As a huge fan of the company’s work, Bioware is a studio that is constantly making me feel some type of way about the state of things when there’s a questionable announcement or troubling report about the way its games are going. Keeping that in mind, today the studio’s general manager Casey Hudson, and Dragon Age executive producer Mark Darrah are both leaving the company. But uh, everything’s fine. I’m sure.
According to a statement from Electronic Arts Chief Studios Officer Laura Miele posted on the Bioware Blog, Samantha Ryan will be overseeing the studio in Hudson’s stead until an official replacement is decided upon, and Blizzard alum Christian Dailey will be taking Darrah’s leadership spot on the game that will be Dragon Age 4.
“When I think about BioWare’s future and the next generation of talent in place, I could not be more confident or optimistic,” Miele said. “As we look to the studio’s future and the projects currently under development, the next generation of BioWare talent is leading the studio forward and working on some incredible games that I know you will be excited to experience in the coming years.”
Both Hudson and Darrah released their own statements, also on the Bioware Blog. Hudson said he hasn’t settled on a new gig, but said that his decision to leave the studio after 20 years was fueled by a desire to be in a more creative role.
“Arriving at this point has been an opportunity for me to reflect on my own future, and 2020 has been a year that forced all of us to re-imagine how we think about work and life,” Hudson said. “For me, it’s been the realization that I still have tremendous energy to create, but also that I need to try something different. I’m not sure exactly what that is yet, but I know that I want to start by rediscovering my creative passion through more personal work.”
Darrah signed off by vouching for Dailey taking over his role on the upcoming Dragon Age, as well as the team who’s still on board for what comes next in the fantasy franchise.
“Dragon Age will be in good hands. Christian Dailey will be moving into the Executive Producer role. Christian Dailey is a strong leader and will provide great insight into the rest of the Dragon Age leadership who remain. This is a team that includes people with decades of experience at BioWare. I am confident that, together, this is the team that can make this Dragon Age the best one yet.”
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This was Hudson’s second time leaving Bioware, having originally departed in 2014 and going on to work with Microsoft. He returned in 2017 to work as the studio’s general manager, although now that I’m thinking about it, the only game that launched during his time at the position was Anthem. Wild. He was most notably the director of the Mass Effect trilogy, which is being remastered for modern consoles as Mass Effect: Legendary Edition next spring. Meanwhile, Darrah has been executive producer of each of the Dragon Age games, as well as Anthem.
Ultimately, these statements are all very rosey and optimistic about the future, and, in all honesty, things might be fine. But there have been reports over the years of internal strife at Bioware, and because the industry just a very secretive place to begin with, we might not know for a long time if there was any internal drama that led to two high profile individuals of the studio leaving at the same time.
Whatever the case is, we’ll get a sense of what the studio’s vision of the future looks like when it starts showing new games again. Among Bioware’s current projects are a rework of Anthem, Dragon Age 4, and something in the Mass Effect universe that might be set in the Andromeda galaxy following 2017’s Mass Effect: Andromeda.