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Respawn CEO: Sticking to seasonal updates better for  Apex Legends  devs

Respawn CEO: Sticking to seasonal updates better for Apex Legends devs

April 24, 2019 | By Alissa McAloon

“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.”

- Respawn CEO Vince Zampella talks about finding a balance between player appetites and efficient development

Apex Legends’ sudden announcement and launch a few months back saw the game get a significant amount of attention out of the gate but, despite temptations to ramp up content production or hiring after that initial boom, Respawn CEO Vince Zampella says it was best for the team to stick to its original pacing plans for new content.

Speaking during the GamesBeat Summit this week, Zampella explains that Respawn always planned Apex Legends’ new content as season-by-season releases, a decision that was influenced by a desire to maintain a strong quality-of-life for the developers working on the game.

It's a conversation that occurred the same day Polygon published a piece detailing crunch at Fortnite dev Epic Games, crunch that many devs say was driven by a constant push to introduce new content and fixes into the battle royale game. While Zampella doesn't mention that piece or the grievances of Epic devs specifically, the conversation does steer toward Respawn's thought process when faced with similar temptations.

“Our intention was to always be seasonal, so we’re kind of staying with that,” says Zampella. “The thought was ‘hey we kind of have something that’s blowing up here, do we want to start trying to drop more content?’ 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 admits that there’s a lot that the team is still trying to figure out in terms of content pacing, a lot of which will be trial and error as Apex Legends progresses beyond its current first season. So far, he notes that the length of seasons was a “total guess” and its too early to tell if it’s a guess that’s worked in their favor.

He does note that they’ve already decided season one was a bit lighter on new content than Respawn would’ve liked, and the team is working to correct that in the next season rather than through on-the-fly changes.

“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.”

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