Respawn confirms queer Apex Legends characters playable at Esports World Cup

Declan Mclaughlin
Catalyst Apex Legends

Respawn has confirmed that the queer members of its Apex Legends cast will be playable at the Suadi Arabian-backed Esports World Cup.

The Esports World Cup announced on April 12 that Apex Legends has joined its impressive lineup of titles for the summer tournament taking place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The announcement caused a stir in the Apex community as many players pointed out that the game is full of gay and transgender characters, while same-sex relations are considered an offense in the country, according to Human Rights Watch.

Respawn has since responded to those insinuating that the queer Legends will not be playable at the event.

“We are not changing the game — all Legends will be playable,” Respawn told Kotaku. “No Apex Legends content, Legend or Cosmetic, will be restricted at the EWC event.”

Apex Legends and other EWC titles like Overwatch and League of Legends have multiple cosmetics that celebrate Pride Month. Whether teams or players will use those cosmetics during matches remains to be seen.

Esports organizations have opted out of events hosted in Saudi Arabia in the past, most notably Moist Esports. The creator-owned Rocker League team declined an invitation to EWC’s predecessor, Gamers8, in 2022 sighting the country’s stance on LGBTQ+ individuals.

Saudi Arabia updated its stance on LGBTQ+ travelers in 2023, adding to the state-ran Saudi Tourism Authority website a section about whether gay visitors are welcome.

“Everyone is welcome to visit Saudi, and we ask that they follow and respect our culture, traditions, and laws, as you would when visiting any other country in the world,” the FAQ section says.

The Esports World Cup kicks off sometime in the summer of 2024 with over 18 titles represented. Whether the country’s stance on queer and LGBTQ+ people will impact how the tournament is received or its viewership remains to be seen.

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