Earlier this week, we covered a generic response BioWare issued resulting from a scathing expose written by Kotaku. The report detailed Hellish conditions for the developers, which cites those working standards as the reason behind Anthem's incredibly rocky launch. Now BioWare's own Casey Hudson is addressing the article internally with a lengthy email addressing the eyes on the company.
The tone of Casey Hudson's email is very different than that of the original blanket statement from the studio. Instead of glossing over the details, Hudson opened up about the "very real" issue concerning the well-being of the staff as he promises that these issues are his top priority going forward.
“I wanted to get a note out to you to share my thoughts on the Kotaku article and the online discussion it has raised,” began the email. “The article mentions many of the problems in the development of Anthem and some of our previous projects. And it draws a link between those issues and the quality of our workplace and the well-being of our staff. These problems are real and it’s our top priority to continue working to solve them.”
He also opened up on why they participate in the article at first, "What we found out-of-bounds was the naming of 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. That's why we did not participate in the article and made a statement to that effect."
Hudson added, "When I was offered the opportunity to return to BioWare as GM, I came into the role knowing the studio was experiencing significant challenges in team health, creative vision, and organizational focus. 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.
"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. But some of the steps we've taken towards this include 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. We updated our studio structure around a matrix so that department directors can be fully focused on individual career support and well-being. We are defining better role clarity so that people can succeed better against clear expectations. And we are putting in place production changes that will provide for clearer project vision as well as a significant post-production period that will further relieve pressure and anxiety on teams during development."
The BioWare boss acknowledged that there's a lot that needs to be done to address the expose, and not from a place of damage control - but a place of supporting the team that continues to work hard despite the growing pressure. He mentioned in the email that an all-hands call is going out as the team works towards rooting out the areas of concern with the goal of making the environment a safe and healthy place for all of those involved.
He concluded his email by saying, "As always please continue to provide feedback on further steps we can take to make BioWare the best possible place to work. I'm committed to getting us to a place where we are delivering on the highest expectations for BioWare games, through a work environment that's among the very best in the world. With your help, we will get there."