BioWare get new boss after EA shake-up, Maxis and Frostbite consolidated

Mass Effect

"An Organizational Update" doesn't really compare with "Half-Life 3 confirmed" as a story, but buried in the changes recently announced by EA CEO Andrew Wilson are some interesting details. In a post on EA’s news blog packed with dynamic corporate newspeak, Wilson’s headline announcement is the formation of EA Worldwide Studios, which “will bring together [EA’s] top creative talent”. 

Check out our objective comparison of mega-publishers EA and Ubisoft in: who is the least worst publisher of PC games?

As part of this centralisation, famed RPG studio BioWare, makers of Dragon Age and Mass Effect, get a new boss in Samantha Ryan. Ryan retains her former job as leader of EA Mobile and Sims developer Maxis, which are moved to join Worldwide Studios under the leadership of Patrick Söderlund, EA’s executive vice president. Finally, the Frostbite engine team are moved to join EA’s central technology group under the leadership of Ken Moss. 

Through the haze of buzzwords that surround EA Worldwide, you can make out the phrase "the tenets of making great HD and mobile experiences are converging". EA studios, and Maxis in particular, have a history in cross-breeding traditional games with different platforms, monetisation models and so on. We're speculating, but perhaps this new studio is a response to Pokémon Go, and will have a mandate to experiment further with this sort of thing.

As for BioWare's new boss, Sam Ryan joined EA in 2015, before which she managed Warner Bros’ relationship with Rocksteady, WB Games Montreal and NetherRealm. She is an experienced game director and producer who has worked on the Batman: Arkham games, as well as Mortal Kombat, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Injustice: Gods Among Us.

Wilson's announcement isn't specific about Ryan's duties, or even her job title, saying simply she "will take on leadership of BioWare". Given this CV, however, it's fair to assume she'll lead production or directorial duties as the final touches are made to Mass Effect: Andromeda. 

The impact of moving Frostbite is less clear. According to Wilson, it's something to do with answering players' expectations of "innovative, stable and secure experiences" through "the strong combination of our Frostbite engine and our digital platform". So. That's good.

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QDP2 avatarLolssi avatarScionyde avatarTsunamiWombat avatar
QDP2 Avatar
678
8 Months ago

Mortal Kombat; Injustice: Gods Among Us; Batman: Arkham games.

None of them sound like strong endorsements to me. Latest Batman being plagued with PC bugs, Mortal Kombat X having PC support and updates dropped earlier than consoles.

Maybe these were all down to the developers and not EA's management, but I have high hopes for ME:A. I don't know what I'd do if the game turns up as a console port, pulling the same trick as Dragon Age Inquisition.

1
Lolssi Avatar
286
8 Months ago

EA mobile... there goes the planet of the apes!

1
Scionyde Avatar
27
8 Months ago

Who was the previous boss of Bioware, and what happened to that person?

1
TsunamiWombat Avatar
581
8 Months ago

Bioware was founded by Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk in 1995, they retired in 2012 after Inquisition was announced. This, incidentally, was when the last of the original members of Bioware left.

Matthew Bromberg was promoted from head of Bioware Austin to head of Bioware in-general a year later in Sept. 2013, a position he held until now. I do not know where he stands in EA-Bioware currently.

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