Respawn CEO apologizes for dev comments after Apex Legends forum meltdown

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It would probably be best if Apex Legends developers Respawn Entertainment took a cue from their namesake and just started over. That’s seemingly what CEO Vince Zampella is trying to do as he issued a personal apology to fans over the fiasco that transpired recently, saying that “things got to a pretty bad place”.

The controversy began last week with the kickoff of the new Iron Crown event which forced players to fork out ludicrous amounts of real-world money just for the chance of getting some of the incredible event-exclusive cosmetics in loot boxes. Over the weekend Respawn offered an apology for how they handled the event monetization, claiming that it was due to their newness in the Free-To-Play arena. However, Respawn’s apology – which included the no-better fix of making the cosmetics available to purchase directly in the in-game store at even higher prices than the loot boxes – drew a ton of ire from players on Reddit. And then things got nasty.

With players angrily shouting at them (and even accusing them of conspiratorily planning this whole debacle), some members of the development team reached a breaking point and fired back. Amid the ensuing war of words, devs called some players “ass-hats”, “freeloaders”, and “dicks” as they publicly vented. According to Zampella’s apologetic message on Twitter though, much worse was sent the dev team’s way, including “death threat and comments aimed at families and loved ones.” It was apparently this that forced the devs to “[cross] a line”, which he is sorry for.

Personally, I feel both parties are to blame here. There’s no way Respawn could have thought the monetisation elements they introduced with Iron Crown would be welcomed. They did it anyway because they knew that in the process they would reel in some “whales” who would drop a small mountain of cash on the game in a heartbeat. In this matter, players have every right to gripe and gripe loudly. They were being shafted and they shouldn’t have to take it.

However, complaining about something somebody has done is not the same as personally attacking that person. That’s also wrong. In fact, the one post that initially sparked this conflagration was when a dev using the handle dk05 called one of the vocal commenters a “dick”. While many focused on the penile insult, it was seemingly overlooked that the commenter said that even they felt they had gone too far with their insults, prompting them to edit their comments to remove the really bad stuff. That’s not on either.

Should the devs have responded the way they did? Hell, no. They are a company providing a product to the public. Not speaking to your customer base like this is Good Business 101. Can you blame them for also getting a little rankled though? Also, no. That being said, they need to do something about the monetisation for this event and they need to do it fast. Their “fix” simply isn’t one. It’s making things worse, and they desperately need to clean up this mess.

Last Updated: August 20, 2019

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