BioWare Reviews | Glassdoor

BioWare Reviews

Updated December 24, 2016
78 reviews

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78 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great people to work with, good focus on work life balance (in 10 reviews)

  • Positive helpful work environment (in 13 reviews)

Cons
  • I agree with the reviews lamenting the contract vs full time split (in 6 reviews)

  • There is almost no room for advancement unless you're a friend of one of the 'old guard' (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Unique experience on a cool product"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate Technical Artist in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Associate Technical Artist in Austin, TX
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Work with people very passionate about what they do.
    Great perks, excellent benefits
    Challenging work environment

    Cons

    Unstable future, your job is one failure away from being removed.

    Advice to Management

    Be more open to flexibility and listen to your employees as they give feedback. Sometimes ideas are just bad.


  2. Helpful (5)

    "A stimulating company that focuses on quality of life over speed of production."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate Designer in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Associate Designer in Austin, TX
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Food, comfort, and happy people. BioWare is a comfortable place to work and a happy environment. You must find a healthy place in the corporate structure where creativity is allowed to thrive and corporate needs are sheltered by strong leads. There are some really creative people at BioWare, and it is an absolutely amazing environment to wet one's feet or season one's skills.

    Cons

    The large corporate mogul of EA opens doors but closes independent thought. Only on the micro-level may creativity thrive, for revolutionary ideas that can be iterated on rapidly in a small company setting turn into months-long trudge of certification, documentation, and stagnation. Long "assembly-line" like production pipelines turn great ideas into watered-down results, quashing the desire for creativity into production, as the outcome of both becomes identical.

    Advice to Management

    Decrease employee turnover to perfect their skills instead of firing and re-hiring temporary workers. Eliminate work-flow pipeline issues by seasoning your people and unifying your technology. It should not take 6 months for a new designer to learn the ropes, and another 6 to master them. That's 4 and 8 months too long, where employees are gratuitously unproductive in comparison to seasoned veterans. On top of that, the forced turnover rate eliminates many of the seasoned workers before they can share their wealth of accumulated knowledge, leading to a downward spiral of production that can only end in one way.


  3. Helpful (8)

    "Management needs to get their act together + EA = Not Good"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Relaxed atmosphere, got to work with some brilliant people

    Cons

    Really makes me sad to see what's happened to this company. Only worked there for a short time before the layoffs started, but long enough to see what the problems are. Marketing is driving the business into the ground, making initiatives that make no sense. It's as if they don't realize their audience is gamers, and that's a fail right there.

    Management simply doesn't listen to the brilliant folks there. I don't know how many times I walked from a meeting shaking my head in complete confusion as to why rational common sense ideas were thrown out in favor of what the marketing head thought was best.

    I don't believe all game companies are run like this, even BioWare's other branches. But when you have EA looming over your shoulder insisting to see immediate increases in subscriber numbers yet cutting funding in all departments, coupled with horrible management, all the while listening to the marketing department instead of your core audience... yeah. You can see where that's going.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to the very vocal, and very talented, people who AREN'T management. Take their ideas to heart and realize that not only are they your workers, but they also are your audience. Realize marketing has its place, but its place is NOT in making decisions that shape the company.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    "It is truly a learning experience"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at BioWare full-time

    Pros

    You can learn a lot about the game industry.

    Cons

    The game industry is based on people's extra income and as that shrinks, so does the studio.

    Advice to Management

    In order to be a designer you need to play the games you design.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Fun environment with interesting tech"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Lead Engineer in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Lead Engineer in Austin, TX
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    * Lots of room for learning new teach and solving problems
    * Smart people
    * Crunch periods are not that long

    Cons

    * Management communication leaves lots to be desired
    * Lots of "Tech Managers". Basically strong tech people with crappy management skills
    * Downsized recently, more work spread to few individuals

    Advice to Management

    Learn to communicate with employees better. Secrecy is a killer


  7. Helpful (8)

    "Led on by false promises of a full-time position"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - QA Analyst in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - QA Analyst in Austin, TX
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Free breakfast catering and ice cream stocked weekly. Generally lax work environment. Decent pay. Hours aren't as overburdening as most other QA positions. Immediate supervisors were good people who respected the team.

    Cons

    Employs a ridiculous amount of contractors with almost no capability for advancement into full-time positions as the company is too stingy to pay for benefits. Regardless, employees are promised a chance of getting full-time if they work hard enough, which is a blatant lie: even my friend who was one of the most important tech staff in the studio, who often outpaced his full-time coworkers, was not brought on after the end of his contract.

    Most of the full-time staff looks down on the contractors and sometimes even takes credit for their work. Senior management almost never communicates or even acknowledges contract staff. Very cloak-and-dagger about unannounced information, to the point of management outright threatening employees that they would intentionally ruin their career in the gaming industry if they said leaked a word of new content.

    Horrible software and often dysfunctional hardware supported. Benefits are barely worth mentioning.

    Advice to Management

    Stop cycling out contractors and leading them on, hire internally for full-time positions. Actually acknowledge your contract staff and realize how important more full-time staff are for long-term project quality.


  8. Helpful (8)

    "You only move ahead if you have a friendship or past working relationship with the "choice makers"."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    A lot going on day to day. A lot of work but mostly because the servers keep getting screwed up.

    Cons

    - Lack of management
    - Poor communication from team leads
    - Constant changes in development plans without warning
    - Management placed in some groups do not have the required skills to make their teams successful
    - No interaction with management unless you initiate it.
    - You must have a previous connection with someone on the inside in order to solidify your position.
    - A lot of egos and attitude from the creative higher-ups like they're God's gift to the company.

    Advice to Management

    - Learn the strengths of your employees
    - Talk to them and discover what drives their productivity
    - Be a mentor and develop them instead of making them "factory" workers.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Very challenging and satisfying."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Outsourcing Coordinator in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Outsourcing Coordinator in Austin, TX
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great work environment. Everyone is hardworking and excited about the product. There are a lot of team buiding events that make the weeks enjoyable.

    Cons

    The only down side is that it is a volatile industry. Gaming companies have to stay competitive, and thuse there is a lot of transitions that happen within the departments, and between companies in the gaming industry.

    Advice to Management

    Communication is a difficult aspect to manage in any company. Bioware has a lot of highly trained, technical people. These talented people dont necessarily communicate with eachother very well, however. My advice would be to cultivate leaders and managers that can pull these talented people together, and leverage their skills more effectively.


  10. Helpful (7)

    "Two-thirds of Bioware's current workforce is contract employees"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Free breakfast every morning. Free tacos on Fridays. A chance to work with some amazingly talented and creative people.

    Cons

    Over two-thirds of the employees are contract workers. This creates a very distinct caste system between the "have's" (the full time employees) and the "have not's" (the contract workers). There is an unspoken implication that if a contractor works hard enough that they will be offered a full time position, but often this isn't the case. Who gets hired and who doesn't is incredibly arbitrary. Also, there is an expectation that the employee will sacrifice their lives and the lives of their families to work whatever overtime hours the supervisors demand. One "crunch" period consisted of 12 straight days of work. 7 of those 12 were 12 HOUR days. The overtime was mandatory and contract employees were fired if they did not comply with these demands.

    Advice to Management

    Do not treat the contract employees as if they are juvenile delinquents in a boarding school. Be more sympathetic to work/life balance issues. You're making a GAME, not curing cancer.


  11. "Working With Some of the Best..."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    - Great opportunity to work with some of the top talent in the industry on incredible IP.
    - Studio has hugely experienced individuals at all three sites, in leadership and dev.
    - Fantastic culture; family oriented and friendly.

    Cons

    - Games are big and complex to make: can be a struggle for those new to the RPG genre.
    - Edmonton facility is outdated compared to Montreal and Austin.
    - BioWare's desire to retain their sense of self can be at odds with EA on occasion.

    Advice to Management

    - Stay the course: continue to invest in talented individuals.
    - Be aware of career growth for all staff.



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