Glassdoor is a website where current and former employees anonymously review companies and their management. The service has become vital for applicants who wish to understand the culture of a company they want to work at. Well, it seems that an anonymous former BioWare employee revealed the dysfunction at the developer during the making of Mass Effect: Andromeda. The review was posted last year in July.
The former visual effects artist said the symbiosis between BioWare Edmonton and BioWare Montreal is broken. There are lots of conflicts and a troubling fraternity-like culture. It used to be a great environment filled with world-class talent but that has since gone downhill. This unhealthy environment is what led to problems with their latest game because many programmers left the company throughout the years.
The artist goes on to say that over the course of the past 5 years when BioWare was developing Mass Effect: Andromeda, they lost over 13 leads at BioWare Montreal. The leads were working on everything from engine optimization to art. Anyone who disagreed with the leadership style was let go. The atmosphere of collaboration ended which led to unfair labor practices.
The employee claims that BioWare put people on a performance improvement program which was basically an excuse to terminate them. Over 10 people at BioWare got slammed by this bureaucratic uppercut. The company also renamed the final development crunch to “Finaling Mode”. Lunch breaks were reduced to just 30 minutes and this intense schedule lasted for over 2 months. This caused a lot of dissatisfaction which created more conflicts. Many benefits were also cut due to the project taking so long to complete.
What’s most troubling about the review are the allegations of retaliation and harassment. If an employee questioned the leadership, they would be branded a troublemaker and end up in a vulnerable position. Human resources wouldn’t help and complaints would be ignored.
While the review could just be the ramblings of a disgruntled employee trying to hurt the game, it seems unlikely given the fact it was released all those months ago. The post correlates with events we know occurred at BioWare, especially when it comes to letting people go, as many of BioWare’s developers were looking for work elsewhere.
It’s been established that Mass Effect: Andromeda suffers from severe issues across all platforms—just look at any review. If there were problems like the ones described above at any company, it would definitely affect the quality of their products. If these issues are in fact true, here’s hoping BioWare addresses the problems with corporate culture and fixes Mass Effect: Andromeda for the millions of gamers who purchased it.