Apex Legends Lead Game Designer Daniel Zenon Klein has left his post at Respawn under a cloud, after the unearthing of historical comments of a racist and sexist nature forced the company to let him go last week. Klein had been in charge of hit battle royale title Apex Legends until Friday, August 6th, with no comment from Respawn at the time of writing.
Klein, however, has written a lengthy Twitter thread, revealing that he was released from his post due to the recent discovery of a number of blog posts from 2007, where he (aged 27) made discriminatory comments of a sexist and racist nature. He describes himself as ‘heartbroken and depressed’, but goes on to stress that EA and Respawn did nothing wrong in his eyes.
He went on to apologise to his former colleagues and state he would be looking for new employers as soon as possible, as well as describing his former self as a ‘shithead’ who would have deserved to lose his job. Apex is a title with a deliberately diverse cast of characters, which Klein and his team had been publicly proud of in his time at the company.
He previously worked for Riot Games, before leaving under acrimonious circumstances after a spat with fans on Twitter over a panel at a Riot PAX. He joined Respawn in January of 2020, before taking the Lead Designer role in November of the same year and overseeing the introduction of controversial legends Horizon and Seer. Respawn is currently advertising for a number of Lead Design posts, although there is no suggestion that is directly connected to Klein's departure.
He has recently clashed with fans and professional players over game balance issues, with the release on August 3rd of the ‘Emergence’ update for season 10 intensifying criticism of the direction the game is moving. The game has seen a boom in popularity recently, with big streamers like NickMercs and TimTheTatMan switching over from Warzone as the Call of Duty title struggles to meet fan expectations.