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

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
Shitty work conditions mean shitty employees mean shitty end results (and unethical exploitative treatment of workers). It is absolutely related to the final game's problems. You would have less problems if the work culture was healthier and if employees had better working conditions.
 
That video is pretty damning. They had everything we wanted right there! Its in the game! (no pun intended) What happened?

This whole game seems like some power mad leads were hell bent on doing things their way despite the team pleading them to stop.

What a colossal cock up of a game. Makes me not want to buy this on sale like planned. Im certainly not buying it full price.
 
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.
Though this review could be totally true, bear in mind, Glassdoor does NOT verify comments as coming from employees, past or present.
 

Crossing Eden

Hello, my name is Yves Guillemot, Vivendi S.A.'s Employee of the Month!
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
Never assume that leaked footage is of the current build at the studio. Or that it's representative of the state of everything in the game. Stuff like leaks can be bad as they lead to a lot of assumptions,

"Look at the facial animation in this leak, obviously EVERY scene must have been the same way and they downgraded everything!!!1!"

Seems to be the prevailing assumption despite having very little evidence to back that up.
 
Though this review could be totally true, bear in mind, Glassdoor does NOT verify comments as coming from employees, past or present.
Yeah, like with anonymous user reviews for anything the 1-stars could be from people who didn't even actually work there- or from actual former employees who were shitcanned for being shitty employees who just want to make shit up to smear the company. And of course conversely the 5-stars could also be fake as well.
 
"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."
What's weird about 30 minute lunch? That's normal. Or maybe I'm just sleepy and misunderstanding that.
 
A big question for me is why the higher ups would let such things happen? Especially considering EA's size, you'd think management would be to a tee at this point. And this is fucking Mass Effect we're talking about too.
 
EA heads have to solve this problem. When studios suffer under these issues - especially for a big and a great studio like Bioware - could end very bad for the company. I hope EA will fix this.
EA never solved anything, they're most likely one of the core problems.

Well, R.i.P. BioWare, was a fun time while it lasted.
 
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.
Its not the engines fault, is a problem of losing capable leads during development and problems and fixes were not resolved becuase of the continued leaves and bitching between the two studios.
Dragon Age Infinity released on the same engine and looks great for its time.
 

Holundrian

Unconfirmed Member
It is noteworthy though that the review was written in July 2016.
I feel like stuff like this needs to be broken more often if possible(it's probably super hard) but man if there's something game journalism should do is bring more attention to stuff like this no matter from where.
 
Shitty work conditions mean shitty employees mean shitty end results (and unethical exploitative treatment of workers). It is absolutely related to the final game's problems. You would have less problems if the work culture was healthier and if employees had better working conditions.
Of course.
That's among with other factors like politics, nepotism and other things that got mentioned in other reviews, that play a part in it and influence the game and the development cycle.

Those are big topics worth their own discussions, but I wouldn't exactly base this discussion on a single glassdoor review.
That's up for a good journalist like our beloved Jason Schreier, that can back things up and actually get proper sources.

As I said, I posted that review with a single intention (without the intention of an extra topic), to see the big change of leads on the game.
Obviously with a cautious tone as we can't say if it's true or not.
 
Bro culture is a real problem at an alarmingly large amount of game studios.

This is a bummer to hear but it doesn't surprise me at all. It sounds like Bioware has gone to shit since Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk left.

It blows my mind how the game looks as bad as it does when it's on arguably one of the most powerful engines in the industry right now. I thought Mirror's Edge Catalyst didn't look up to par with what the engine was capable of - ME:A takes that bar and drops it off a cliff.

I wonder if we'll see a Mass Effect 5.
 
BioWare has just straight-up grown too big.
Too many people in too many cities with too much ego with the incredible stress of corporate dollars looming over every decision made.
A lesson to be learned.

Take your time with Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt RED. The alternative is worse for everyone.
 
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."
Am I missing something or is this a big deal in the US/Canada? In the UK a tonne of companies give 30 min lunch breaks and the fact they pay you for it is pretty great. We personally take hour breaks but they're unpaid. Paid 30 mins seems pretty fair.
 

Crossing Eden

Hello, my name is Yves Guillemot, Vivendi S.A.'s Employee of the Month!
It is noteworthy though that the review was written in July 2016.
I feel like stories like this need to be broken more often if possible(it's probably super hard) but man if there's something game journalism should do is bring more attention to stuff like this no matter from where.
It's pretty outlined in this thread why Glassdoor reviews should be taken with a grain of salt in the same way that metacritic user reviews should be taken with a grain of salt.
 
None of that sounds surprising in the least. Game development really does seem like hell, especially when management is bad. It's a miracle games exist at all. Hopefully, things turn around at the studio or people can get out and find superior positions. Helps explain how Andromeda wound up the way it did even with such a large staff and so much development time.
 
dGlass doordoesn't verify shit and has never been a good measurement for anything in the software industry. In my experience, its usually a conduit for frustrated engineers to vent about their employer behind a veil of unverifiable anonymity.

It might sound plausible given the product but none of this is even remotely worthy of discussion. Plus those criticisms are things that I hear (rightfully so) about the industry as a whole so it's not really indicative of some sort of larger causative relationship. I've read similar criticisms of developers who've shipped GOTY candidates and commercial blockbusters.
 
A big question for me is why the higher ups would let such things happen? Especially considering EA's size, you'd think management would be to a tee at this point. And this is fucking Mass Effect we're talking about too.
It's not like it was sabotage. If they couldn't get everything implemented on time and on budget, there's nothing they could do.

The thing about game development is that it involves making a lot of assumptions and bets, and taking a lot of technical risks. Devs in different departments can be spending months developing features that they EXPECT will work, but some tools programmer could have been wrong in an assumption and make the whole thing fall apart. Then the decision becomes do we rebuild everything to fit reality, or do we attempt to fix the tools to accomodate the work that was already done? Then they could attempt to do it and fail, causing even more lost time and money, etc.

EA could never justify doubling a game's budget, for instance, just to POTENTIALLY fix it.

And with hundreds of people on payrolls, it's not like you can stop a train that already departed the station, take a step back, tell everyone to stay home for a while with no salary, and get started again once everything is figured out. That's why having very experienced people in management positions is very valuable, and why ambition can be costly if not kept under control in a healthy pre-production cycle. But even that doesn't guarantee smooth sailing in game dev.
 
I heard that Bioware Edmonton wasn't involved with ME:A until the project entered "panic mode". Deadlines came and went and when there wasn't an end in sight, they brought in Edmonton to help finish the project.
 
It's clear that it wasn't exactly smooth sailing with this one and I'm deeply sorry for anyone involved who had a shitty time at work - nobody wants that. From a selfish position - shame it was a new Mass Effect that came out of it.
 
B
  • "Many benifits got cut due to too much time extension to get the game done."
I reckon that assigning bonuses to projects completing within their time and budgets is common practice, no?

I wonder what kind of lunch they would serve that would take that long to digest, 30 minutes is enough for quark and a sandwich.
 
Am I missing something or is this a big deal in the US/Canada? In the UK a tonne of companies give 30 min lunch breaks and the fact they pay you for it is pretty great. We personally take hour breaks but they're unpaid. Paid 30 mins seems pretty fair.
Paid 30 mins sounds amazing to me. I get 30 minutes unpaid and that's pretty normal where I live, at least in my field (engineering). Workers get 20 minutes paid.
 

Holundrian

Unconfirmed Member
It's pretty outlined in this thread why Glassdoor reviews should be taken with a grain of salt in the same way that metacritic user reviews should be taken with a grain of salt.
?

That's why I'm saying stories like this should be broken more by journalists. We know they're happening but I still want reports on them from someone that has a trustworthy reputation. Someone like Schreier. The no matter from where refers more that the studio where shit like this happens doesn't matter.
I def think stuff like this is really important and I still remember the reporting that was done on team Bondi.

Edit: Oh ok after reading it again I think I know why the misunderstanding. I don't want journalist to report on this glassdoor review. I want journalist to speak to devs that might suffer from things that are described in the glassdoor review or similar(given that we kind of know these things are happening) and break stories on that in a capacity that give it more awareness but doesn't hurt the devs speaking out.
 
So we know Edmonton is working on EA Destiny 2k18 but will they also be making another Dragon Age?

If I remember correctly some big Dragon Age names left somewhat recently too. Is that IP in limbo?



Unless this game sells gangbusters I am not expecting a new Mass Effect for a long time if ever. And EA just Dead Space 3 it with 1 bad game nuking a franchise. Curious what will mean for the future of the Montreal studio.
 
Its not the engines fault, is a problem of losing capable leads during development and problems and fixes were not resolved becuase of the continued leaves and bitching between the two studios.
Dragon Age Infinity released on the same engine and looks great for its time.
I think you're making a leap in logic here. One game working well doesn't mean another will. Engines have to be retooled to accomodate any given game you're working on. I'm certain the dev team had ambition to push the envelope too, and the tech probably couldn't follow. As I said, I could be completely wrong and it could be something else, but this is what it LOOKS like to me. I'm sure the management aspect caused some issues too (leads clashing on the game's vision and asking for retooling mid-cycle, etc.)
 

K.Jack

Knowledge is power, guard it well
Wer're trusting Glassdoor now?

The negative stuff posted on there about Star Citizen got eviscerated on this forum.

I do see why people would want to believe it about Bioware, and not CIG though.
 
Could be they overshot the power of the consoles and went back and had to take systems out for it to run reasonably well. If that did happen I really wish they would have left things as is on PC instead of this parity bullshit.
 
So we know Edmonton is working on EA Destiny 2k18 but will they also be making another Dragon Age?

If I remember correctly some big Dragon Age names left somewhat recently too. Is that IP in limbo?



Unless this game sells gangbusters I am not expecting a new Mass Effect for a long time if ever. And EA just Dead Space 3 it with 1 bad game nuking a franchise. Curious what will mean for the future of the Montreal studio.
They haven't said publicly that they're working on Dragon Age but the rumor is that they are.
 
I had this feeling that Bioware Edmonton didn't want to see its baby go to a new studio and almost felt Jaded when Montreal took over and almost resented them for it.

Edmonton is Bioware.

Austin was just made for Star Wars.

Montreal is that spin off red headed step child.

Maybe I watch too much TV.
Or maybe Montreal tried to think it was as capable as Edmonton and then when issues piled up and Edmonton brought in they got resentful. Keep in mind Edmonton is the flagship studio. Montreal was new and unproven. One thing building an MP for ME3 and whatnot. Another to make a 50-100 hour game and an MP and a DLC and whatnot.

I blame EA for this. There is a reason the founders departed, how many studios have they caused issues for? Series they have run into the ground like Medal of Honor, Burnout, The Sims etc. They don't care about Mass Effect. They want to print money with Battlefront 2, and the 2 other Star Wara games being made by Respawn, Visceral etc.