BioWare Reviews in Edmonton, AB

Updated July 19, 2014
Updated July 19, 2014
54 Reviews

3.4
54 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Andrew Wilson
1 Rating

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Excellent work environment, very open line of communication with superiors (in 7 reviews)

  • The tiny perks - free breakfast, ice cream, lax work environment (in 5 reviews)


Cons
  • Unfortunately the gaming industry sees a lot of change from time to time, due to natural restructuring post lauch (in 8 reviews)

  • This creates a very distinct caste system between the "have's" (the full time employees) and the "have not's" (the contract workers) (in 4 reviews)

More Highlights

12 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    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 for more than 3 years

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    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 for more than 5 years

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 5 people found this helpful  

    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 for more than 5 years

    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 ManagementAdvice

    You profess humility. Perhaps learn what it means.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    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 for more than 3 years

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    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 for more than 3 years

    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 ManagementAdvice

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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    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 for more than 5 years

    Pros

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

    Cons

    Project size can be overwhelming

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 7 people found this helpful  

    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 for more than a year

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    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 for less than a year

    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.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 3 people found this helpful  

    Not amazing, but pretty good.

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

    I have been working at BioWare full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Working at Bioware I have had the opportunity to work on some fantastic projects with some really amazing and passionate people. Most days I look forward to going into the office and sometimes I get so involved in my work that I end up staying late. There is a real sense that everyone want's to do the best they can to produce the best games possible.

    The feeling of shipping AAA games can be quite rewarding.

    Edmonton is actually a nice city with close proximity to Jasper National Park.

    Fairly good studio culture.

    Cons

    Mediocre pay / Poor employee evaluation program.

    People tend to get pigeon holed into doing one thing which really limits personal opportunities for growth.

    Studio is becoming increasingly political and corporate.

    The studio is in a really poor location of the city.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Advice tends to come from the top down.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    A great opportunity to work with a great bunch of really talented people

    • 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

    Pros

    Exciting projects, nice perks, good environment. Designers are the best I've work with, as is the QA department. Sys admin department is also really good - responsive, responsible and proactive.

    Cons

    Sometimes blatantly disregards time estimates for work - why ask for them in the first place if you're not going to schedule based on reality?

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Always reply to questions from employees, even if it's in the negative - don't just pretend the question was never asked.

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