Re-spawn Entertainment CEO Vince Zampella has issued a statement apologising for an incident in which members of the Apex Legends team were critical of the community. While he said he firmly stands behind the team when it comes to defending itself from “toxic and nasty comments”–which he noted include things like death threats or comments directed at developers’ loved ones–he also said the team shouldn’t add to the fray.
The issues first started to arise with another admission, when project lead Drew McCoy announced changes to the Iron Crown event recently. That particular ongoing event has some of the most unique cosmetics that could only be earned through randomised Apex Packs, driving the cost of these packs up to more than $150 USD for everything together. McCoy also stated that making skins so expensive broke the studio’s promise to make its monetisation fair, so the shop then began selling the cosmetics individually.
After the shock announcement, naturally, fans took to the internet to make their opinions on the matter known. The comments, which were arguably seen as rude and offensive, were directed at a number of different segments of the fan base who expressed their unhappiness and concerns with the situation using harsh terms and slurs. In context, the developers were essentially just focusing on talking about how difficult it’s been to monetise a free-to-play game, and then later admitting a lack of experience in that area of development.
Although, when being taken out of context, the controversial comments sparked a furious response on social media by fans who believe that game developers simply shouldn’t speak to their fans that way, particularly those who pay for their products. Zampella said that Respawn developers received some unfair attacks from players, but nonetheless apologised to those offended by the responses from the team.
“Having an open, healthy relationship with our community is incredibly important to all of us at Respawn,” Zampella wrote.
A thread on the Apex Legends subreddit had developers engaging with the community and offering their thoughts. But things took a turn for the worse when developers criticised the community with insulting language and saying most players are “freeloaders.” After hours of tensions, Zampella issued a statement on Twitter.
“Some of our folks crossed a line with their comments, and that’s not how we want Re-spawn to be represented,” he said. “I apologise to any of our fans that were offended. I will always stand behind the team here at Re-spawn and support them on speaking out against some of the toxic and nasty comments being directed at them, including everything from death threats to comments aimed at their family and loved ones. But we shouldn’t contribute to it when we do comment, and add to the very thing we want to prevent. We need to lead by example.”
Zampella’s statement was also posted on the subreddit itself, where the top-upvoted comments seem fairly receptive to it. Some are faulting both the devs and community for being overly hostile, while others are trying to turn attention back towards more constructive criticism.
As for Apex Legends, the game’s latest patch seems to have focused on cosmetics alone, as Respawn said they’ll be rotating “all twelve of the event-exclusive Legendary items into the store over the course of the final week of the event for the regular Legendary skin cost of 1,800 Apex Coins.”