Respawn Entertainment has responded to an anonymous Glassdoor review that claimed the developer was overworking employees and enforcing strict deadlines during the work-from-home period. An image of the review was shared on the Apex Legends subreddit, where a number of employees responded to the post, most notably game director Chad Grenier.
The review said that Respawn, unlike others in the industry, was not extending its timeline for Apex Legends updates nor was it being flexible with deadlines while teams work from home. The anonymous employee said they were working 12 to 13 hours a day and that the team did not plan properly around doing a live-service game.
Grenier (u/HkySk8r187) wrote a lengthy response in the comments of the post, addressing the issues. “I’ll chime in on this because a lot of this falls on me as the leader of the Apex team, but I truly believe Respawn has its [employees] best interest and health in mind, and always has,” Grenier wrote.
Quickly transitioning from the team working together in a shared space to working from home was not an easy change and Respawn did not have systems in place that made for a smooth switch, he wrote.
“As the Apex team leader I was vocal every day telling people to only work as much as they can. This was reiterated by Studio leadership, and EA leadership as well. Many have kids at home since schools are closed, or maybe their work environment isn’t comfortable, they don’t have a suitable home PC, or they have to take care of sick family members,” Grenier wrote.
Grenier wrote that both Respawn and EA put systems in place to ensure employees working from home were taken care of, like unlimited paid time off for those feeling physically or mentally unwell, reimbursement for any purchases to make working from home more comfortable, and additional pay each check to cover increased energy and internet bills.
As for hardset deadlines, Grenier pointed out that Season 4 of Apex Legends was extended by two weeks to provide the team with more time.
“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,” Grenier wrote. “Remember that odd [two] week delay when Season 4 was supposed to end, and then magically an additional [two] weeks was added to the end of the season with no weekly challenges? Yeah, that was because I delayed Season 5 by [two] weeks.”
Grenier wrote that despite leadership telling everyone to not push themselves, that the team is full of passionate workers, who always want to do their best, even in circumstances where it’s difficult to do so.
“The one thing I’ve learned about the team during this pandemic is that the team is filled with a bunch of rock stars and do-ers. Nobody wants to be the person to raise their hand and say they’re not going to hit their deadline,” Grenier wrote.
Lastly, Grenier closed by writing that above all else that while Respawn and EA are not perfect, both companies care more about the health of their employees–pandemic or not–than profits.
“As one of the original Respawners I can honestly tell you that Respawn (and EA) has been a great place to be over the past 10 years and is a place that puts the people first,” Grenier wrote.
In other Apex news, the Season 5 quest ended with a tease for a new character and a new map, possibly coming in Season 6.
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