Last week, the folks at Respawn announced that Titanfall 2 antagonist Ash will be the next character to join the Apex Legends roster, complete with her very own adorable rat sidekick. The rat’s name? Well, that’s complicated.
Apex Legends lead animator Moy Parra wrote yesterday on Twitter that his department specifically requested that Ash’s rat remain nameless so that they could properly portray her relationship with the furry rodent.
Unlike Apex Legends’ other sidekicks — Bloodhound’s raven Artur, Lifeline’s D.O.C. drone, and Rampart’s mobile minigun Sheila, to name a few — the team believed that Ash’s cold demeanour meant she wouldn’t harbour any particular fondness for the rat and didn’t want to grow too attached themselves.
“As we animated this little critter, we decided to not name it internally so as to not accidentally start caring for it and have this bleed through our work as we came up with ideas for Ash,” Parra explained. “Yes! Animators think of these things.”
“Ash’s rat serves an important purpose, however,” Parra added in a follow-up tweet. “It allowed us to show a bit of humanity from the character, without compromising the character itself. Ironically, it is the rat that shows the more warm/human side, the side that Ash herself will never show!”
In Titanfall lore, Ash was once Dr. Ashleigh Reid, an elite pilot whose brain was implanted in a robotic Simulacrum body (think fellow Apex Legends competitor Revenant rather than loveable goofball Pathfinder) after she died in an unfortunate accident. Now, Ash operates behind a fractured psyche, the cold, calculating aspects of Dr. Reid’s mind taking centre stage while the more human aspects of her personality struggle to surface.
Of course, just because Ash doesn’t openly love her rat doesn’t mean fans aren’t free to come up with their own names for the little cutie pie, a bit of community-based world-building that Parra openly encourages.
“Ash is never cruel towards her rat, just neutral, and she certainly wouldn’t name her, so neither did we,” Parra said, wrapping up his Twitter thread. “It was a new challenge for us as we love to show affection for our sidekicks, but it was refreshing to animate her this way and stay true to Ash in every way possible.”