BioWare general manager Aaryn Flynn announced today that after 17 years of service, he is leaving the studio at the end of this month.
Flynn joined BioWare straight after university, got married just as the studio finished Neverwinter Nights, had his first son while wrapping up Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and a second son right after Jade Empire.
He was director of programming on Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age: Origins, and then took over as general manager of BioWare for the development of Dragon Age II, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Mass Effect 3, and Mass Effect Andromeda.
Flynn will be replaced by Mass Effect trilogy director Casey Hudson, who left BioWare three years ago for a position as creative director at Microsoft Studios, where he worked on mixed reality projects for HoloLens.
"I have been contemplating changes in my own life for some time, but when I heard that Casey had confirmed he was up for the task, I realized the opportunities before us," Flynn wrote in a heartfelt post on the BioWare blog.
"From my first day until now, I have learned much, met great colleagues and friends, and got the chance to help give players some truly incredible experiences. Every time I think I’ve found a favourite game making experience, we start something new and somehow find fun and satisfaction in the new challenges.
"In closing, let me thank our players for everything they’ve given us over these many years, and to say from the bottom of my heart how important you are to me and the rest of BioWare.
"I have gone to work every day knowing that I am fortunate to have all of the opportunities I have had at BioWare because of you. Doing whatever I could to help our developers create some of the best games in the industry for you all has been the most humbling experience of my life. Now, I’ll be playing BioWare’s games in the future from an exciting new perspective – yours."
The change comes just months after the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda, a game that many felt didn't live up to expectations.
In June, a Kotaku report claimed that the majority of Andromeda was made in a mere 18 months, and last month that same site claimed BioWare is not working on story DLC and has shelved plans for a sequel.
BioWare is now focussed on Destiny-style shared world shooter Anthem, which is set to come out in late 2018 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Flynn previously served as the director for Anthem, but that role has since been taken over by Jonathan Warner. Prior to his departure from BioWare three years ago, Hudson was also working on Anthem.
In a post on the BioWare blog, Flynn said leaving BioWare was the most difficult decision of his career.
"I needed some time off, needed a bit of change, and wanted to get involved in the new wave of disruptive technologies that were emerging," he wrote.
"The last few years have been transformative for me, from having time to reflect on what I most want to do, to working with new technologies at platform scale. And now, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to return to lead BioWare – a studio that I think of as home.
I’d also like to wish my good friend Aaryn Flynn the very best in the future. Aaryn and I have worked together from the earliest days of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, to setting the foundation for Anthem. We’ve been through a lot together, and we’re all going to miss his presence at the studio," he continued.
"I think I speak for everyone who has worked with Aaryn – and our fans – when I say thank you for everything. BioWare continues to hold a special magic – full of profoundly talented people, and an inspiring creative energy. When I look at the stunning progress Aaryn and the team has made with Anthem, and the other projects in the works, I truly believe our best is yet to come."