It’s with mixed feelings that I view BioWare these days. Around a decade ago, the Canadian studio was one of my favorite developers of Western RPGs. BioWare introduced us to such classics like Knights of the Old Republic and, of course, Mass Effect. While the company thrived under EA after its acquisition in 2009, it didn’t take long before things got concerning. The failure of Anthem and the departure of some of its top creators certainly felt like a red flag. However, the new general manager, Gary McKay, is optimistic for a turnaround. In a message on the future of BioWare, he writes that the company will work to rebuild its reputation, and bring back “the trust of our fans and community.” He also provided a brief update on the next Dragon Age.
McKay began the letter describing the challenges the company faced in the last year. If you’ve been paying attention to current events, then you should already know what it’s about. Yes, McKay goes over the difficulties game companies, including BioWare, faced during the ongoing pandemic. Many developers had to work on games from their own home, to which some have grown accustom.
As such, BioWare is adopting a hybrid work model that “will ensure flexibility for everyone in the studio.” Because it’s embracing both office and at-home employment, the studio is also looking into hiring folks from “anywhere in North America.”
BioWare to focus on quality, reputation, and rebuilding trust
As for what’s next for the studio, obviously that will be the new Mass Effect and Dragon Age games. While McKay didn’t offer much on the former, he does throw a cheeky hint that the recent teaser art for the next Mass Effect may hold more secrets. In it, he says “there are at least five surprises, all of which point to an amazing future in the Mass Effect universe.” For the next Dragon Age, McKay reaffirms that BioWare is ” focused on a single-player experience that is built on choices that matter.” No more worries on it becoming a live service game, we hope.
But in the end, excitement for those aforementioned games won’t mean much without trust. McKay clearly understands this, as he ends the message on the subject. According to him, rebuilding BioWare’s reputation is a “huge priority,” and it means “building back the trust of our fans and community.” In order to achieve this goal, the company plans to deliver the “highest quality” of games.
“Our mission is to ‘Create worlds of adventure, conflict, and companionship that inspire you to become the hero of your story,’” McKay wrote, with his italics for emphasis. “We want the launch of our games to be seminal moments in the industry. We want each game to earn the kind of reaction we’ve seen with Mass Effect Legendary Edition. We feel that we have the right people, the right creative focus, and the support from EA to deliver on the promise.”
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