BioWare Reviews

Updated April 6, 2015
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3.6
14 Reviews
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Andrew Wilson
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14 Employee Reviews

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  1. Great place to work as long as you can steer clear of the drama

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Designer in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Current Employee - Designer in Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    I have been working at BioWare full-time (more than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    -Lots of really great people
    -Moving between departments is relatively easy
    -Projects are pretty cool.

    Cons

    -Tons of politics and drama
    -Zero support for innovation unless it's a lead's pet project
    -Rotten core of senior leadership that does nothing to improve the situation
    -There is almost no room for advancement unless you're a friend of one of the 'old guard'.
    -Crunch - all of the crunch. Every project I've worked on has resulted in 80 - 100 hour weeks for at least 6 months.

    Advice to Management

    Bioware is long overdue for a 'changing of the guard' - people in senior positions refuse to fix the very serious personnel issues festering beneath the surface & it's driving talent away from the studio. Either bioware will clear house and move into the future or it will crumble - not sure which way it will go.

  2. Helpful (1)

    A caring, highly motivated place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    I have been working at BioWare full-time (more than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    This studio has some of the best talent I've ever had the pleasure of working with. A huge majority of the staff is sharp, passionate, but still family-friendly. There are a great deal of developers here with their own families, so the work/life balance is admirable. Very good pay and benefits.

    Cons

    I can still see some people, or even whole teams, that work a lot of hours during milestones. In some cases I think this is more due to lackluster anticipation of the actual needs to finish the product.

    Advice to Management

    Make sure everyone is giving absolute, honest estimates about work required. Projects are so huge these days, and the utmost care needs to be taken to make sure that all departments stay on the same page.

  3. Helpful (3)

    A surprising amount of dysfunction for an otherwise awesome company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    I worked at BioWare full-time (more than 3 years)

    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Reasonable pay, top notch benefits, free breakfast, unique perks (fitness allowance/transit pass program). Lots of fun, well intentioned staff events and food rewards. Plenty of genuinely good and friendly people.

    Cons

    So much awesome with weird pockets of dysfunction. Some groups almost feel external in how disconnected they are from the company culture and values. A lot of your usual politics, favouritism, and underlying tension from group to group. The vets will regale you with stories of BioWare past, but there are remaining signs of such a tight-knit group of like minded folks working on industry leading games. EA assimilation is well underway, and you're trained to dread it and resist it.

    Advice to Management

    It's probably time to let go of that empty promise of maintaining the integrity of the old BioWare ways and identity.. long time employees know what's what, and new employees just get a confused view of the big picture. Upper management needs to look beyond their direct reports and open their eyes to the massive disconnects that exist, and then care enough to address it.

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  5. Great Company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Character Artist in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Former Employee - Character Artist in Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    I worked at BioWare full-time (more than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great project. Great people. It is a very thoughtful workplace and they care about what you want for your career. It felt like working in a big family where your concern is shared by all the others.

    Cons

    The salary is not as good as other US company. The location for the main office is bad. I was there for years and I feel like I missed out so much in life because of the remoteness of the place.

    Advice to Management

    They should pay their artist a bit more and move the whole studio to Vancouver. I would definitely go back to Bioware if they ever did that.

  6. Helpful (7)

    Schizophrenic and arrogant, working here left scars

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    I worked at BioWare full-time (more than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Portions of the development teams do incredibly exciting things. Small portions of what made this company great still remain. If you get attached to one of these parts of the organization you will have an amazing experience.

    A reasonable amount of free beer.

    About the only option if you want to work somewhere exciting and live in Edmonton.

    Cons

    ...the rest of the company is a bloated ineffective organization plagued by immature behaviors and a lack of big picture thinking. Personal agendas run wild, with the kind of backstabbing you'd expect from an all girls high school. People who try to assess/address/improve the situation are singled out and persecuted, and their turnover is high - almost all of them moving on to better companies. My departure from the company was one of the most unprofessional and inhuman experiences I've had. I am shocked to see the gap between what they profess as values and how they conduct themselves in person.

    Advice to Management

    You profess humility. Perhaps learn what it means.

  7. Helpful (4)

    A great company in a mediocre city

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    I have been working at BioWare full-time (more than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Good work-life balance. A lot of employees are older, with kids; as a result, the focus is on sustainable work practices rather than a bunch of twenty-somethings competing to see who can work the most hours in a week. Although crunch does occur now and then, the company makes an effort to minimize it. Lots of friendly, intelligent coworkers. Generous time off allowance at Christmas. Free breakfast. Plenty of opportunities to work on high-profile, AAA projects. Good job security; although there have been selected layoffs, BioWare has largely been unaffected by sweeping cuts. The studio general manager, Aaryn Flynn is a genuinely nice guy who cares about his employees. Alberta has the lowest tax rate in all of Canada.

    Cons

    Edmonton is an ugly, boring city. The winters are cold, dark and long -- and as a result, BioWare has a tough time recruiting new talent. There is no significant "tech" presence in the city; if you get laid off, your only other option is to go work for the oilfield. Cost of living in Edmonton is high (although not as high as say, Vancouver.) Salaries are lower than what you could be making elsewhere.

    Advice to Management

    Be daring & confident -- blaze your own trail rather than constantly trying to follow in the footsteps of other successful games. Be accountable -- recognize and correct failures of leadership. Continue to hire aggressively from around the industry. Raise salaries to attract and retain top talent.

  8. Helpful (1)

    Comfy, Casual, Underwhelming

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Artist in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Former Employee - Artist in Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    I worked at BioWare full-time (more than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Stable work environment
    Good pay and benefits
    Friendly Management

    Cons

    Short sighted decision making
    "Old guard" preventing any new tech/ideas
    Antiquated quality goals, need to match industry bests
    No room to move up from within. Need to leave the studio and come back to get promoted.

    Advice to Management

    Promote from within and get some junior level new blood in.

  9. Helpful (1)

    Very fulfilling

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Production in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Current Employee - Production in Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    I have been working at BioWare full-time (more than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    People, quality focus, strong leadership team, career opportunities, great culture.

    Cons

    Project size can be overwhelming

  10. Helpful (7)

    Working at BioWare Edmonton is like being in the dance band on the Titanic

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Designer in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Former Employee - Designer in Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    I worked at BioWare full-time (more than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Very family oriented. Several husband and wife teams.
    Good salaries and ESPP.
    A lot of talented designers and writers.
    Really good benefits.
    Breakfast every morning.
    Free milk and juice to drink.
    EA has great marketing.
    Edmonton has hardly any traffic.

    Cons

    Nepotism is rampant.
    Huge team sizes.
    Seemingly closed to new ideas.
    Not much room to grow. Many employees are expected to specialize in a particular aspect of their discipline, and there are few opportunities for leadership.
    Art and Programming departments get their way more than they should because BioWare has trouble hiring programmers and artists.
    Many producers are completely clueless at how to manage a large team.
    The Dragon Age management team is misguided and they seem to be group-thinking their franchise off a cliff.
    Some managers tend to take undue credit for the hard work and brilliant ideas of their team members.
    Most people at Bioware Edmonton have never worked for other game companies, and many of them probably wouldn't cut it outside BioWare.
    High cost of living in Edmonton, despite the fact that hardly anyone really wants to live there.

    Advice to Management

    Rather than rewarding loyalty by promoting long-timers to positions where they become inept, bring in some fresh talent from outside BioWare to modernize how you develop games. The way BioWare Edmonton does business is very expensive and it is not changing to match the pace of the industry. Development costs for Triple-A games are increasing, but BioWare's profits are not keeping pace, and SWTOR was very disappointing in terms of sales. If things don't change soon, EA is likely to trim a lot of the fat from BioWare Edmonton to make the studio more sustainable.

  11. World class dev that really looks after its staff

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Artist in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Current Employee - Artist in Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    I have been working at BioWare full-time (less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Fantastic projects with great subject matter and strong direction. Great teams with a lot of experience and drive as well as a positive atmosphere to work in.

    Cons

    The location and building for the studio isn't the best. The city isn't the greatest place in the world either but its not that bad either.

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