Hundreds Of Apex Legends Playtesters Laid Off During EA Zoom Call
EA's Baton Rouge office reportedly lost over 200 Apex Legends playtesters after a surprise Zoom call announced the layoffs.
Apex Legends Season 16: Revelry is all about celebrating the game's fourth year. Unfortunately, playtesters at EA's Baton Rouge office are unlikely to join in the festivities after over 200 of them were laid off earlier today, according to a report by Kotaku. According to the publication's sources, the announcement came via a "surprise Zoom call" during which hundreds of Apex Legends playtesters were unceremoniously dumped by the triple-A game publisher.
Described as "unscheduled and mandatory," it's clear the Zoom call came as a shock to both the playtesters themselves and the company's higher level supervisors--the latter of whom were allegedly given no notice nor time to prepare prior to Tuesday's massive layoffs. Adding insult to injury, Kotaku's sources claim that, after the surprise Zoom meeting, employees who had been laid off were only allowed to go clean out their desks and collect personal belongings while under the direct supervision of EA security personnel. EA is reportedly offering 60 days of severance pay, though this is allegedly far less time than most employees still had on their employment contracts.
Not to be confused with the publisher's volunteer playtesters, the folks at EA's Baton Rouge office were official EA employees who worked in the quality assurance department. While the Louisiana-based office had worked on other titles in the past, its focus was shifted specifically to Apex Legends prior to the hit battle royale's surprise February 2019 launch. Sources that spoke to Kotaku expressed concern regarding the impact of the layoffs on the game itself. Apex Legends runs on a heavily modified version of Source Engine, and is no stranger to fairly significant bugs that have sometimes gone unaddressed for months. Having fewer QA specialists on hand could make troubleshooting a bit more difficult going forward.
EA has yet to make any official comment on the matter, but it does seem like some internal restructuring is taking place as far as Apex Legends goes. Last month, Respawn announced that the award-winning Apex Legends Mobile would be sunset on May 1--just a few days before its one-year anniversary on May 17. Another major shakeup to the franchise included the cancelation of the single-player Apex Legends game, which was actively in development before getting canceled. Additionally, Season 16 kicked off with no new legend set to debut alongside the new season--a first for the game, which has historically introduced a new legend every three months. Though some of these changes in direction are arguably good for the game's overall health, the impact of today's massive playtester layoff remains to be seen. Unfortunately, it's hard to imagine a situation in which fewer quality assurance testers would benefit the game.
Apex Legends is free to play on console and PC. A mobile version of the game, Apex Legends Mobile, is available to play on Android and iOS devices, but will be sunset on May 1.
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