The Apex Legends subreddit had a little tire fire this past Friday as a result of a Glassdoor review of developer Respawn Entertainment that was shared. In the review, the unnamed current developer claims that they feel burnt out due to the complexities of working from home while attempting to meet regular update deadlines.
“We have no idea how to do a live service project, which means poor planning decisions and no sizing of work, means we actually have very little idea of how much we can accomplish in a given month,” claims the review. “I currently work 12-13 hours a day and there is no separation between my home and work life. I am so burned out that I am considering leaving without a next job to go to just so mentally I can be in a better place.”
The post, which has received over 800 comments at the time of this writing, drew such a reaction from players upset that Respawn Entertainment was apparently crunching its devs that game director Chad Grenier offered a lengthy reply:
“Regarding deadlines and delays, I was very vocal to the team about their deadlines. Like a broken record I continuously asked that people speak up to their managers or producers if they will not be able to get their work done on time without crunching. Delays would be ok, we just need to know one is needed. Remember that odd 2 week delay when season 4 was supposed to end, and then magically an additional 2 weeks was added to the end of the season with no weekly challenges? Yeah, that was because I delayed Season 5 by 2 weeks. That also had a trickling effect of many other much longer delays, but I won’t go into details as it’s mainly for unannounced content.”
According to Grenier, the problem is not so much with leadership failing so much as developers not wanting to admit they need to step back, though he also admits that leadership is trying to pay closer attention to warning signs.
“I’m definitely not trying to say this person who wrote the review is wrong, and I’m not defending myself against the review. They’re absolutely right in how they felt, and they were clearly working too much, despite being told it was ok to miss their deadlines. […] Nobody wants to be the person to raise their hand and say they’re not going to hit their deadline. Nobody wants to be the one who got a feature delayed. Nobody wants to let their teammates down, or let the fans down. Everyone wants to fix that bug, finish that cool new character, or get that new gamemode up and running, and will crunch themselves unknowingly to get it done. […] Because of this, all of us leaders on the team have learned to better look for the signs, check-in more regularly with the developers, and push features back proactively after reading the signals, instead of waiting for someone to raise their hand.”