Dragon Age 4 is notorious at this point for its rough development. The game has been restarted multiple times and doesn’t appear to be much closer to release than it has been for years. Now, former executive producer on the Dragon Age 4, Mark Darrah, has taken umbrage with the phrase “Bioware magic” that is often thrown around.
Darrah describes “Bioware magic” as being like a hockey stick. Where the development of the game increases at a slow incline before it “pivots” upwards dramatically, like a hockey stick. He says the pivot upwards is what people at the studio mean when talking about “Bioware magic”. Things “come together really late” in the development which leads to crunch and delayed games. Darrah said that he hoped this practice had been stamped out at Bioware. However, he was disappointed when he heard of the phrase being used during the development of Anthem.
Darrah also talks about the disconnect between how fans use the phrase “Bioware magic” and how it is used within the studio. Fans often use the term to refer to good characters and “interesting storytelling”. That’s not the case within the studio though.
Darrah also says this is not just the case at Bioware. He says, “This is how it works at a lot of studios. This is what CDProjekt looks like, this is what a ton of games look like.”
Crunch within the video game industry is an issue that has been receiving increased attention over the years. CDProjekt itself claimed to be delaying the release of Cyberpunk 2077 in order to avoid crunch but was later accused of making developers at the studio crunch anyway. Despite the crunch, Cyberpunk 2077 was still released in an unplayable state on last-gen systems. It has taken much of the past year just to get the game functioning how it should have when it was originally released.
For the full video from Mark Darrah, click the source below.