BioWare Reviews | Glassdoor

BioWare Reviews

Updated October 16, 2018
92 reviews

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3.8
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Andrew Wilson
18 Ratings

92 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Great people to work with, good focus on work life balance" (in 15 reviews)

  • "Great people, great live work balance" (in 8 reviews)

Cons
  • "There is little to no help with career progression short of the occasional suggestion of an opening in the same studio" (in 3 reviews)

  • "Constant change in upper management means a constant change in the studio direction" (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "BioWare Lifer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at BioWare full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    BioWare has always had leadership that cares about its people. From the founders, Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, to the current GM Aaryn Flynn. The company is focused on creating some of the best games in the world and it shows in its track record of games, including the recent Dragon Age: Inquisition (GOTY).

    BioWare's culture is defined by the statement "Quality in the Product and Quality in the Workplace". It is difficult to balance the needs of a project with the needs of the employees, but BioWare has done a good job of it over the years.

    Cons

    BioWare is a company that values open communication/critique. This can lead to stress as everyone's work is held to a high standard. If you enjoy a high performance culture, this might be a positive :-)


  2. "One of the over-all, best places I've worked."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at BioWare full-time

    Pros

    The people, for the most part are collaborative, smart, creative.
    The studio is awesome.
    The benefits are great.

    Cons

    Transparency seems to be an issue.
    Meeting or private space (open floor plan) can sometimes be an issue.

  3. Helpful (3)

    "Time to Think Twice?"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at BioWare full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    * Passionate, smart developers who truly care about the products they're making. This sounds trite, but it's true.
    * EA really isn't as bad as many people think.
    * The studio is attempting to be really innovative with its current and next planned projects. This is a always a double-edged sword. Let's hope it works out for our fans' sake.
    * Salaries and benefits are decent. Some specializations could certainly make more money by moving outside the games industry, but overall you probably won't feel like you're being cheated.

    Cons

    * Front-line management is often unfairly expected to do the jobs of two people. They must simultaneously act as advanced individual contributors and as people managers. This leads to frequent burnout by the company's brightest.
    * Double standards. Upper management does not practice what they preach. Cronyism. This is clearly evident during promotion and bonus time.
    * Several teams have recently been centralized, and are now managed out of EA's HQ in Redwood Shores. This experiment has been a disaster. Remote management of employees can work, but EA is going about it completely wrong, and is causing serious damage to the studios they should instead be supporting.
    * Good news is shared. Bad news is hidden. It does not take a genius to figure out what the real state of things is at any given time.
    * Hand fulls of employees are frequently still in the office working at 3am. This is worn as a badge of honor, and absolutely should not be.
    * There is still too much Us vs. Them between BioWare's Edmonton and Austin studios. This has been going on for years.
    * To put it bluntly, open office plans suck. The official story is that it is done to foster collaboration. The obvious truth is that it is a cheaper setup, and allows companies to cram more employees into the available space. BioWare's open office plan is easily among the worst in which I've ever worked.

    Advice to Management

    It will not be simple, but the cons mentioned above really do need to be addressed by the people with the authority to do so. Team health and studio morale is dangerously low these days.


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Why Bioware is falling apart"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at BioWare full-time

    Pros

    Was previously a great company but the culture changed.

    Cons

    This culture change wasn't for the better either. It reshaped the company and a lot of infighting happened because of this.

    Advice to Management

    Work on getting the company together.


  5. Helpful (8)

    "A studio barely clinging to life"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at BioWare full-time

    Pros

    - Opportunities to work on famous and popular AAA franchises
    - EA's pay and benefits are tops in the industry
    - Good facilities with lots of perks
    - Inclusive workplace that values and promotes diversity
    - There's a sincere effort to ensure work-life balance, but that's the first thing to disappear when a project catches fire

    Cons

    - Studio leadership is untrustworthy, unaccountable and obsessed with politics
    - Bad creative and business decisions are allowed to survive for years and destroy the projects that get stuck with them
    - Sub-studios are the public scapegoats for the Edmonton mothership's failures
    - Constant high turnover at all levels, with many replacement hires being temp workers who don't receive any benefits
    - After years of high-profile failures, fans and EA have lost faith in BioWare and left its future in doubt

    Advice to Management

    - Reconnect with what made past BioWare games great and let it be the focus of future projects
    - Clean house in the upper management's ranks to bring in fresh blood that won't be distracted trying to settle old grudges
    - Give employees a good reason to stay besides the paycheck


  6. Helpful (3)

    "BioWare Austin could be great..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    It's BioWare! We make amazing games that you and others will actually want to play.

    "One BioWare" collaboration between Edmonton, Austin, and Montreal is good stuff.

    HR is surprisingly awesome.

    Cons

    Beware the Marketing department. Yeesh, incompetence personified.

    Advice to Management

    Practice what you preach, RE: accountability.

    Salaries, bonuses, and promotions are not in line with industry standards if you're interested in attracting and retaining top talent.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Was good until it wasn't"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Austin, TX

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

    Pros

    Great people to work with, good focus on work life balance. Very progressive in terms of people - very inclusive and goes out of their way to make sure that people feel taken care of. Felt like the top of the management tried to take care of all of the employees as a group.

    Cons

    Project-level leadership can act petty at times. Management shies from confrontation, which can result in employees feeling blindsided by things. When I was let go, I felt like I didn't really have a good metric of what it was that caused me to be let go - one manager was totally fine with me and gave me good reviews, while his replacement did not.

    Advice to Management

    Be more honest and straightforward with what you expect from your employees. If there is a problem with performance, try to set more measurable/quantifiable goals.

  8. "Designer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Designer in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Designer in Austin, TX

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

    Pros

    A lot of talented people, a relaxed work environment, frequent meals provided, excellent benefits and options for ESPP and 401k, very little crunch, great work/life balance.

    Cons

    difficult career progression, low salary


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Decent perks, no windows"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Senior Visual Designer in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Senior Visual Designer in Austin, TX
    Recommends

    I worked at BioWare (More than a year)

    Pros

    There were lots of fun events and milestone celebrations and such. The company definitely spent money on making the employees feel comfortable.

    Cons

    One entire side of the building has zero windows, and to me that got tiring after a while. I don't care how awesome the work is, if I feel like a nocturnal creature for 8 hrs a day that's not good.


  10. Helpful (5)

    "There are worse places to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at BioWare full-time

    Pros

    The company values work/life balance.
    Management genuinely seems to care about bringing employees into the fold in terms of decision making.

    Cons

    Constant change in upper management means a constant change in the studio direction.
    Not the best environment in the world to foster creativity.

    Advice to Management

    In my 6 years there, we had 6 different studio heads who all wanted to do 6 radically different things. Maybe just keep one guy around for more than a year.


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