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Glassdoor review of BioWare reveals tense and poor development environment for Mass Effect Andromeda


Mass Effect Andromeda will release tomorrow and its gone through the grinder over the past week. Odd facial animations aside, day one reviews of the game paint it as a middling entry in the franchise. If you want more of Mass Effect you’ll be happy it would seem though no one should expect a reinvention of the franchise.

An employee review of BioWare Montreal and Edmonton was recently posted on Glassdoor and it gives some insight into Mass Effect Andromeda’s turbulent development cycle. A VFX Artist says that the two BioWare studios, Edmonton and Montreal, had poor communication and that “symbiosis is broken” between them and development suffered from a “bro culture.”

This unnamed person adds that BioWare Montreal lost 13 lead developers over the past five years and that management would often put employees on “performance improvement programs” as a way to fire employees in the Montreal studio who did not immediately “bend” to the desires of the people calling the shots in the Edmonton studio.

Apparently BioWare renamed Andromeda’s final months “finaling mode” instead of crunch and offered to pay for staff’s lunch but for only 30 minute breaks when employees were required to immediately resume work at their computers despite longer hours than usual.

This scathing review also states that BioWare’s Human Resources department would do nothing about employee complaints and that staff who asked questions about why development had to be certain ways were harassed and labelled as “trouble makers”.

It certainly does seem like Andromeda, which may vary well end up being a decent if a bit disappointing installment in a once proud franchise, went through some poor management by BioWare and EA. It is never good to hear about complaints like these and it wouldn’t surprise me if most of them, if not all of them, were true. So if you are wondering why the game has some rough edges and poor animations, it sounds like the employees being treated like shit may have played a role in it.

If the Glassdoor review should be taken down somehow you can read a summary of it in this thread on NeoGAF.