IN A NUTSHELL:
- Casey Hudson and Mike Darrah left BioWare;
- The developers held important positions in the studio (Casey Hudson was its CEO and Mike Darrah was responsible for the current key project, DA4);
- These are not the only people who have recently left the company;
- Some time ago, Jason Schreier's investigation revealed bad atmosphere and big problems at the Canadian company.
The well-known Canadian studio BioWare has just lost two talented developers. We're talking about Casey Hudson - the current head of the company and creator of the Mass Effect series, as well as Mark Darrach, who recently acted as executive producer of the new installment of the Dragon Age series . The information was published in an entry published on the company blog by Laura Miele, EA's (owner of BioWare) chief studios officer.
"When I think about BioWare’s future and the next generation of talent in place, I could not be more confident or optimistic. As we look to the studio’s future and the projects currently under development, the next generation of BioWare talent is leading the studio forward and working on some incredible games that I know you will be excited to experience in the coming years," we read in the post.
For the time being, Samantha Ryan, who has led Warner Bros. Games in the past, will be the head of the Canadian team. The search for a new CEO is ongoing. The next part of DA will now be the responsibility of Christian Dailey (who recently moved to BioWare from Blizzard Entertainment), while the Mass Effect series, including the recently announced remaster of the first three parts, called Legendary Edition, will be handled by Mike Gamble.
What about Casey Hudson and Mark Darrah?
Both leaving developers have also published their own entries. They're showing the reasons behind their decision.
"Arriving at this point has been an opportunity for me to reflect on my own future, and 2020 has been a year that forced all of us to re-imagine how we think about work and life. For me, it’s been the realization that I still have tremendous energy to create, but also that I need to try something different. I’m not sure exactly what that is yet, but I know that I want to start by rediscovering my creative passion through more personal work," writes Casey Hudson.
"This year has been transformative to the way we do everything. The way we work, the way we socialize; these are things that have changed. Some of these changes are temporary but others will remain forever. I believe that this gives us an opportunity to bring in new voices. To reimagine how we work. To strengthen how we tell stories," explains Mark Darrah.
It is noteworthy that Casey Hudson has worked at BioWare for nearly 20 years, and Mike Darrah has spent over two decades at the company.
The problems at BioWare are nothing new
It's been known for a long time that things aren't going well in the studio. The last three major projects of the Canadian company - Mass Effect: Andromeda, released three years ago, last February's Anthem, and the upcoming Dragon Age 4 - were / are being conceived in great pains, which (as revealed by Jason Schreier's investigation) spoils the atmosphere in the company and has a negative impact on its employees. What's more, the first two titles did not receive such a warm reception from the reviewers as their creators expected. The departure of key developers will certainly not improve the situation (Casey Hudson and Mark Darrah are not the first to leave the company - earlier BioWare was abandoned by Ben Irving, the main producer of Anthem). At this stage it is difficult to say whether and in what form the studio will survive this difficult period.
BioWare is one of the most successful teams in the industry, having created, apart from Mass Effect and Dragon Age, the iconic RPG series Baldur's Gate and Knights of the Old Republic. The studio was founded in February 1995 by Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk (in 2012 they both gave up creating games at this point). In 2007 the company was acquired by Electronic Arts.
- BioWare - official website