Mass Effect director Casey Hudson leaves BioWare

Andy Chalk at

Casey Hudson's long career at BioWare took him from a technical artist on Neverwinter Nights and MDK2 to the head of the Mass Effect franchise. Now, after 16 years, he's decided to call it quits, saying that it's time for "a much-needed break."

Hudson's credits at BioWare also include Baldur's Gate II and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, but his greatest impact undoubtedly came by way of the sci-fi RPG epic Mass Effect, on which he served as the project director from the beginning to the end. But in a letter posted in full on the BioWare Blog, he said it's time to move on.

"This is without a doubt the most difficult decision of my career," Hudson wrote. "BioWare is as magical a place today as it was when I started. The projects we are working on are some of the most exciting and prestigious in the world. The talent in our teams is second to none. And the people here are some of my closest friends. I’ve spent more time with many of you than my own family, and I have enjoyed every day of it."

He also acknowledged the fans, saying he's "profoundly appreciative" of the part he played in making so many memorable games. "The very idea that so many of you have enjoyed spending time in the worlds we’ve created is the defining achievement of my career, and it’s your support over the years that made it all possible," he wrote.

His departure is unexpected and surprising, but Hudson said that with development on the next Mass Effect well underway and the Edmonton studio ready to begin preproduction on a new IP, this was the best time to make the move. He offered no hint as to what he'll get up to next, however, saying only that he wants to "get perspective on what I really want to do with the next phase of my life, and eventually, take on a new set of challenges."