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In a blog post today, EA’s BioWare division announced that Gary McKay would drop the “interim” from his general manager title and become a permanent part of the company. As part of his duties, EA said McKay will lead the BioWare Edmonton and Austin studios.
The move is important in a couple of ways for EA. BioWare has lost some of its key leaders in recent years, so McKay’s transition from interim to permanent is a sign of some stability. McKay takes over for Casey Hudson, who left along with Dragon Age executive producer Mark Darrah in December.
Its game development has been a bit volatile as well. Earlier this year, it ditched Anthem Next, which was a project to revive the failed online looter-shooter Destiny. It’s now focusing on its key franchises: Dragon Age and Mass Effect.
McKay joined BioWare in January 2020 as its head of development operations. He’s spent more than 20 years in the game industry, starting back in 1998 at EA.
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This is an important year for BioWare. Dragon Age is one of its two homegrown franchises. The other is Mass Effect, which released the remasters of the original trilogy as its Legendary Edition on May 14.
This year is also the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Old Republic, which comes from the BioWare Austin studio. This is an MMORPG that first launched in the old Star Wars Expanded Universe, before Disney bought Lucasfilm and consigned many of the old stories and games to what it calls Legends (aka “all the unwieldly canon that we don’t want to deal with anymore”).
The Old Republic launched in 2011 and quickly had over a million subscribers. But those dropped off quickly, and BioWare moved fast to refresh the MMORPG as a free-to-play game.
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