Life at BioWare – July 2008

One of my purposes in creating this blog has been to write about my work. I have been doing very little of that in the last months, and there’s a simple reason for this: I’m working on an unannounced project, which means every little piece of information could be damaging in the long-term to the marketing of the game I’m working on.

It’s not to say I won’t ever talk in details about my work… I did so back in Shanghai, in the last year of Splinter Cell Double Agent, and the reception both from friends, readers and people at Ubisoft was very positive. This will come much later, though, for in the meantime, this is completely a black operation. I can only tell you what my project is not: it’s not Dragon Age, and it’s not the MMO.

That being said, I do want to tell you a bit about my work at BioWare.

I’ve been at BioWare in Edmonton for 5 months already, and it pretty much feels like home. Since my project is in its early stage, I have a fairly small team, which means I get to build it from the ground up with the team culture I want. People on my team are enthusiastic, hard workers, and extremely talented. Our project is ambitious and exciting and everyone believes in its potential.

BioWare itself is a fantastic organization. The purchase of BioWare by EA has affected some of the administrative practices of the studio, but we remain completely independent from a creative standpoint. So no, you won’t see Madden RPG 2009 come out of BioWare… Hehe. On the contrary, being part of EA’s extended family means we have access to incredible technical resources. There’s a world of technologies and resources out there to leverage. Good stuff.

When I first visited BioWare, I had a feeling that things were different here from other companies I had previously seen. The last five months pretty much confirmed this impression. It’s both a testament to the vision of its CEOs, Ray and Greg, but also probably due in part to Western Canada’s open and honest culture; but BioWare is a company filled with humble yet ambitious people who try and work things out together. My work environment has been pretty much drama-free since I got here.

That’s not to say the studio doesn’t have some issues… What matters most is the way people decide to address them, with humility and a genuine drive to produce great games. I don’t have a lot of bad things to say about BioWare, to be frank; part of it might be that I’m still in the “honeymoon period”. Maybe. But as far as first impressions go, this work environment makes me feel I made the right decision to move to Edmonton. We’ll see how I feel about it in a year!

About Daniel Roy

Daniel is a writer, backpack foodie, slow traveler, and endurance runner. He is the author of the upcoming book, "The Way of Slow Travel: A Hands-On Guide to the Best Travel of Your Life."

2 comments

  1. I know you’re joking, but Madden RPG 2009 is actually a fantastic idea, and I’m 100% serious on this. I always believed the average jock, dad and/or general ’couch’ sports fan (your typical ’Madden’ crowd) wants to roleplay just as much as the geeky lvl.70 dungeon master, they just don’t want to do it as a tiny pixelated wizard. Really, is there that much of a difference between level grinding and a 80 games hockey season ?

    Whether we need Bioware for this or not is another matter, but the future of the sports genre lies very much into stronger role-playing features.

  2. Hehe. I said that totally as a joke, but you’re on to something. I think the genre of RPGs is traditionally inseparable from some core gameplay mechanics which are very interesting in their own right… A good example is GTA: San Andreas integrating some light RPG character customization. I don’t see why that would not be of interest to sports games fans as well.

    Now that I think about it, I would guess that most “sports managers”-like aspects of modern sports games could be considered RPG elements already…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

CommentLuv badge