The early buzz surrounding Apex Legends has quickly devolved into a cacophony of cries for balance and bug fixes, as popular Twitch streamer Michael "Shroud" Grzesiek commented earlier this week that he was extremely close to quitting the game "forever." Shroud's complaints stem from a number of issues that have been plaguing publisher EA and developer Respawn Entertainment's battle royale title, many of which have been persistent over a lengthy span of time that has left players feeling as though fixes should have been rolled out already.
When Apex Legends first launched in February 2019, the game felt as though it could do no wrong. Respawn had taken the elements that fans adored about Titanfall—fluidity of movement, scale of combat, and skillful gunplay—and transplanted it into the most popular genre in the world. The growth of Apex Legends was so impressive that it began to shatter records that Fortnite seemed destined to hold for years to come, and by all accounts, it appeared there was now a distinct two-horse race between those two titles for the lofty goal of battle royale supremacy.
Instead, Apex Legends has slowly begun to fade away while Fortnite remains as consistent as ever. Nowhere is that more evident than in the decision by Shroud to seriously consider departing the game's scene in favor of PUBG and even more obscure titles like Escape from Tarkov, a game that the popular streamer enjoyed playing while rehabbing his injuries from a scooter accident. Shroud's complaints mostly center around the persistent problem of laggy "slow-mo" servers, a term that refers to a connection issue that slows the game down and makes it significantly more difficult to enjoy. A clip of Shroud venting his frustrations can be found here, and here's what he said:
"I got about three games left before I quit this game forever...forever, I think. I'd rather play PUBG. And that's saying something."
Obviously, streamers can get frustrated when a game isn't performing well and it hampers the content they're putting out—streaming is Shroud's livelihood, and if Apex Legends' servers continue to lag, then he will probably lose viewers over the course of a stream who don't want to watch a sub-par viewing experience. Maybe Shroud isn't actually considering quitting Apex Legends, but the fact that he's getting upset enough to even vocalize it is an issue for Respawn Entertainment. The Apex Legends community as a whole isn't entirely impressed with how EA and Respawn have handled the game since it released. There have been barely any content updates, and issues with hit boxes and server lag persist weeks or months after they were first discovered.
While many looked at Apex Legends and saw a game that was bucking the trend of other recent EA offerings that were a special kind of disappointing—Anthem and Battlefield 5, to start, although Star Wars Battlefront II was their progenitor—perhaps it is safer now to assume it was just taking a bit of extra time to regress to the mean. A battle royale game thrives on the content creators that are playing it and influencing viewers to give it a shot as well, and losing Shroud, who remains at the top of the 'real' Twitch sub count board ahead of Summit1G and Ninja, would be a massive blow to the game.
While it seems crazy to think that in two short months the hottest property in gaming has already found itself in need of serious help, that's exactly where Apex Legends currently sits. If things don't change and change quickly, Shroud's disinterest and massive sphere of influence could meant the sentiment easily catches on and spreads through a community that was only just finding its footing. There's still plenty of time and passion for Apex Legends, but this marks a genuine turning point for a game that desperately needs to mimic Fortnite when it comes to content release planning.