Even though Season 4: Assimilation theatre we were treated to left some theories about Forge's eventual return, Respawn definitely killed that idea off with the character. In their latest interview they mentioned that the goal was to throw data miners off of Revenant's trail.
Speaking to Dotesports, Respawn's design director Jason McCord discussed just how long Revenant's design took, and just what it took to at least partially not spoil his introduction.
The idea of Revenant came from designer Griffin Dean, who pitched him as sort of a "Synthetic Shinobi", but the idea was as old as the game itself. Which, now that we think of it, explains why Revenant has been found in data files for way longer than he's been in-game.
Apex Legends developer went through several iterations of Revenant's skills, ironically many of whom were eventually found by data miners.
He said he most vividly remembers developing the Marked for Death tactical. "It was delivered the same way [as the current one] (a skill shot from an off-hand), but if it connected, you had an icon applied to you for the rest of the match that the Revenant and his squad could see at all times."
Ultimately though, it was decided this was overpowered and unfair, and you can imagine the idea of being hunted by a synthetic shinobi across the map as slightly more than disturbing.
Speaking of disturbing, Revenant seems to have had a Ring-like feel to it occasionally, as McCord said, "When he crouched, he dislocated his shoulders and walked on all fours [...] It was very disturbing and so amazingly creepy."
Interestingly, even though we feel obliged to mention that most of the Apex Legends data mining community were great sports who said they'd stop if Respawn so much said a word, a plan was made to throw them off the surprise, which turned into a surprise of its own - Forge.
"Honestly, it started as a fun way to misdirect data miners who, at the time, felt like they had solved our next legend and had ruined our surprise [...] We actually purposefully leaked fake concept art and details of Forge’s kit in patches, so there would be a bread crumb trail by the time we announced him. It's pretty insane, really. I can’t think of any other game that has gone through such hijinks", McCord added.
You can find the full interview at Dotesports .