Our friends at BioWare are seeing some staffing changes, with a familiar face returning and another one leaving. Casey Hudson is returning to BioWare’s Edmonton office to lead the company, while General Manager Aaryn Flynn is stepping down.
Both Hudson and Flynn have long histories with the company, both having joined almost 20 years ago, having worked together on titles like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire, and the original Mass Effect trilogy. Hudson left in 2014, eventually joining the HoloLens team at Microsoft. Meanwhile, Flynn helped usher Dragon Age: Inquisition and Mass Effect: Andromeda into the world.
Hudson wrote on the BioWare blog that “the last few years have been transformative for me, from having time to reflect on what I most want to do, to working with new technologies at platform scale. And now, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to return to lead BioWare – a studio that I think of as home.”
This didn’t happen suddenly
Meanwhile, Flynn wrote that this change was, for him, a long time coming.
“I have been contemplating changes in my own life for some time, but when I heard that Casey had confirmed he was up for the task, I realized the opportunities before us. I will be working with him over the next couple of weeks to help catch him up and do my part to set him up for success to be the best GM he can be,” Flynn wrote.
The staffing change will likely be controversial among BioWare fans. The company’s image has suffered since the 2012 release of Mass Effect 3, with its infamously ill-received ending. Since then, Dragon Age: Inquisition saw mixed reception among fans, while Mass Effect: Andromeda was savaged by critics and fans alike. The company is seen by many fans as having fallen on hard times due primarily to the departure of founding staff members. Hudson directed the critically acclaimed Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, but also led development on Mass Effect 3. There will likely be theorizing that the change happened as a direct result of Mass Effect: Andromeda’s troubled development and poor reception, but whether or not that’s true will be tough to say for sure.
Hudson, with a deep knowledge of the studio and long history with it, seems like a good replacement for Flynn. Anthem showed well at E3 this year, and we’re hoping it can live up to the promise of that first gameplay reveal.