Apex Legends ‘won’t ramp up updates to match Fortnite’
Respawn CEO says seasonal strategy ‘better for devs’
Respawn says it isn’t planning to increase the frequency of Apex Legends game updates, in order to keep up with Epic’s prolific Fortnite output.
Speaking at the GamesBeat Summit, which was attended by Gamasutra, Respawn CEO Vince Zampella said the studio intends to stick to its seasonal update strategy because it offers improved quality of life for developers, and will hopefully result in better content for players.
“There are a lot of people that are like, ‘hey where’s the weekly updates, Fortnite does this.’ And it’s like, we’re not set up to do that. We never intended to,” he said.
“Our intention was to always be seasonal, so we’re kind of staying with that,” Zampella added.
In March 2019, Respawn Entertainment claimed that Apex Legends had attracted 50 million players in its first month of availability.
“The thought was ‘hey we kind of have something that’s blowing up here, do we want to start trying to drop more content?’” Zampella said.
“But I think you look at quality of life for the team. We don’t want to overwork the team and drop the quality of the assets we’re putting out. We want to try and raise that.”
Zampella’s comments were delivered around the same time it was claimed that Fortnite’s popularity had led to periods of extreme crunch at Epic.
Round-the-clock development and customer support for its battle royale game – which has some 250 million registered users – has reportedly resulted in many staff regularly working in excess of 70 hours per week, and some as many as 100 hours per week.
Having taken Twitch by storm upon its release in February, Apex Legends’ popularity on the streaming platform dropped sharply in March.
The decline is largely attributed to top streamers shifting away from the title, which publisher EA launched with a big streamer-led marketing campaign, while a lack of updates may also have contributed to waning enthusiasm.
According to Gamasutra, Zampella acknowledged that season one of Apex Legends, which introduced the game’s first new character, could have included more content, something he hinted would be addressed in upcoming seasons.
“All the resources on the team are focused on getting this game in a better position so it plays well, so we have enough content, so the seasons are better,” he said.