"BioWare Magic" is a term used in the video game industry to refer to the EA subsidiary's penchant for creating iconic narrative-driven adventures. However, even the most hardcore of fans have to agree that the "magic" has long departed BioWare after back-to-back duds in 2017's Mass Effect: Andromeda and 2019's Anthem. Now, it appears that a former BioWare producer is not a huge fan whenever people use the term BioWare Magic.
Many consider the Dragon Age games as BioWare's finest works. The trio of narrative-driven RPGs featured branching storylines, consequences, and gameplay that helped tie everything together. It's one of the best examples of a game where BioWare Magic worked and everything clicked for the once-pristine studio. But, for former Dragon Age executive producer, Mark Darrah, the term is nothing but a farce.
Darrah used a hockey stick graph to describe what the term BioWare Magic means. The way that Darrah puts it, it's a process that starts off slow and steady. Then, at some point, management decides to ramp things up. Darrah blames this sudden uptick in forced productivity on the lead management, and says that forcing developers to work the studio's now-infamous BioWare Magic leads to unhealthy crunch conditions or delays if not both.
Darrah's video is also another evidence of the already-open industry secret about the prevalence of crunch.
It's no coincidence that Darrah name-dropped CD Projekt RED and Cyberpunk 2077. The much-maligned 2020 title effectively became the poster boy of the gaming industry's attempt to combat workplace crunch. Case in point, Sony and Microsoft delisted Cyberpunk 2077 from digital storefronts for more than half a year. Although Cyberpunk 2077 has started showing signs of recovery with a large update potentially coming soon, the harm has been done.
According to Darrah, who left BioWare in December 2020, BioWare Magic remains rooted deep into BioWare's culture. Perhaps, this would explain why BioWare has little to nothing to show for either Dragon Age 4 and the next Mass Effect game. Unfortunately, if this is the case and the studio is still going with its hockey stick process of developing games, then BioWare is primed to fail with its future endeavors.
Here's to hoping that this isn't the case and the growing number of employees and staff members willing to speak up against the still-prevalent crunch culture makes BioWare think twice.