Approximately 50 employees have been laid off at BioWare today.
In a developer blog, general manager Gary McKay said the cuts were part of a shift towards “a more agile and more focused studio.”It’s not clear if the layoffs were at a particular studio or divided up among its Montreal and Austin, TX offices.
McKay claimed the reorganization came about from a “long-term vision”built by the studio to ensure its health going forward. He affirmed that the choice relates to the studio’s upcoming single-player projects,Dragon Age:Dreadwolfand the next Mass Effect title.
Earlier in the summer, it was revealed that BioWare Austin wouldpass development of Star Wars: The Old Republic over to third-party developer Broadsword. With the MMO in the hands of another studio, the expectation is that BioWare would return to Dragon Age and Mass Effect, its two single-player franchises.
He further stated that those laid off would be provided “as many internal opportunities as possible,” meaning some of them may get transferred to other EA subsidiaries.
Outside ofThe Old Republic,BioWare has been at work onDreadwolffor a number of years. Following the cancellation of the studio’s planned reboot for its 2019 shooterAnthem,the decision was made to re-orientDreadwolfinto a full single-player experience.
Meanwhile, Mass Effect’s fifth entry was announced a number of years back, and is said to have its pre-production headed up by longtime series veteran Mike Gamble.
Update:According to VentureBeat, BioWare has also parted ways with Keywords, a developer that provides (among other things) playtesting services for developers. Last year, Keywords contractors that were working with BioWare successfully unionized following a unanimous vote from staff.
Per the outlet, EA was unable to create a new contract with Keywords, meaning the partnership between it and BioWare will conclude on September 27. VentureBeat alleges that Keywords’ contract requirements couldn’t be met by EA and BioWare’s new development approach.