Apex’s Mad Maggie evolved from a ‘one-woman S.W.A.T. team’ into an explosive freedom fighter

Narrative lead Sam Gill and gameplay engineer Chris Winder discuss the creation of Apex's newest legend.

Screengrab via Respawn Entertainment

If you ask the Syndicate, there’s a long list of what Mad Maggie does when she’s not spitting teeth at authority figures or blowing up Kings Canyon—including 18 counts of inciting riots against the Syndicate and nine charges for raiding Syndicate transport ships, based on her Stories from the Outlands cinematic, “Judgment.”

Ask anyone who opposes the Syndicate, though, and you’ll get another outlook.

Mad Maggie’s explosive character has been subject to perspective since her Apex Legends debut last year. In season 12, fans get to see Mad Maggie’s side of the story, and that will help people understand why she’s as “extreme” as she is, according to narrative lead Sam Gill.

The bombastic Mad Maggie debuted in season eight as a narrative foil to Fuse and “not that much has changed about her” in season 12, Gill said in a press conference earlier this week. “She was always a character who had a deep history in her own thoughts, feelings, motivations, and desires,” Gill said. The biggest change to her in Defiance is precisely the perspective she’ll bring—this time, not necessarily as an antagonist, but also as a legend.

Screengrab via Respawn Entertainment

Maggie’s narrative in season eight unfolded from the point of view of Fuse and the rest of the legends, which presented Maggie as “someone going through a tough time,” according to Gill. In season 12, though, fans will see Maggie through her own eyes. “We get to tell her story from her perspective,” Gill said. “That allows us to understand why she’s fighting, and that’s so, so, so, important.” 

Though the team had Maggie in the back of their minds, according to Gill, what really helped seal her induction into the bloodsport was Fuse’s Stories from the Outlands, “Good as Gold.” 

“There was a lot of fanart that came out of Fuse [when ‘Good as Gold’ launched], but there was almost more fanart around Mad Maggie,” Gill said. “So, to a degree, fans helped manifest Maggie into the Games. That was a big part of it.” The opportunity (and responsibility) to make a Maori legend also played a role in bringing her to life.

Add to that the past success of the tension between Revenant and Loba or from some of the Ash-Horizon lines Gill helped write and it became clear that bringing Maggie to the Games—and putting her on the same team as Fuse, no less—would be “a real blast,” according to him. And Maggie’s ruthless, relentless ways lined up perfectly with another legend that was in development at the time: Husaria, a breacher character.

Husaria was “kind of a one-woman S.W.A.T. team,” as defined by gameplay engineer Chris Winder—a character that could bust into and breach positions fortified by defensive legends.

Designing a kit for that type of skillset came with a challenge: not being too oppressive in close-quarters nor too ineffective in the open. Husaria underwent several experiments—she had a riot shield, a flashbang, and even a shotgun attached to her leg, which would let Husaria kick down doors in a single hit, according to Winder.

Even after all those different iterations, there were still some gaps in how the character would develop. And then season eight launched.

When Maggie and Fuse arrived in “Good as Gold,” Respawn had the idea to slot Maggie into Husaria’s design, and it was the missing part of the puzzle. “[Maggie’s] aggressiveness really mapped well onto the breacher gameplay,” according to Winder, and her personality and background “helped answer some of the questions that we had about this design and about the kit.”

Screengrab via Respawn Entertainment

There’s still some overlap between the two: Husaria’s affinity for shotguns translated into Maggie’s passive, and the core mentality for breaching is still very present in the Rebel Warlord’s kit, as anyone who’s running in panic from a Riot Drill will tell you. And in season 12, she’ll use those tools to bring the fight to her competitors in the Apex Games—and, who knows, maybe even against the Syndicate.

Even though participating in a Syndicate-sponsored bloodsport is “not how she would choose to spend her afternoon,” according to Gill, Maggie is “much more nuanced” than the agent of destruction we’ve seen in previous seasons.

“The truth is, she’s a freedom fighter,” Gill said, calling her “kind of a Braveheart character.” Gill mentions a moment in “Judgment” when the Syndicate accuses her of raiding supply ships—and though “yes, it’s true,” from Maggie’s point of view, she’s giving those supplies to those who need it. “She’s a hero to some people, but she just goes a little bit too far,” he said.

Screengrab via Respawn Entertainment

Maggie’s story is ultimately about perspective. Season eight introduced her to fans from Fuse’s viewpoint. The build-up to season 12 overtly showed the Syndicate’s distaste for Maggie—who would have been executed if not for Duardo Silva’s selfish intervention. And now, she’s been sentenced to die in the Apex Games as a spectacle instead.

Defiance is bringing Maggie to the forefront and far beyond her former role as a narrative foil to Fuse. And though the Syndicate wants to sentence Maggie to death, the organization’s plan may not work. Like Gill said: “The thing about Maggie is, man, she is hard to kill.”