BioWare General Manager Gary McKay wrote an open letter to fans on January 6, 2022 discussing the state of the company, plans for upcoming BioWare games like the new Mass Effect and the new Dragon Age game – and that it’s a huge priority to rebuild their company reputation.
The former Head of Development Operations turned Interim GM in December 2020 until fully replacing Casey Hudson in June 2021. In his New Year’s letter, he reflected on his first year managing the massive game studio with locations in Canada and Texas.
One of the biggest challenges McKay faced in 2021 was helping BioWare’s 300-plus employees “think on our feet to adapt to changing circumstances,” such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the February snowstorm that caused extended power outages for their Austin location.
In response to these challenges, McKay stated that the company would “use what we’ve learned and apply it to a new work model that will ensure flexibility for everyone in the studio.” He stated that their new hybrid model of remote and in-office work would also allow BioWare to extend their hiring pool outside of Austin and Edmonton to the rest of North America.
McKay also stated how proud he was of BioWare’s work on Mass Effect Legendary Edition, which released in May 2021 to positive fan reception. He stated that this release was a reflection of BioWare’s core value of “striving for excellence and quality in every element of a game”— a value that was conspicuously absent during the development and release of 2019’s Anthem.
For 2022, McKay gave more information about the latest expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic due to launch February 15, titled Legacy of the Sith. Additionally, he encouraged fans to look closely at the promotional image posted on BioWare’s Twitter account teasing the next game set in the Mass Effect universe, stating that several “hidden treats” could be found that hint towards the future of the franchise.
He also briefly mentioned that the next game in the Dragon Age series is still being worked on by “a veteran group of talented developers” who are “focused on a single-player experience that is built on choices that matter.” However, he made no mention as to whether or not something awesome would happen when you press a button.
The General Manager closed the letter by stating that a “huge priority” for him in 2022 is to rebuild the company’s reputation, hoping that the upcoming BioWare games will receive the same positive reception as Mass Effect Legendary Edition. He reiterated his confidence that BioWare has “the right people, the right creative focus, and the support from EA” to achieve this goal, demonstrating almost as much blind optimism as I did when defending NFTs in video games.