A Reddit thread in which Apex Legends developer Respawn admitted its fairly expensive, complicated Iron Crown Collection Event had "missed the mark" has descended into recriminations and more debate about the relationship between developers and fans.
The thread, which announced changes to the way players obtain Legendary skins during the event, attracted comments from individual Respawn developers, including executive producer Drew McCoy. In the course of the discussion, McCoy called players "ass-hats" and "dicks", and lamented toxicity in the community.
"I've been in the industry long enough to remember when players weren't complete ass-hats to developers and it was pretty neat. I forged a bunch of long lasting relationships from back then," he said in one comment. "Would be awesome to get back there, and not engaging with toxic people or asking 'how high' when a mob screams 'jump' is hopefully a start."
In reply to user who called the devs "money-grabbing fucks", McCoy said: "Hey everyone—found the dick I was talking about." Later in the discussion, he said: "I think technically I was calling gamers dicks? I dunno. I had a spicy lunch, feelin' it."
McCoy also joked that most players are "freeloaders": "The amount of people who spend is crazy low, most of ya'll are freeloaders (and we love that!) and a change in price doesn't move the needle."
Community manager Jay Frechette came to McCoy's defense when fans jumped on the comments, pointing out that players had slung personal insults at the team. "So it's fine for you all to call us liars, full of shit, and other personal attacks when we communicate an apology and update to the event but we're 'immature' when we call people out on it. Got it," he said.
The immediate response from the subreddit was anger and outrage. This morning, the most upvoted post on the subreddit claimed Respawn had "alienated [the] playerbase".
"You committed the ultimate cardinal sin, you got personal. You, as a team of professionals trying to make money, got personal. You got personal and decided to insult your playbase, calling us 'ass-hats' and 'freeloaders'. Not a wise move," it said. "We won't forget this. You've set a new tone for the kind of interaction we'll be having with you. It's a cold one."
Another popular post highlighted the comment in which McCoy called another user a dick and asked: "How is this acceptable?"
However, the current top post on the subreddit has urged the community to be "civil and not resort to full on toxicity".
"While we have a right to be upset, we cannot let a few bad apples (replies) warrant chopping down the whole tree," the post said. "What I’m saying is we can be civil and NOT resort to full on toxicity, the store and it’s prices 100% needs work and tweaking but let’s not act like all of Respawn is evil here."
The thread highlighted a comment from another Respawn developer, user RaymeCV (presumably engineer Rayme Vinson), which said McCoy and Frechette were "good people" who were "being honest with you".
"I’d suggest engaging with them in good faith in those Q&A threads if you have concerns or questions about all this. I mean; argue and have your opinions for sure, but the conspiracy & personal-attack stuff is disheartening," said RaymeCV's comment, which has been heavily upvoted.
"I get that you don’t know anyone from the studio personally, that we might as well be evil robots or trained murder pigeons or whatever, for all you know. But if your takeaway from the last six months of Apex is 'these diabolical lying money geniuses know exactly what they’re doing to surgically extract our soul cash', then oh buddy.
"Personal opinion here, from a grunt in the trenches: the last project this team put out was a $60 box product (that I love!). I assumed we were stuck doing that until the heat death of the universe, but lo’ and behold: Apex. I am super proud of the leadership & business teams for getting us from the '$60 at the door or gtfo nerds' sales model to '$0 to play, no P2W, cosmetics and battlepass keep the lights on'. Obviously we don’t have it all to a science yet, but I got to work on gameplay stuff today that everyone will play for free in X weeks/months and that’s cool."