Former BioWare Emloyee Review of company sheds distuburing light on MEA's development

#51
That comparison video is absolutely nuts. Did they fire people that did the better animations and just rush to make it passable in the last year? Man what a train wreck.
it's more likely that was some kind of showreel or demo so it probably had animations that were specifically for those rigs, which might have changed for the final build.

that ryder looks a lot better, though.
 
#53
Honestly, I'd take glassdoor with a grain of sand, it could be true, false or anywhere in between. Problem there is that there are other reviews from the same studio (in Montreal) which are glowing.

The game obviously had problems, but attributing it all to this one account is problematic.
I read through 4 reviews including this one and at least one confirmed this review, while the others read like they were written by people inside a clique. Not a good look.
 
#55
OP you forgot to mention the exploitative work practices, renaming of crunch, and the lack of HR doing anything (if this Glass Ceiling thing is true)
That's a different discussion though.
Plus the various rather positive reviews, I wouldn't exactly break it down to some things on the surface. Nobody of us was part of the development or can actually tell us about the practices there.

When I found that piece of information, I posted it for one reason only.
It shows that alot of important figures have left the development, the reasons aren't exactly our buisness, but it paints a pretty good picture and COULD be part of the puzzle why the title didn't live up to the expecations of the fanbase.

Thanks OP, for taking what I found btw :p
 
#56
Prioritising banging over good writing.
Like cliques in high school. A closed circle of associates who look after their own at the expense of others.
Gonna assume it's "you got my back I got yours"
"Boys club" sort of stuff
Probably they have prank wars in the workplace where everyone continuously screams 'just a prank bro' nonstop
Normal male behavior
In my experience, an office with bro culture means a lot of focus on bonding over drinking and a tendency to judge female employees by their appearance over other things.
thanks!

i didn't have a clue that video game dev offices would be like that.
always pictured a straight laced setting, i guess
 
#60
pretty typical glassdoor review

I stopped looking at them when I was looking for a new job, because they almost all paint depressing pictures of the company.

Then when I got my current job they encouraged everyone to go and post good things on glassdoor
 
#65
it's more likely that was some kind of showreel or demo so it probably had animations that were specifically for those rigs, which might have changed for the final build.

that ryder looks a lot better, though.
I don't think the 2016 version is out of the question compared to other modern games, especially considering how bad the final build version looks.
 
#68
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMCuJTqkPJI

Probably just a target render of how the scene was supposed to look like rather than actual gameplay
Code:
[IMG]http://i.imgur.com/GHeXpfO.png[/IMG]
Target render... from April 2016?

That doesn't sound right. The game should have been completely playable without blockers by that point.

---

There's another review from 2015:

-High level of politics and nepotism, especially among the senior leadership
-Crunch lasts between 6 months to over a year
-Difficult to advance unless you are good friends with senior leads
 
#69
ctrl + f "grain of salt"

Do not forget GAF, this is glassdoor. But yes, this could explain some of the oddness of ME:A.

edit: FOOT IN MOUTH
Honestly, I'd take glassdoor with a grain of sand, it could be true, false or anywhere in between. Problem there is that there are other reviews from the same studio (in Montreal) which are glowing.

The game obviously had problems, but attributing it all to this one account is problematic.
Damn you and your sand, tuxfool!
 
#72
Blaming this on internal conflict feels like blame shifting. Nothing about quality of MEA is surprising after DA2 and DA:I combined with new studio to farm well know IP approach of EA.
 

Crossing Eden

Hello, my name is Yves Guillemot, Vivendi S.A.'s Employee of the Month!
#74
Are you talking about the facial animation because everything else is exactly the same (animation wise)?
It's literally all the same exact animation data. It seems like they changed the way faces work. And unfortunately never got around to dealing with the problems that caused.
 
#76
I don't think the 2016 version is out of the question compared to other modern games, especially considering how bad the final build version looks.
oh no, i quite agree - but i was offering an explanation as to why it would look different now when they clearly had already done the work. if they changed rigs they probably had to re-do the facial animations.
 
#78
In addition, take a look at the below video comparing the leaked 2016 MEA footage to the current footage.

https://my.mixtape.moe/yugchn.mp4

Notice how the 2016 leaked version has dramatically better animations? Even the eyes are significantly more better and nuanced. What happened?!?!?!?!?!
this is insane.

Like, this is a showcase to demonstrate internally progress in the game I believe

yet none of that quality is really in the retail version
 
#80
I read through 4 reviews including this one and at least one confirmed this review, while the others read like they were written by people inside a clique. Not a good look.
The issue here is that I've read this kind of thing all over the place in glassdoor, and accounts written on there often have a highly subjective slant. It certainly isn't to discount what is being said, but neither the negative nor the positive reviews give a wholly accurate picture of what is going on in the studio.
 
#82
In conclusion, it seems MEA had an insanely troubled development due to issues between teams, politics, nepotism, leadership conflicts, and lack of care for the actual developers themselves who had no say.
Unfortunately, the two bolded are huge issues that permeate much of the industry. If a less than stellar co-worker is the best friend or some family memeber of your manager, keep your options open. No matter the difference in work ethic or results, you will get the boot before the friend or family member.
 
#87
I would never 100% trust negative Glassdoor reviews. A lot of the time they come from bitter employees who were fired or laid off (rightfully or wrongfully, I have no way of knowing) and embellish or exaggerate things because they're coming from a place of frustration. Not saying there isn't truth to the review, but don't take it as gospel.
 
#88
Come on now, can we all stop playing detective and let game journalists get to the bottom of it or at least someone better equipped than the average joe to get answers. An entire thread based on a Glassdoor ratings.
 
#89
It is clear that Edmonton has the bigger part of the stick when it comes to purge Leads and Producers who are not aligned with their leadership style."
What does this mean exactly? BW Edmonton is firing the Montreal folks? BW Edmonton prevents firing people in BW Edmonton?

???
 
#90
  • "Putting people on performance improvement program (PIP Program) is the new tactics to get rid of people. Once again more than 10 people in Montreal got slammed with this bureaucratic uppercut to let go people that are not bending to Edmonton leadership styles in the last revision cycle. This approach is used by the Montreal Leadership to purge the mess from the lack of vision cause by upper management in the last 4 years (throwing people under the bus to protect bad core management)"
  • "Renaming crunch to Finaling mode. Which means company pays for your lunch but you have only 30 minutes to eat and then getting back on the keyboard. Was lasting for over 2 months and was a real catastrophy."
  • "Retaliation and harassment is sadly a reality. If you talk and ask questions you will be tag as a trouble maker and end up in a bad position."
That is extremely disgusting, It can't be real.
 
#91
While it could explain some things, I've known people who left misleading Glassdoor reviews when I've known why they got fired. The fact that we have a thread about this at all kinda shows that people are looking for anything to criticize.
 
#92
Say this was true, regarding the animation quality reduction -- why?

I'm trying to understand this from a development perspective. Maybe they had to animate by hand for each scene and it was too much work so it was scraped for a less expressive (the current) animation system that just animates based off dialogue? That's the only excuse I can think of for it. (I know little about game development, just trying to make a logical justification for the changes).
 
#95
Unfortunately, the two bolded are huge issues that permeate much of the industry. If a less than stellar co-worker is the best friend or some family memeber of your manager, keep your options open. No matter the difference in work ethic or results, you will get the boot before the friend or family member.
Did you ever have experiences with that? You worked in the game industry before right? Or is that asking for personal info? I'm sorry if it is!
The triple A industry in general has a history with it, it's something that gamers rarely acknowledge as something that devs deal with.
I'll be honest, I didn't know anything about crunch time until I started visiting this site. Sounds absolutely terrible.
 
#96
"Bioware Edmonton and Montreal symbiosis is broken. Lots of conflicts and bro culture."
As soon as I read that tweet of them saying 3 teams worked on this "fantastic adventure" I knew the game was being made by 2 and were not going along well and a third had to enter the picture to try to salvage stuff as soon as EA started to force a release soon or we cut it here.

EA not showing absolutely nothing on various E3's was really telling.

Super sad about this, ive been in much smaller teams with conflicts of interests and they can make what it looks like what it could be a great game into a fucking mess.
And really sad about the devs working there that wanted to release a quality product but management fucked up with them.

Blaming this on internal conflict feels like blame shifting. Nothing about quality of MEA is surprising after DA2 and DA:I combined with new studio to farm well know IP approach of EA.
Dragon Age Inquisition can be a game you dont like, heck i dont like it either, but its doesnt fall in the more basic aspects of what makes a game professionally well made, something Andormeda clearly lacks. This is more than directors not being up to snuff and making just a normal game isntead of a masterpiece. This is clearly troubled development.
 
#98
Looks like engine issues. Game maybe couldn't run with all these bells and whistles, and they had to cut back because they ran out of time and budget to redo everything. The game really looks like it has a bunch of effects turned off. Female Ryder's face in some of the gifs going around looks like it has subsurface scattering turned off when it's meant to be on. I could very much be wrong about all of this as I'm no tech expert, but that's what this looks like to me.
 
Ehhhh. Glass door is an anonymous site.

While this could be true, threads like these based on one post and ignoring the other positive reviews of the place are disingenuous.

We need press sneak fuck on the case to actually confirm sources.