BioWare's woes continue to mount with the news that Fernando Melo, who had been leading production on the company's forthcoming Dragon Age title, has announced his departure from the studio.
(1/4) Today was my last day at BioWare. After 12 years.. that's a heck of a lot of feels. :)— Fernando Melo (@DiscoBabaloo) August 17, 2019
Tonight I got to write my name up at our local pub, alongside many other amazing peers over the years, and it reminded me of a lot of folks no longer here that I miss dearly. pic.twitter.com/MFQELPM2jr
"To be clear, this is my own decision. I've been wanting to take some time to disconnect and explore a couple ideas for next chapter in my career," he tweeted.
The news comes only days after BioWare's Ben Irving, who was the lead producer on the poorly-received Anthem, shared news of his own exit.
(1/3) After 8 amazing years at BioWare I have made the decision to move on and have accepted an exciting opportunity at another gaming company. Since the first time I played Baldurs Gate many many years ago, BioWare was the dream place I always wanted to work.— Ben Irving (@BenIrvo) August 15, 2019
BioWare, the once-beloved studio behind masterful games including all three games in the Mass Effect trilogy and Dragon Age: Inquisition, appears to be in the midst of a major period of turmoil.
The studio's struggles seem to have begun during development of the ill-fated Mass Effect: Andromeda, a spinoff of the main trilogy riddled with production struggles that resulted in what many felt was a lackluster game.
After its release, BioWare eventually halted work on Mass Effect: Andromeda and its planned expansions in order to shift focus to Anthem, which it hoped would be revolutionary with its jetpack mechanics and its incredible visual imagery.
Unfortunately, that game also suffered criticism upon launch, though as of May, BioWare's Chad Robertson shared that the team would remain committed to improving the game.
We remain 100% committed to Anthem and look forward to showing players the new content we are working on. We want to make sure we aren’t overpromising, so our updates on what’s coming in the game will be focused when we have things near completion.— Chad Robertson (@crobertson_atx) May 3, 2019
The forthcoming Dragon Age sequel also appears to be suffering from development setbacks, not the least of which is the fact that it's now lost a person heading its production.
It's hard to know what all of this means for the future of BioWare. On one hand, a shakeup could be exactly what the company needs to facilitate a return to that "BioWare magic" that drove the studio's major hits.
However, these exits could also signal the downfall of the studio as a whole. It wouldn't be the first time parent company Electronic Arts shuttered one of its studios, as the same fate befell Maxis (SimCity), Pandemic (Star Wars Battlefront), Westwood Studios (Command & Conquer) and many others.
The fact that two integral team members left the studio within a week of each other implies that someone, somewhere down the line, may be losing sight of BioWare's mission. It remains to be seen whether these leadership departures leave the company ripe for a new beginning, or if they simply signify the beginning of the end.