Edmonton video game developer BioWare to eliminate 50 jobs

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Downtown Edmonton-based video game developer BioWare says it will lay off 50 employees.

In a statement posted to the company’s website on Wednesday, general manager Gary McKay said the move is about adapting to a rapidly evolving industry.

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As of 2019, the company had roughly 300 employees at its Edmonton headquarters.

“We are doing everything we can to ensure the process is handled with empathy, respect, and clear communication,” McKay stated. BioWare did not immediately respond to a Postmedia request Wednesday for details about when and how many employees in Edmonton might lose their jobs.

“In order to meet the needs of our upcoming projects, continue to hold ourselves to the highest standard of quality, and ensure BioWare can continue to thrive in an industry that’s rapidly evolving, we must shift towards a more agile and more focused studio. It will allow our developers to iterate quickly, unlock more creativity, and form a clear vision of what we’re building before development ramps up.

“As difficult as this is to say, rethinking our approach to development inevitably means reorganizing our team to match the studio’s changing needs.”

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McKay said the company, which was bought by industry titan Electronic Arts in 2008, is acting now in part so those affected will have as much time as possible to react and have opportunities to apply for openings at other divisions at Electronic Arts.

“Impacted employees will be provided with professional resources and assistance as they apply for these positions,” said McKay, who acknowledged it’s unlikely everyone will find a new job within the parent company.

Electronic Arts reported having about 12,900 employees at the end of 2022, but announced in March it would cut six per cent of its staff.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Postmedia Wednesday.

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The layoffs come as the studio works on new instalments of its flagship games. McKay said the next Mass Effect title continues to be in pre-production, while the studio remains committed to Dragon Age: Dreadwolf. McKay did not offer a release date for the long-awaited new Dragon Age game.

McKay said the cuts give the studio a healthy long-term prognosis.

“This vision balances the current needs of the studio — namely, ensuring Dragon Age: Dreadwolf is an outstanding game — with its future, including the success of the next Mass Effect.”

“For now, I want to thank everyone at BioWare — past and present — for making the studio what it is. I also want to thank our community for your continued support. We’re eager to reveal more about Dreadwolf, and we look forward to discovering what else the future holds.”

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