Developer Mark Darrah worked at BioWare for years. When the big MMO shooter Anthem was struggling in development, he came along and took over as executive producer. Today he says: The idea that there is a special magic at BioWare that changes everything for the better is bullshit.
What is BioWare Magic? In a major insider report from Kotaku on Anthem’s demise, the term “BioWare Magic” is described (via Kotaku).
“There’s a term in the studio called ‘BioWare Magic’: it’s the belief that no matter how hard a game is in development, it’s all going to come together over the past few months. The game will always merge into something complete. That’s what happened with the Mass Effect trilogy, Dragon Age: Origins, and Inquisition. Seasoned BioWare developers liken it to a hockey stick, it’s flat for a while and then suddenly it goes up. Even when a project looks like a complete failure, there’s a belief that if you work hard enough — and endure the heavy crunch — it will all come together in the end.”
Did this work on Anthem? As we know today, the development of Anthem was catastrophic. The game was somehow finished at the end, but the studio was completely burned out by then. Great difficulties then arose in the systems and in the endgame of the shooter, but the further development of the shooter completely collapsed.
EA made a half-hearted attempt to save the game, but ultimately stopped work on Anthem in February 2021.
So with Anthem, the BioWare magic didn’t work.
Anthem Is Dead – The Short Life and Long Death of EA’s ‘Next Big Thing’
It’s not magic, it’s a horrible way to work
This is what the boss of Anthem says now: In a video, the former head of the game, Mark Darrah, now talks about the BioWare magic and the legendary hockey stick. He says:
- Every time someone says “BioWare” magic, it’s like putting a needle in their brain
- He thought the term was actually eradicated a long time ago, but at least one person used it in Anthem’s development
- the belief that the development of a game is suddenly extremely accelerated very late in the process by “BioWare Magic” is “terrible” – because you don’t even know when you will reach this point where everything happens magically
“What is BioWare Magic? BioWare Magic is a crappy way of working. It means throwing a name at something that means, “Don’t worry. Don’t freak out. We know that on a later day everything will happen quickly and everything will work out.
But the truth is: With this “It will work out” – that’s how crunch arises and how games arise that have to be postponed.”
At the end, Darrah says clearly, “BioWare Magic is bullshit.”
Darrah says it’s not like he wants to pick on BioWare now. It would be done in many studios, including CD Projekt (Cyberpunk 2077).
In any case, people should stop calling this concept “BioWare Magic”, it’s not magic, it’s just a bad way of working.
We recently dealt extensively with the end of Anthem and the crisis of the loot shooter on MeinMMO:
The Great Crisis of Loot Shooters – What Happened to Destiny, The Division and Anthem