Friday’s news of Lance Reddick passing hit me hard. Writing this piece without crying has been impossible. But I want to – I need to – talk about Reddick’s impact on the gaming community. Reddick voiced Zavala in the Destiny series and Sylens from Horizon Zero Dawn, and both Bungie and Guerrilla Games issued statements in tribute to Reddick’s fantastic work in their games.
Not only was Reddick an incredible talent, he was also a passionate gamer. He showed so much love for Zavala, Destiny, and Destiny 2. I remember seeing him talking about Destiny on Twitter, and his smiling face as he sent video messages to the community members cheering them on, or throwing casual crap their way.
I specifically remember seeing a video of Reddick showing his “Saturday vibes”, where he was grinding in Destiny, surrounded by his dogs and relaxing on his couch completely engrossed in his game. That one stuck with me because it was just so familiar, so relatable, because that’s how I spend a lot of my weekends. Just playing my favorite video games. Seeing a voice actor who brought one of the key characters in Destiny playing the game with true delight was something I didn’t know I’d connect with so well.
Gaming allows so many people to find each other, that otherwise they would not meet. I played Destiny on Xbox One with my best friends from high school, who I reconnected with through our love for gaming. I met several other good friends through Destiny. Whether it was people finding me through my Twitch stream and vice versa, or if it was me finding a friendly player in Destiny I wanted to add as a friend, we became connected.
I never really understood how big gaming had become until I saw it being advertised more frequently, saw esports tournaments airing on ESPN, and noticed more celebrities expressing how much they loved playing specific games during their downtimes.
It’s incredible how, in my lifetime, we went from “don’t trust people on the internet” to using it to make countless friends. I’ve been able to connect with so many people outside of what would be physically capable for me. I’ve become friends with people from the UK, Australia, Canada… pretty much everywhere, just through the gaming world.
Gaming is a global community of people who share the same passion, a vehicle for like-minded people to meet and grow their friendships.
Reddick not only helped bring a game to life that players felt attached to, he also helped cultivate the community and supported them by being a player himself.
I’ve never met some of my closest friends in person, but we’ve spent hours together in game. These are people I trust, love, and care about deeply, and these friendships have even grown outside of gaming to where we talk daily and meet up at conventions or gatherings when we can.
Reddick not only helped bring a game to life that players felt attached to, he also helped cultivate the community and supported them by being a player himself. He made us, the community, feel heard, loved and seen.
It’s easier maintaining friendships created through gaming because the similar interest that brings people together keeps them together. Our relationship with Reddick was no different. He made gamers feel accepted. He engaged with us and truly valued the community’s connection to his character Zavala and himself.
Reddick was still playing Destiny 2 the night before he passed, on 17th March. His Bungie account showed he was active in the EDZ and it goes to show just how much he loved the game and the community. His wife, Stephanie Reddick, posted a tribute to him on Twitter and thanked the community saying, “Lance loved you as much as he loved the game.”
Seeing the community come together to support and pay tribute to Reddick both in the game and everywhere else was heart-warming. Reddick touched so many lives through one piece of interactive media and, honestly, I find it beautiful. When Destiny launched in 2014, Reddick won our hearts and our support, and he repaid it in full. He truly was an inspiration to the gaming community and through every new friendship and connection made through the game, his legacy and memory will not be forgotten.
Stella is a Video Producer, Host, and Editor at IGN. Her gameplay focus is on competitive FPS games and she's previously reviewed Apex Legends, Hyper Scape, Halo Infinite Multiplayer, and Battlefield 2042. She regularly hosts and shoutcasts competitive Apex Legends and Halo Infinite tournaments when she isn't streaming on her Twitch channel after work outs. You can follow her on Twitter @ParallaxStella.