Fernando Melo, a senior producer on the upcoming Dragon Age game at BioWare’s Edmonton, Alberta studio, has left the developer after twelve years. He announced his departure just one day after Ben Irving, a lead producer on Anthem at BioWare’s Austin, Texas studio, also revealed that he was leaving the company.
While both senior staff members say their split with the studio is amicable, the news is nonetheless another blow to the venerable company, whose reputation has taken quite a hit in recent years. Over time, the developer has been responsible for some of the most beloved RPGs ever made, including Baldur’s Gate, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect, and, of course, Dragon Age. While some of its games, such as Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3, were regarded as inferior sequels, the studio’s fortunes only began to really change with the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda, which was largely pilloried on its release for a number of reasons, not least of which its extremely mockable facial animations. BioWare followed Andromeda up with Anthem, a highly anticipated game that most players see as an unmitigated disaster, and a possible sign that EA’s ownership of the studio is leading it to ruin.
It could be taken as a worrying sign in light of that that the studio is now losing two veteran producers. Last Friday, Melo shared the news that he was leaving the studio on Twitter. For his part, Melo had nothing but good things to say about his time at BioWare, writing in an email that he shared publicly, “It is unlikely that anything else will ever be able to match that.” According to Melo, he’s leaving to take some time off and decide what the next steps in his career should be. He also said that “Morrison” (the code name for the next Dragon Age game) is on its way to becoming the “definitive” game in the series, and that he looks forward to playing it from a fan’s perspective. Melo also shared a picture of himself writing his name on the rafters of a local BioWare hangout, evidently a tradition for those who’ve left the studio over the years.
Regardless of its current standing, BioWare was once one of the most well regarded game developers in the world, and Melo saw it through some of its halcyon days. He served as senior producer on Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2, then went on to head the studio’s online division before shifting to Mass Effect: Andromeda’s online functions specifically. Melo didn’t work on Anthem, the studio’s first fully online title, instead transitioning to the next Dragon Age game.
While Fernando Melo says that he timed his departure to be the least disruptive to BioWare, the timing certainly looks troubling for those outside the company. Just a day earlier, Ben Irving, lead producer on Anthem, announced that he was leaving for another, unnamed, studio as the beleaguered online game appears to be in free-fall. With no real news on the next games in the Dragon Age or Mass Effect series, it’s hard not to view these two departures as a bad sign for BioWare.
Next: BioWare’s Canceled Dragon Age Was Exactly What The Studio Needed
Source: Fernando Melo/Twitter