Respawn CEO Vince Zampella apologizes for developer comments in Apex Legends furor

(Image credit: EA Games)

Respawn Entertainment CEO Vince Zampella has apologized for disparaging comments made by members of the Apex Legends development team, including executive producer Drew McCoy, in a heated Reddit thread over the weekend. Zampella said that regardless of the threats and abuse the development team faces, it needs to "lead by example," and promised to do better in the future.

The tough weekend for the Respawn community management team began on Friday when McCoy said that he's been in the industry long enough "to remember when players weren't complete ass-hats to developers." Responding to a player who asked if McCoy could also remember when developers "weren't money grabbing fucks that scammed their players," he said he "found the dick [he] was talking about," and that "this kind of garbage doesn't warrant a reply."

Things went predictably downhill from there. Community manager Jay Frechette's remark that "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," for instance, only managed to stir things up even more. Some users on the Apex Legends subreddit have pointed out that it's a really good battle royale game (and also completely free), but anger and accusations, in threads like this and this, still dominate.

Zampella acknowledged that "some of our folks crossed a line with their comments," and apologized to all who took offense. "I will always stand behind the team here at Respawn and support them on speaking out against some of the toxic and nasty comments being directed at them, including everything from death threats to comments aimed at their family and loved ones," he wrote.

"But we shouldn't contribute to it when we do comment, and ad to the very thing we want to prevent. We need to lead by example. Last week we didn't do that, and going forward we will be better."

The irony is that the whole thing was spawned by changes Respawn is making to Apex Legends' Iron Crown Collection Event in response to fan complaints. Event-exclusive Legendary skins and other items were initially only available in Apex Packs, but beginning tomorrow they'll also be available in the in-game store for the same cost as regular Legendary skins, and will still continue to drop from packs.

Zampella's full apology is below.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.