Most Apex Legends fans are familiar with Revenant, the bloodthirsty, robotic assassin who carved his way into the Apex Games after killing Jimmy “Forge” McCormick and swearing revenge against Hammond Robotics.
On the other hand, not everyone has heard of Kaleb Cross—Revenant's old identity from before Hammond Robotics turned him into a simulacrum over 300 years ago.
Pathfinder's Quest, Apex's first lore book, dives into the legends' origin stories—and Revenant is no exception. The book shares two major details about Revenant's past: his name and how he died. And those are basically the most important parts of his first life—because, in the end, his chapter isn't about Kaleb Cross.
“Revenant's story is the story of who he is now and where he's going from here, and not the story of who he was in those first 40 years as a human,” Respawn writer Tom Casiello told Dot Esports. “That's who he is as a being, the last 300 years.”
This may be a curveball for fans who hoped to learn more about Revenant's backstory, but it's certainly not a break in his character.
Casiello wanted Revenant's chapter to reveal key facts about him, such as his real name. But getting the simulacrum to part with that information would be tricky. “There's no reason for Revenant to say any of this,” Casiello said. “He's not gonna open up to [Pathfinder].”
Instead, the writer intended to have Revenant use his past to mess with the MRVN.
“I think I knew early on, like, he's going to convince him that [Pathfinder] murdered his creator,” Casiello said. Revenant would do it “just for the hell of it, just for shits and giggles.” That's where Cross' story comes in.
Revenant employs the twisted anecdote to torment Pathfinder and convince him that “very good people can do very bad things.” The story is a tool to wreak havoc on Pathfinder's mind, but a side effect is that it gives fans a glimpse into Revenant's first life. That look into Cross' life has roots in the simulacrum's self-loathing, vitriolic, and undoubtedly partial perspective.
“There is no one who hates Kaleb Cross more than Revenant,” writer Ashley Reed told Dot Esports.
Pathfinder's Quest hammers down the point that perspective matters and Revenant's viewpoint is disfigured by his self-loathing and bloodlust. “That's why he messes with Pathfinder: misery loves company,” Reed said.
Revenant's hatred of himself (and, by extention, of Cross) steers the story. The core of the narrative develops from the perspective of Bob Woods, the man who killed Cross, and Kaleb “is very much not a character in his own story,” according to Casiello.
Revenant does acknowledge his past self, but hardly in a positive light. In his own words, Cross was a man with no morals, no values, and no regard for human life whatsoever. And as Revenant recounted Cross' gruesome death—drowned in untreated, pestilent sewer water—the simulacrum said that it was where Cross belonged.
Despite his horrible fate, Cross “was a simple man with a simple death, and that was it,” according to Casiello. Because after all, he only died once, and that was over 300 years ago. Revenant's story goes much further than that.
The simulacrum himself remarks on it during his chapter. “I was a skinbag for 44 years. I've been this for 313 years. What makes those 44 any more important than the 313 that followed?” Cross died once, while Revenant has gone through thousands of painful, gruesome, unsettling deaths. And he remembers all of them.
Revenant was programmed to forget all the times he met his end, a clean slate until the next drowning, explosion, or fatal knife wound happened. “Hitmen don't die peacefully in their sleep,” he says in a loading screen. He spent 300 years unaware of his inhumanity and his past until his programming failed.
The corruption of Revenant's systems forced him to relive the lives (and deaths) of which he had little recollection. “300 years of death, of fear, of terror all rushed back in a single, solitary second,” he tells Loba in The Broken Ghost. “It's hell. Every second of my existence is hell.”
As a character, Revenant's biggest conflict only started to take shape long after the end of his human life—if there was ever any humanity to Kaleb Cross.