Following a damning report on BioWare’s company culture earlier this week, studio general manager Casey Hudson has written to all staff acknowledging the problems outlined in the article, promising that “it’s our top priority to continue working to solve them”.
According to the initial investigation by Kotaku’s Jason Schreier, many BioWare staff members suffered brutal crunch while working on Anthem and Mass Effect: Andromeda – a punishing schedule that reportedly lead to frequent ‘stress casualties’ at the studio.
BioWare quickly released an official response on its blog in which it accused the Kotaku piece of “attempting to bring [specific team members] down as individuals”. And while it briefly touched on the concerns outlined in the article, saying “We hear the criticisms that were raised by people”, it insisted that crunch “was not a major topic of feedback in our internal postmortems.”
However, following the less-than-stellar online response to BioWare’s initial public statement, studio general manager Casey Hudson opted to address concerns regarding company culture more candidly in an email to all staff – a copy of which was obtained and published by Kotaku.
“The article mentions many of the problems in the development of Anthem and some of our previous projects,” Hudson wrote, “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.”
Hudson noted that when he returned to the studio as general manager in 2017, he “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,” he continued, “But some of the steps we’ve taken towards this include a more focused studio mission and values, so that we have clarity on what we are here to do and how we define a high standard for our studio culture”.
“I know there’s much more to do”, Hudson concluded, “I’m committed to getting us to a place where we are delivering on the highest expectations for BioWare games, through a work environment that’s among the very best in the world.”