BioWare Initiates Personnel Reduction, Leaving 50 Employees Jobless
Bioware, once a leading name in the gaming industry, has lost some prominence and a number of its fans even before the release of Anthem and Mass Effect: Andromeda. This led to speculation that Electronic Arts would shut the studio down. This concern could be why Mass Effect 4 was prematurely announced and showcased, despite inquiries about the prolonged development of Dragon Age: Dreadwolf. The announcement we've been expecting came tonight after past experiences with such spikes in hiring and divided attention.
Bioware's General Manager, Gary McKay, revealed that approximately 50 employees will be let go. McKay's justification is somewhat out of the ordinary:
"To maintain the quality of our upcoming projects and continue to ensure Bioware's survival in a rapidly evolving industry, we need to transition towards a leaner, more focused studio. This will enable swift iterations by our developers,unleashing more creativity and establishing a solid direction before ramping up development."
Despite the apparent contradiction of downsizing to expedite the production of Dragon Age: Dreadwolf and Mass Effect 4, it is justified when considering information from my studio sources. I have spoken to over 10 Bioware employees in the past years and the common frustration was the excess of project contributors causing the protracted production of Dragon Age: Dreadwolf. Iterative project rebooting meant core systems needing to be recreated or added, slowing the process due to the extensive approvals needed which left many team members idle, awaiting the green light.
So it's mixed news really. The bad news is 50 people will lose their jobs (though, hopefully, they'll find new positions at other EA studios or elsewhere immediately). The good news being, this could potentially expedite and enhance the development of Dragon Age: Dreadwolf and Mass Effect 4.