Respawn will balance Apex Legends updates to avoid burnout

Apex Legends developer Respawn has provided some transparency on its update plans for the hit battle royale game, making it clear that it won't follow Fortnite creator Epic Games' lead. In a statement, Respawn's Drew McCoy said the company will release 'thoughtful updates' during game seasons, but won't compromise its work culture or risk burning out employees in order to rapidly release new content.

McCoy praised Apex Legends' success, explaining that the game's massive 50 million players in its first month alone was surprising, thrilling, but also difficult, introducing 'clear challenges' for what started out as a small team. Despite the struggles, McCoy said, "We are 100% committed to the long-term growth" of the game.

Respawn is focusing on a number of issues, including slow server performance at the beginning of a match, which is 'extremely high priority' for the team. As well, the developer is testing possible fixes for audio issues, continuing their work on dealing with cheaters, and adding engine features that will help them fix hit registration bugs.

Of note is McCoy's comment about the studio's work culture and the ways it will influence game updates and the launch of new content. "The studio culture that we've worked hard to cultivate, and the health of our team are very important," McCoy said. The game's production schedule and content roadmap are hinged partly on that culture, which includes balance in order to "avoid crunch" and employee burnout.

In light of its need to maintain balance, Respawn says players can expect big season launches with each new Battle Pass, followed by necessary updates involving balance, bug fixes, and similar elements. McCoy says:

For complete transparency, our goal isn't, and never has been, to patch or update content on a weekly basis. We believe strongly in the importance of large, meaningful changes to the game that have lasting impact, thus our focus on a seasonal release cadence we laid out at launch. We will continue to follow this cadence in the future.

The note follows a report from Polygon that alleges strain behind Epic Games' doors, where workers are reportedly subjected to very long work hours in order to maintain Fortnite's blistering update schedule.