On Wednesday, BioWare General Manager Gary McKay published a blog post announcing that the company is eliminating “approximately 50 roles” from its development teams. This news comes less than a year after the studio announced that its current project, Dragon Age: Dreadwolf, has gone into the alpha stage of production.
“In order to meet the needs of our upcoming projects, continue to hold ourselves to the highest standard of quality, and ensure BioWare can continue to thrive in an industry that’s rapidly evolving, we must shift towards a more agile and more focused studio,” McKay wrote in the blog post. “It will allow our developers to iterate quickly, unlock more creativity, and form a clear vision of what we’re building before development ramps up. To achieve this, we find ourselves in a position where change is not only necessary, but unavoidable. As difficult as this is to say, rethinking our approach to development inevitably means reorganizing our team to match the studio’s changing needs.”
These layoffs include staff members who were working on upcoming BioWare projects like Dragon Age: Dreadwolf and Mass Effect, including former development manager Brian K. Lee, and shockingly, writer Mary Kirby — who worked on Dragon Age: Origins, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dragon Age 2, and Dragon Age: Inquisition. According to McKay, these layoffs were needed to steer the studio back towards health and quality products and will not negatively impact its current projects.
“After much consideration and careful planning, we have built a long-term vision that will preserve the health of the studio and better enable us to do what we do best: create exceptional story-driven single-player experiences filled with vast worlds and rich characters. This vision balances the current needs of the studio—namely, ensuring Dragon Age™: Dreadwolf is an outstanding game—with its future, including the success of the next Mass Effect™.”
McKay also made assurances that the impacted employees will be treated with “empathy, respect, and clear communication.”
“We’ve chosen to act now in part to provide our impacted colleagues with as many internal opportunities as possible. These changes coincide with a significant number of roles that are currently open across EA’s other studios. Impacted employees will be provided with professional resources and assistance as they apply for these positions.”