Respawn opens third studio to support Apex Legends for the next decade

Respawn Entertainment has opened a studio in a third location, expanding their ability to keep supporting their free-to-play battle royale shooter Apex Legends.

Set up in Madison, Wisconsin, in the upper-Midwestern United States, the studio will be led by Ryan Burnett, formerly the director of engine production at Epic Games and having spent well over a decade at Raven Software. This new studio will work alongside the teams in Los Angeles and Vancouver to keep making new Apex Legends content and continually iterate on new ideas, with a new season launching every 90 days.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Burnett said, “When I look at the Apex franchise, I think it’s one of the best out there. The gameplay, the movement and the gunplay are nothing like anything else out there. We’re best in class when you look at other battle royale competitors in terms of movement and gameplay. The other thing we do really well is there’s a deep story, lore and history with all the Legends we have.”

There’s a lot of stuff to create in the coming months and years, albeit in a sustainable fashion, as Respawn’s Steven Ferreira said, “We believe in Apex as a franchise that’s going to be around for 10, 15 years or more and we’re excited to make that happen. In order to do that, we can’t just put everything all upfront, burn ourselves out and not be ready to do that in the long haul.”

As for why Wisconsin was chosen for the new studio’s location, Burnett said, “Wisconsin is quickly becoming a central development hub here. I’ve been here a long time working on FPS games, so we think there’s a really good hotbed of talent here we can pull from.”

While the new studio’s location means that it will be easier to attract some East Coast developers to the studio, compared to upending lives by moving to the West Coast or up to Canada, there’s another big reason to pick Wisconsin. That “hotbed of talent” Burnett refers to is pretty much one of his former employers, Raven Software. The studio is around 350 employees strong, and since 2020 has been the main studio behind battle royale giant Call of Duty: Warzone. If you’re looking for a pool of developers that will very easily slot into making fresh battle royale content, why not try to hire from one of your arch rivals?

The move is also another sign of EA’s general direction for Respawn and one of their biggest franchises going forward. Earlier this year they announced the shut down of Apex Legends Mobile, and there were also reports of a cancelled Titanfall project Apex Legends saw a downturn in profits. EA and Respawn are clearly looking to arrest that slide with a major new investment, though news has been decidedly mixed when considering the closure of EA Baton Rouge and the layoff of 200 QA staff.

Source: GamesIndustry.biz

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