After Vince Zampella, CEO of Apex Legends developer Respawn, defended the game’s season-by-season update schedule, the major Fortnite streamer Ali ‘Myth’ Kabbani has cautioned against burning bridges with the community.
Zampella was speaking at the GamesBeat summit this week (via Gamasutra). He says “there are a lot of people that are like: ‘hey, where’s the weekly updates? Fortnite does this.’ And it’s like: we’re not set up to do that. We never intended to.” Zampella says Respawn’s intention “was to always be seasonal, so we’re kind of staying with that.”
He adds that stepping up the pace was considered after Apex’s initial success, but “we don’t want to overwork the team, and drop the quality of the assets we’re putting out.” That comment was auspiciously timed, as it was reported on the very same day that developers at Epic were in a near-constant state of unacceptable crunch to meet Fortnite’s hectic update schedule.
Myth, captain of Team Solo Mid (TSM)’s Fortnite team and a highly influential streamer, acknowledges that pushing out content for the sake of it is unhealthy, but pacing it out over so long can create dangerous expectations that, if not met, can burn bridges with the fans. He seems to recommend a middle ground, with “just a few small things once every three-to-four weeks to keep players engaged. Content doesn’t need to be a new item or hero.”
My thoughts about Apex content topic
Pushing out content for the sake of pushing out content is unhealthy and I completely agree with them on that front.
But pacing out your content over an extreme amount of time can create some very dangerous expectations that if not met…
— Myth (@TSM_Myth) April 24, 2019
So just how often does a battle royale need to update in order to do this? It’s a question with which Apex Legends is struggling, as its Twitch viewership is collapsing and streamers such as Shroud and Dr Disrespect are professing themselves “bored” of its lack of content. Perhaps the least that can be agreed upon is that when it does update, it needs to count: players were largely unimpressed by Apex Legends’ first battle pass.
I’ll say this for battle royale: the business dynamics around the genre are fascinating. These are monetised as ‘hobby’ games, yet their content lacks the range and scope of something like Destiny, let alone a full-fledged MMO. I guess Fortnite has creative mode, but otherwise battle royale is just one activity. Never before have we seen a genre so dependent on flashy new trinkets to keep players interested, or on streamers to keep it in the zeitgeist.