn’s treatment of Grant for her work on Apex Legends, which is more of an exception than the rule when it comes to voice acting, a discussion that Hellena Taylor’s Bayonetta 3 pay claims initiated.
Grant believes that the talent that contributes to the creation of multimillion-dollar properties should be compensated more than a few dollars per hour, which is typically the case. After voicing Catalyst, Grant will be able to afford a better health insurance plan. There is a need for a reevaluation of voice actor compensation across the industry, and it is imperative that this process be replicated in other industries, such as anime. It is crucial that the Bayonetta 3 VA pay discussion is not forgotten, and queer people should be able to play themselves more frequently 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.”
Concerning LGBTQIA+ representation, Grant lauded Bungie’s efforts to make Destiny 2 a more inclusive game over the years, which he deemed particularly effective with the Saint-14 and Osiris storyline. This provided fans with positive gay and POC representation, but Bungie’s commitment to inclusion does not end there. The Cloud Striders expansion for Destiny 2 will introduce the game’s first non-binary character, Nimbus. Grant also stated that she would love to be a part of the game or the rumored Marathon revival, but she prefers the silent protagonist trope.
Apex Legends is now available on Mobile, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox One X/S.