Bioware has a new GM after seven months. Gary McKay has been given the job, having joined the company at the start of 2020 as a senior director of development operations. But is now the one in charge of the whole operation, including both Austin and Edmonton studios.
McKay most recently came from Navigator Games, responsible for Mobile RPG Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast. But more notably worked for five years running the now defunct Propaganda Games, which created the Turok reboot in 2008 and Tron: Evolution in 2010.
He is also an EA veteran, having been a franchise development director for the company for seven years up to 2005. So he should have a good grasp of the company culture still – EA’s that is, rather than Bioware’s specifically.
His appointment comes as a result of the departure of former GM Casey Hudson, along with Dragon Age exec producer Mark Darrah, back in December 2020. The double departure of two key figures at the same time raised eyebrows at the time.
In a statement McKay seemed to agree that Bioware has had a tricky few years and that his focus was on returning it to former glories.
“When you spend over 20 years in the industry, there are a small handful of studios on your bucket list in terms of teams you’d want to work with — and BioWare is at the top of my list. This studio is unique in that it has an incredible history of building critically successful games and universes that are truly beloved by so many fans. For me, success is all about rebuilding that reputation, and delivering on that promise of quality.”
And he sets out his idea of the role of the GM. “At the heart of the role, you’re setting a vision for the business, and then enabling the creative developers to do their best work as we come together as a team,” he says. “So it’s a blend of operational decisions and creativity, working together to build the best possible experience for our players. There aren’t many roles out there where you’re constantly balancing those things, but that’s what I enjoy the most.”
While employees of the studio, and those looking to join, will likely be buoyed by McKay’s statement that the studio will focus on what it’s best known for, RPGs.
“We’re laser-focused on releasing the types of games BioWare has built a reputation on,” he says: “high-quality console, PC, and online RPG games with rich stories, unforgettable characters, and vast worlds. We continue to work on the next Dragon Age and Mass Effect — and this is a milestone year being the 10th anniversary with more to come from Star Wars: The Old Republic.”