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BioWare has responded to a Kotaku piece detailing the working conditions behind their latest multiplayer game Anthem, contesting many of the claims made by anonymous employees throughout the piece. The Kotaku piece in question highlights a development process fraught with “indecision and mismanagement,” so much so that it caused a great deal of stress to many of the employees working on the project. In total, 19 anonymous employees stepped up to talk shop about what exactly went wrong at BioWare during the development of Anthem.
There has been a great deal of success at BioWare over the years, mainly through the Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises. However, some employees feel that the success of Dragon Age: Inquisition ruined the company in a way. Previous games may have had trouble in development, but they always came together in the end and ultimately did well in the market. Dragon Age: Inquistion was no different save for one key area: the development process wasn’t nearly as smooth as the company’s previous projects. Some employees secretly hoped that the game would fail in order to get BioWare to pump the brakes and ease up on the workload.
A seeming lack of direction led to a lot of developer burnout. This overall chaos made the seven-year process of developing Anthem unnecessarily difficult and stressful in the eyes of the anonymous employees who spoke to Kotaku. According to the report, people would regularly leave the company for one to three months in order to take medical leave due to stress, and some of them never came back.
Both Electronic Arts and BioWare declined to comment on Kotaku’s piece. However, the company released a short statement roughly around the same time that the Kotaku piece went live. Kotaku’s Jason Schreier took to Twitter to highlight the irony of their statement considering what was laid out in his piece.
BioWare wrote and published this about my story before they even had a chance to read it, which is perhaps itself testament to some of the problems that I highlighted this morning. Defensiveness, belief in BioWare magic… https://t.co/60UbfMHHHI pic.twitter.com/Dq3ZpyIpo5
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) April 2, 2019
Anthem’s development and launch seems to have been difficult for all parties involved. Given the new details, it’s entirely possible to read BioWare’s latest statement as a dismissive, non-committal response to some investigative journalism done on the state of their company. BioWare has stated that there is room to improve and that the company is committed to making things better for its employees. We hope they’ll take that statement to heart.