Respawn Responds to Claims of Coronavirus Crunch on Apex Legends

By Alistair Jones on at

Apex Legends developer Respawn Entertainment has responded after reports of severe crunch at the studio. Game director Chad Grenier posted a comment addressing concerns after a Glassdoor review was shared on the game's official subreddit (via GamesIndustry.biz).

The one-star review does say that studio founders "have a great sense of how to make a great game," but complains of "burnout, stress, and heavy anxiety on the Apex Legends project." The anonymous developer says that Respawn has "no idea how to do a live service project," resulting in "poor planning decisions and no sizing of work." While other service titles have adjusted roadmaps due to the coronavirus pandemic, Respawn has apparently no followed suit and has paid "no attention to employee health during this period." The developer, who complains of 12-13 hour days, says "there is no separation between my home and work life," and that they are "so burned out that I am considering leaving without a next job to go to."

Grenier's top comment seems to downplay many of the concerns raised in the review, claiming that he encouraged developers "to only work as much as they can," and that Respawn was offering unlimited paid leave to employees that needed it. He also claims to have delayed new content releases to try to prevent crunch. Nevertheless, he says that the developer is "absolutely right in how they felt," and that the studio isn't perfect, despite the efforts it's taken during the pandemic.

Despite Grenier's response, the Glassdoor review is yet another example of reported crunch at major studios. Particularly interesting is the suggestion that Respawn has struggled to set up a working schedule for Apex Legends due to its lack of experience with service titles - one of the major criticisms of the game on release was its early lack of content, and that could certainly have lead to extra work in the longer term as the studio hurried to catch up with player expectations.