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BioWare cuts around 50 jobs to become a ‘more agile and focused studio’

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Studio Restructuring

BioWare, the creative force behind iconic games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age, is undergoing a significant transformation, wielding its mighty editorial sword to trim about 50 positions from its roster. The parent company, Electronic Arts, is orchestrating this maneuver with the aspiration of crafting a “more agile and focused studio.” It’s like they’re trying to hit the gym, shed some organizational weight, and come out swinging with renewed vigor.

Gary McKay, the honorable general manager of BioWare, opened the curtain on this show by stating that this shuffle was, alas, “unavoidable.” In his eloquent and probably carefully proofread message, he explained that these workforce changes were as inevitable as a plot twist in a suspenseful movie. It seems the studio had to don a new cape to adapt to the evolving landscape.

McKay painted a picture of BioWare’s grand vision, a vision akin to concocting a potion that blends storytelling prowess with single-player experiences that boast expansive realms and characters with more layers than an onion. He explicitly mentioned their current baby, Dragon Age: Dreadwolf, and their future treasure chest, the next Mass Effect installment. Like a grand conductor, he balanced these two notes to compose a harmonious symphony of game development.

In a world where companies often shout “every person for themselves!” during layoffs, McKay assured the affected employees that they’re not just being left to fend for themselves in the treacherous wilderness of job hunting. Instead, BioWare has donned its shining armor of support and pledged to provide internal opportunities, making the transition smoother than a well-rendered character animation.

Yet, it’s not all rainbows and magical spells. While BioWare will sprinkle credit on the folks for their contributions to Dragon Age: Dreadwolf, McKay dropped a truth bomb that not everyone would find a new hideout within the Electronic Arts kingdom. It’s like being told you’ll get a magical horse, but only a select few will get the unicorn.

Speaking of unicorns, remember that anticipated Mass Effect game announced back in 2020? Well, it’s still in pre-production. It’s like waiting for a sequel to your favorite movie – patience is a virtue, but hey, if it’s anything like Mass Effect: Andromeda, it’ll be worth it (wink, wink).

But wait, there’s more! This revelation is linked to another one from the past – a March announcement from EA’s CEO Andrew Wilson. He wielded the layoff scythe to prune around 6 percent of their nearly 13,000-strong workforce. BioWare’s headcount, rumored to be around 250 brave souls, got a trim as well. It’s like the studio joined the gym alongside its parent company.

In the midst of this digital drama, EA also decided to break up with Keywords, a company that offered game services and had its hands in the creation of Dragon Age: Dreadwolf. It’s like ending a long-term relationship with your co-writer, and the last chapter of your collaborative book will be written solo.

And guess what? This drama isn’t just about the main cast. Even the supporting roles are making their presence felt. Keywords, which also provided playtesting services, found itself in the limelight as its quality assurance contractors formed Canada’s first video game labor union last year. EA reportedly kept renewing contracts, but this time, the ink just wouldn’t flow smoothly. It’s like trying to negotiate terms for a sequel that might never come.

In a world where game development is often shrouded in mystery and digital intrigue, BioWare’s restructuring saga shines a light on the intricate dance between creativity, business, and the people who bring our virtual dreams to life. So, dear readers, let’s hope that from these digital ashes, a phoenix of even greater storytelling and gameplay shall rise. Until then, let’s put on our gamer hats, grab some popcorn, and enjoy the unfolding spectacle.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Studio Restructuring

What is the reason behind the job cuts at BioWare?

BioWare is making these staff reductions as part of a larger effort by its parent company, Electronic Arts, to create a more agile and focused studio. The aim is to align the workforce with the evolving needs of the studio and its future projects.

How many positions are being eliminated?

Approximately 50 positions are being cut from BioWare’s workforce. This is part of a broader workforce reduction strategy initiated by Electronic Arts.

Will the affected employees receive any support?

Yes, BioWare has expressed its commitment to supporting the affected staff. The studio plans to provide internal opportunities for these employees to transition into other roles within the organization, and they will be given professional assistance if they apply for positions at other Electronic Arts studios.

What is BioWare’s future vision?

BioWare’s long-term vision involves maintaining the health of the studio while continuing to focus on creating exceptional story-driven single-player experiences. This vision encompasses ongoing projects like “Dragon Age: Dreadwolf” and the upcoming “Mass Effect” game.

What is the status of the upcoming games?

The next “Mass Effect” game is still in pre-production, led by producer Mike Gamble. Despite the changes, BioWare remains dedicated to the development of “Dragon Age: Dreadwolf” and is confident in delivering a compelling experience to players.

How does this relate to EA’s previous announcement?

EA’s CEO, Andrew Wilson, had previously announced a company-wide workforce reduction of around 6 percent. BioWare’s job cuts are part of this larger initiative to streamline and reshape the company’s structure.

What is the significance of the breakup with Keywords?

Keywords is a game services company that was working with BioWare on “Dragon Age: Dreadwolf.” The decision to sever ties with Keywords is connected to an inability to reach a new agreement, and the existing contract will conclude soon. This has implications for game services and playtesting.

How does the labor union factor into this?

Keywords’ quality assurance contractors had formed Canada’s first video game labor union last year. While EA had reportedly renewed contracts, the inability to agree on terms during the BioWare changes has brought this aspect into focus, showcasing the intricate dynamics of the gaming industry.

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1 comment

MovieBuff007 August 24, 2023 - 5:47 pm

whoa, wait up, EA’s breakin’ up with Keywords? That’s like a twist in a suspense flick! Wonder how this affects their playtesting mojo.


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