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The adorable story of Apex Legends’ odd lunchtime release

One former employee recounts his experiences of Respawn delaying the game's release so he could adopt his daughter

Pathfinder Apex Legends

Do you remember Apex Legends’ release? Sure, February 2019 seems like a decade ago now, but it was a very exciting time for fans of both Titanfall and the battle royale genre. Apex is now in its seventh season, but lead programmer Jon Shiring shared a heartwarming tale that explains the game’s odd lunchtime release and encapsulates Respawn’s family values.

Shiring was preparing to release Apex Legends in the morning of February 4. His role would mean he oversaw operations and online services for the game – which, obviously, is crucial for the basic functions of a battle royale.

However, Shiring was due to attend a hearing regarding the adoption of his daughter around the same time. Unfortunately the court was unaware of the release date of Apex Legends – after all, it was a secret game at this point. He received his court appointment in the post, and to his disappointment, he was due in at 10.00 on February 4 – the exact time he was meant to be overseeing the launch.

However, Respawn didn’t care. They put their people first and delayed the launch of Apex Legends until Shiring was back from his appointment – which happened to be around lunchtime.

Shiring reminisced about the moment on Twitter last night, because he was back in the same courthouse to finalise his daughter’s adoption. He says it was an “amazing morning” for his family, and something which wouldn’t have happened without Respawn’s blessing and employee-first mantra.

It’s a contrast to the horror stories of crunch and employee abuse that are so often revealed in the gaming industry, this is proof that developers can produce a brilliant live service game in better conditions. It is worth noting that Respawn faced accusations of crunch in a Glassdoor review earlier this year, but Shiring continues to perpetuate a positive employee culture at his new studio Gravity Well, formed with another former Respawn employee, Drew McCoy.

In a statement on the studio’s website, McCoy says the “anti-crunch” studio is “putting the team first” and focusing on employee health above all else.