Respawn Entertainment and parent company EA are opening a new studio in Vancouver that will focus on the battle royale titan, Apex Legends. Respawn COO Dusty Welch, head of operations Henry Lee, team director Steven Ferreira, and Apex Legends director Chad Grenier will take charge at the new location.
Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, Lee called the move to open in Vancouver “a natural fit.” Aside from bringing on the aforementioned Respawn team, the new location has been internally hiring talent from EA Vancouver for the last eight months. What’s left for Respawn now is “adding the missing pieces,” which will eventually result in the new studio housing around 80 team members.
“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 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.” Ferreira said the Vancouver location has been built from the ground up to focus on “strong individuals” who are passionate about Apex Legends.
EA has stated in the past that it wants to position the battle royale FPS as a “10-year business.” Lee said EA has not been overbearing despite the long-term goal or the game’s success, resulting in a change of pace for for Respawn: “There’s obviously a balance between monetization and doing things the right way and the health of the team. And I love that EA and their leadership team understand that balance and what’s important for Respawn. They allow us to make the decisions and the calls that are best for our company and our team, and also consideration for the IP and our player base. It’s an interesting matrix of things to try and manage.”
The existence of Respawn’s Vancouver location also helps alleviate the Apex Legends-related pressure from the California-based team. Studio head Vince Zampella recently confirmed that another Titanfall is not in the cards right now, but Respawn will showcase something at EA Play in June.
Apex Legends has seen sustained success since a surprise release in February of last year. The Titanfall spinoff FPS earned 50 million players in its first month of service and is in the midst of its fifth season of content now, thanks to continued support from fans.