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BioWare GM Admits the Studio’s “Problems are Real” Following Scathing Anthem Exposé

Apr 4, 2019
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Earlier this week, a detailed behind-the-scenes exposé on the development of Anthem hit the Internet, and it didn’t exactly cast BioWare in a flattering light. The report painted a vivid picture of a studio beset by inconsistent management and chronic indecision, leading to toxic levels of stress and burnout amongst rank-and-file employees. Only minutes after the report was published, BioWare issued a seemingly pre-written response, accusing Kotaku of trying to “tear down” their work. To many eyes, the response came off as defensive and dismissive.

Well, it seems BioWare general manager Casey Hudson sent out a more candid email to employees Wednesday evening, and, of course, it quickly ended up in Kotaku’s hands. In the letter, Hudson admits the problems facing BioWare are “real,” and vows to do better…

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“The [Kotaku] article mentions […] problems in the development of Anthem and some of our previous projects. And it draws a link between those issues and the quality of our workplace and the well-being of our staff. These problems are real and it’s our top priority to continue working to solve them.

What we found out-of-bounds was the naming of specific developers as targets for public criticism. It’s unfair and extremely traumatizing to single out people in this way, and we can’t accept that treatment towards any of our staff. That’s why we didn’t participate in the article and made a statement to that effect.

When I was offered the opportunity to return to BioWare as GM, I came into the role knowing the studio was experiencing significant challenges in team health, creative vision, and organizational focus. I was – and continue to be – excited to help drive improvements in those areas because I love this studio, and above all I want to create a place where all of you are happy and successful. I’m not going to tell you I’ve done a good job at that, and on a day like today I certainly feel like I haven’t…”

Hudson goes on to state some of the ways BioWare management is trying to tackle the issues, including revamping the studio’s leadership structure. You can read the full letter here.

Based on this most recent report, longstanding rumors, and the studio’s last couple games, it seems like BioWare is suffering from the kind of malaise a few management tweaks won’t fix. Here’s hoping BioWare is willing to yank the Band-Aid and make some big changes (and EA gives them the leeway to do so).

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