Chris Schlerf, the lead writer for Mass Effect: Andromeda, has left BioWare to join Bungie, presumably to work on the studio's popular Destiny franchise.
Is the long-anticipated Mass Effect: Andromeda suffering a troubled development cycle? One has to wonder, as so little of the game has been shown since its announcement years ago, and BioWare seems to be bleeding top level talent. The latest developer to depart from the studio just happens to be the lead writer for Mass Effect: Andromeda, which could mean bad news for the game.
Mass Effect: Andromeda's lead writer was Chris Schlerf, who joined BioWare in 2014 after serving as lead writer for Halo 4 at 343 Industries. It's unclear exactly when Schlerf left BioWare, but he has indicated on Twitter that it was "months ago." It's also unclear at this point who, if anyone, has replaced Schlerf as lead writer for the new Mass Effect.
Schlerf's departure comes hot off the heels of a couple of other high profile BioWare exits. First it was Mass Effect: Andromeda's development director Chris Wynn, and then just a few weeks ago, Dragon Age's lead writer left BioWare as well. This paints a picture of BioWare in trouble - the development of Mass Effect: Andromeda especially. However, it may not be all doom and gloom.
In fact, Schlerf leaving the project could just be an indication that his services weren't needed anymore. It's possible that Mass Effect: Andromeda is late in development, with no further major writing necessary, and that BioWare is putting the finishing touches on the game in anticipation for its launch within the next year. This would fit in with EA's Mass Effect: Andromeda release timeline, which pegs the game to launch before April of 2017.
So, what's next for Schlerf? As it turns out, he will be continuing his video game writing career, as he has now joined the staff at Bungie. Schlerf will presumably be working to help Bungie craft stories set in the Destiny universe, and possibly has even had a hand in working on the recently confirmed Destiny sequel. With one of the major complaints lobbed at Destiny since the game launched being its lacking narrative, it makes sense for Bungie to seek out a proven sci-fi gaming writer to help flesh out the franchise's lore, and Schlerf should prove to be a good fit.
It will be interesting to see how Chris Schlerf's work on Mass Effect: Andromeda turned out when the game releases in the next year or so. In the meantime, it will also be intriguing to see how Schlerf is able to influence Destiny's universe, and hopefully he will be able to help the series shake off its critics that complain about its shallow plot.
Mass Effect: Andromeda is expected to release before April 1st, 2017 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Source: Game Informer