Apex Legends developer Respawn Entertainment has spoken out on what it calls a recent increase in “harassment towards members of our development team”, warning those responsible that it will “take appropriate action to ensure [team members’] health and safety”.
“Recently, we have seen increased harassment of our development team,” the studio wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “We welcome community input, however, the line between constructive feedback and the harassment of our dev team cannot be crossed.”
“We want to remind our players that we have a zero tolerance policy for threats and the harassment of our developers,” the statement continued. “We will take appropriate action to ensure the healthy and safety of our team”.
“We love hearing feedback,” Respawn concluded, “and will continue to work alongside our community to foster a respectful, collaborative environment, and uphold the competitive integrity of our game.”
Responding to Respawn’s tweet, Destiny developer Bungie – which has itself been forced to take legal action as it reckoned with community members who doxxed, threatened, and abused its staff – offered solidarity, saying, “Standing against toxicity and harassment takes all of us working together to build healthier communities. We are with you in that effort.”
Respawn’s statement follows a similar move from God of War developer Santa Monica Studio in July, when – in light of online abuse aimed at members of the team after a rumoured Ragnarök release date failed to materialise – it reminded players, “Our fans inspire us, and we understand the passion and desire for more information. But that passion should not be toxic nor come at the expense of any human being’s dignity.”
All this comes in a year when developers have been increasingly vocal about the online abuse received from so-called fans. Notably, July saw the likes of The Last of Us creator Neil Druckmann (himself no strange to online abuse), and God of War director Cory Barlog speak out after Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert temporarily closed down his long-running blog following a torrent of toxic responses to the latest game’s art style. As Barlog succinctly put it to the community, “Show some fucking respect”.