Mac Walters, lead writer on Mass Effect 2 and 3 as well as creative director on Mass Effect: Andromeda, has departed BioWare after 19 years at the studio. Walters had been working as the production director for the upcoming Dragon Age: Dreadwolf (opens in new tab), but it looks like that project will have to soldier on without him. Walters announced that he was leaving for new pastures in a post on LinkedIn last weekend (opens in new tab) (via Eurogamer (opens in new tab)).
"At the end of last year I decided to leave BioWare," wrote Walters, even though "These past 19 years have been a life-changing experience [...] and it made the choice to go very difficult". But he left nevertheless, and his LinkedIn career history now lists him as departing his production director position after exactly one year in the role, from January 2022 to January 2023.
It's difficult to know exactly what this means for Dragon Age: Dreadwolf's development. In an interview with, uh, BioWare (opens in new tab) last year, Walters described the production director role like this: "you have the vision for a product you’re helping to uphold [...] but on the producer side, you are also responsible for figuring out how you’re going to support the team in creating that vision". To me, that doesn't sound like the kind of job you can wrap up part way through development and head home, but rather the sort of role that stays necessary until the game hits shelves. If that's the case, this could be a bit of a speed bump for Dragon Age's development.
I've reached out to BioWare to seek clarification on what this means for Dragon Age: Dreadwolf, and will update if I hear back.
As one of the key people behind the entire Mass Effect series (and its remaster: Walters was project director on 2021's Mass Effect: Legendary Edition (opens in new tab)), and with so many years at BioWare, Walters is yet another in a line of studio veterans that have left the company in recent years. 2020 saw the departure of Mass Effect and Dragon Age heads Casey Hudson and Mark Darrah (opens in new tab), while Darrah's replacement Christian Dailey resigned in February (opens in new tab) last year. Whatever BioWare might say, it's hard to believe that Dragon Age's development is all going according to plan.