BioWare‘s General Manager position is changing hands, with Casey Hudson returning to the company to take up the mantle as it approaches Anthem‘s 2018 launch. Hudson has spent the last two years working with Microsoft Studios as its Creative Director, specifically working on HoloLens “experiences,” though his departure was never publicized. The move into the General Manager position will be a shift for Hudson, who was a Project Lead for many of BioWare Edmonton’s largest games prior to his departure.
In a letter to BioWare’s community announcing his return, Casey Hudson describes his feelings leaving the company and what’s driving his urge to return:
“… when I left BioWare three years ago, it was the most difficult decision of my career. I needed some time off, needed a bit of change, and wanted to get involved in the new wave of disruptive technologies that were emerging.
“The last few years have been transformative for me, from having time to reflect on what I most want to do, to working with new technologies at platform scale. And now, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to return to lead BioWare – a studio that I think of as home.”
Hudson’s departure from BioWare was not without its controversy. His final shipped product was Mass Effect 3 and he’d taken much of the responsibility for the decisions that led to the game’s unpopular endings. We now know that after Mass Effect 3, Hudson took part in the creation of what would become Anthem. After his departure, the project would be taken over by one Jonathan Warner who still runs the Anthem show. Hudson won’t be retaking Anthem from Warner, but as GM he will have as much influence over the game’s final year of development as he chooses.
Previous BioWare GM Aaryn Flynn is a 17-year veteran of the company and has held the studio’s leadership position through various transitions since the launch of Dragon Age: Origins. Flynn says that he made the decision to depart BioWare only after hearing that Hudson had already made the decision to return. Hudson, it seems, is Flynn’s chosen successor for the General Manager position.
Flynn also wrote a letter to the BioWare community to say goodbye and express his thanks to players for supporting him. After 17 years, it couldn’t have been an easy decision to call it quits, and Flynn’s letter is definitely heavy with emotion:
“In closing, let me thank our players for everything they’ve given us over these many years, and to say from the bottom of my heart how important you are to me and the rest of BioWare. I have gone to work every day knowing that I am fortunate to have all of the opportunities I have had at BioWare because of you. Doing whatever I could to help our developers create some of the best games in the industry for you all has been the most humbling experience of my life. Now, I’ll be playing BioWare’s games in the future from an exciting new perspective – yours ?”
Flynn and Hudson will work together for the forthcoming weeks to get the new General Manager up to speed before Flynn’s official departure. Beyond that, it’s business as usual for BioWare. Anthem‘s still on-track for 2018, and there’s likely several more projects within the studio at varying stages of development to keep moving forward. All in all, this seems to be a rather smooth transition despite how dramatic it may have been at first.
BioWare‘s Anthem is slated to release sometime in fall 2018 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.