EA’s big RPG studio BioWare is cutting numerous jobs in what the studio is calling an “extremely difficult” but necessary move. In a blog post, BioWare GM Gary McKay said the studio “must shift towards a more agile and more focused studio” so developers can work more efficiently, and layoffs will help the company get there. Alongside this, EA is reportedly no longer working with a group of playtsters for Dragon Age: Dreadwolf that voted to unionize in 2022.
“As part of this transition, we are eliminating approximately 50 roles at BioWare. That is deeply painful and humbling to write. We are doing everything we can to ensure the process is handled with empathy, respect, and clear communication,” McKay said.
Affected staffers can apply for other positions within EA, but McKay said “it’s unlikely everyone will find a new role within the company.”
McKay went on to comment on how the job losses affect BioWare’s Dragon Age: Dreadwolf. McKay said the team’s dedication to the project has “never wavered.”
“Our commitment remains steadfast, and we all are working to make this game worthy of the Dragon Age name. We are confident that we’ll have the time needed to ensure Dreadwolf reaches its full potential,” he said.
BioWare is also developing a new Mass Effect game, and McKay said the project remains in pre-production.
Job cuts at EA are no surprise. In March, EA CEO Andrew Wilson said the company was planning to cut about 6% of its workforce–amounting to more than 750 people–and the BioWare job losses are part of this.
VentureBeat reported that EA has also parted ways with the playtesting company Keywords. In 2022, a team inside Keywords voted to unionize. EA’s existing contract with these playtesters at Keywords runs through September 27, according to the report. A source told VentureBeat that EA and Keywords continued to make new business deals together after the unionization vote in June 2022. The parting of ways now is due to the two companies not being able to come to terms on a new deal, the report said.
Prior to all of this, EA made other big moves within BioWare’s network. In June, EA removed BioWare as the developer of Star Wars: The Old Republic, shifting development duties over to a third-party company, Broadsword.