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BioWare executives Casey Hudson and Mark Darrah are leaving the studio, according to blog posts from Hudson and Darrah as well as from publisher Electronic Arts. The companies were quick to reassure fans that these departures will not disrupt the announced plans for upcoming BioWare projects. These include the recently announced Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, Dragon Age 4, and the rebooted Anthem Next.
Hudson was general manager at BioWare, and Darrah was executive producer on Dragon Age. But EA isn’t leaving a vacuum in those positions for long, according to a company blog post:
The search for a new GM is underway, and we are already talking to some great people. We will find the right leader who has a deep love and respect for this studio’s heritage, who embodies the values of this team, and who will help carry on the incredible legacy of BioWare.
But the studio is also shaking up its leadership. Christian Dailey, who was part of the Anthem Next team, is taking over Dragon Age. Matthew Goldman remains creative director on Dragon Age.
These moves push BioWare Austin into a leadership position for the developer’s biggest upcoming game releases. While BioWare Edmonton has traditionally operated as the star team, that reputation has shifted after a couple of troubled releases. Mass Effect: Andromeda and Anthem both launched to cool receptions from fans and critics. And when EA made the decision to try to revive Anthem as Anthem Next, the job went to BioWare Austin. Dailey taking over Dragon Age 4 shows that EA has confidence in the work BioWare Austin is doing.
Hudson and Darrah reassure fans that BioWare is in good hands
In twin blog posts, Hudson and Darrah individually detailed their departures. They both said that now is a good time for a change. They also went to lengths to characterize BioWare as poised for great things in the future.
“Dragon Age will be in good hands,” writes Darrah. “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.”
As for their future, Darrah didn’t talk about his plans. He called his move a “retirement,” but he does say that he’s “excited to find out” what’s next for him. Hudson said something similar.
“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 reimagine how we think about work and life,” writes Hudson. “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.”
Hudson also thanked “the doctors” — Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka — who cofounded BioWare. The doctors left BioWare in 2012. At that time, Hudson and Darrah were among the few who stepped in to keep the company going. So this has happened before, but now it is Hudson and Darrah who are making an exit.
BioWare is launching Mass Effect: Legendary Edition in spring 2021. Anthem Next will debut at some point after that. Dragon Age 4 is likely not coming for a couple of years.
Correction at 3:45 p.m. on December 3: This article originally said that Matthew Goldman was shifting to Anthem Next. That was a mistake. He was and remains creative director on Dragon Age.
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