On the heels of the studio’s 10-year anniversary, Respawn Entertainment has opened up a new studio in Vancouver to focus on Apex Legends.
In an interview with GameIndustry.biz, representatives from the studio said that the transition from one studio to two would not only allow the original California studio to focus on projects outside of the battle royale game, but would let the Vancouver studio dedicate more resources to the game long term. As of right now, the studio is aiming to fill the team with around 80 employees, and while the company has been building itself up through internal shifts within EA, the plan is now to start hiring externally to fill out the rest of its ranks.
“This is a great opportunity, not just for the Vancouver studio to bring some new creative challenges to people already there, but also to the local industry in terms of being part of the Apex Legends roadmap,” said Head of Operations Henry Lee. “So we’re very excited about bringing this to Vancouver and hopefully greater Canada as well, because we can tap into much more of a talent base broadly.”
With this move, Respawn’s Vancouver team will be working on a long-term plan for the game, and according to Respawn COO Dusty Welch, EA has been very much hands-off on the whole thing, and is letting Respawn decide the future of Apex Legends on its own terms.
“I’ve never run a franchise before where there’s been so little or no pressure from the publisher or from corporate or my partner about the monetization or the revenue,” he said. “That is not how Respawn has been wired or built. I don’t think that EA is wired or built that way.
“We have a long-term view for where we’d like to take the franchise, and EA supports that long-term view of building out the franchise. FIFA didn’t grow to be the juggernaut it is today in one night. Call of Duty — something near and dear to many of us on this call back in our Activision days — didn’t grow there in one night. It took time to get there, so we have that realistic long-term view, and I appreciate the support from EA and the lack of pressure.”
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While the Vancouver team is working on Apex Legends, the California team doesn’t have any projects currently announced. The studio just put out Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order back in November, with a Stadia version coming sometime in 2020. However, it doesn’t sound like the studio is working on a third Titanfall game at the moment, which will no doubt disappoint fans of that series, Whatever is coming next does appear to be in the shooter genre, which at least speaks to the studio’s strengths.
Apex Legends did just get a new playable character in the form of Loba, and if you haven’t tried her out yet, check out some of our tips on how to get started.