BioWare issued a public statement around the time Kotaku’s story on turbulent work conditions during the development of its latest release Anthem went live earlier this week, and BioWare general manager Casey Hudson has now sent out a lengthier email to BioWare staff addressing those same concerns.
The email was obtained and reprinted in full by Kotaku. In it, Hudson tells BioWare staff that problems addressed in the original Kotaku story “are real and it’s our top priority to continue working to solve them.”
While the intent of the email likely wasn’t to be shared publicly, the full text offers developers keeping up with the story additional background on BioWare’s planned responses toward the grievances brought up in the Kotaku story and where Hudson believes leadership could stand to improve.
“I was - and continue to be - excited to help drive improvements in those areas because I love this studio, and above all I want to create a place where all of you are happy and successful," says Hudson. "I’m not going to tell you I’ve done a good job at that, and on a day like today I certainly feel like I haven’t.”
The original Kotaku story sought to document the rocky and lengthy development of BioWare’s most recent release and shared anonymous complaints from former and current team members about everything from crunch and burnout to leadership issues, lack of development resources, and general problems experienced during their time with the project.
BioWare’s original statement didn’t say much on the matter and, while it noted that the company “[accepts] all criticisms that will come our way for the games we make,” held to the belief that stories like the one published by Kotaku seek to “[tear] down one another, or one another’s work" rather than shine a light on problems prevalent in the game industry.
Hudson addresses those same feelings in his email to staff, saying that, as with the public statement, BioWare took issue with the fact that complaints named “specific developers as targets for public criticism. It’s unfair and extremely traumatizing to single out people in this way, and we can’t accept that treatment towards any of our staff.”
Following that, Hudson walks through some of the steps he believes the studio has already taken to address original concerns (“a more focused studio mission and values, so that we have clarity on what we are here to do and how we define a high standard for our studio culture”), and talks briefly about some of the production-level and overall studio structure changes in the works “that will further relieve pressure and anxiety on teams during development.”
“But I know there’s much more to do, and we will talk in more detail about other actions we have been planning in response to internal feedback and postmortems at next week’s All-Hands,” reads the email.