Several Dragon Age developers who were let go by BioWare earlier in August have taken steps to sue the Dragon Age: Dreadwolf developer due to a lack of adequate severance pay.
BioWare is known for its epic adventures across a span of genres, delighting fans with RPGs like Mass Effect, KOTOR, and Dragon Age, with the latter now in late development. However, after its termination of 50 employees last August, alongside reports of an extremely rocky development behind the scenes, faith in BioWare seems to be at an all-time low. And that doesn’t just go for the company’s fans, either.
According to a statement shared online, ex-BioWare employees were allegedly offered severance pay that was significantly less than what was to be expected. Several employees tried to re-negotiate with BioWare about the low severance pay, but got nowhere due to the RPG giant’s refusal.
However, these Dragon Age developers have also refused BioWare’s low offers. Instead, they have filed a Statement of Claim with Alberta’s Court of King’s Bench with a request for fair severance pay, as well as “punitive damages” for a claim of “unreasonably poor treatment by BioWare.”
“In light of the numerous recent industry layoffs and the fact that BioWare’s NDAs prevent us from showing any of our recent work on Dragon Age: Dreadwolf in our portfolios, we are very concerned about the difficulty many of us will have finding work as the holiday season approaches,” said one of the terminated employees.
The employee clarified that they remain supportive of the game they worked hard on, but they are “struggling” to understand why BioWare is treating them poorly after an average of 14 years working at the company.
R. Alex Kennedy, who acts as counsel for the seven employees looking to sue BioWare, states that even with contracts that discuss termination, it may have included illegal provisions. “BioWare attempted to reduce its obligation to these employees well below what the courts typically award, including by eliminating benefits from its termination pay — that appears to be contrary to the Employment Standards Code.”
Kennedy concluded that, in their opinion, the terminated Dragon Age developers deserve a “generous” severance pay.
“These people are artists and creators who have worked very hard for a very long time in a difficult industry, producing big profits for their employer. Their termination without cause en masse like this calls for a response.”
This isn’t the first, nor will it sadly be the last, that gamers and fans alike have heard about video game companies coming under fire due to mass layoffs. What remains clear is that now, more than ever, video game developers’ treatment is being looked at closely within the industry.