Ex-‘Dragon Age’ producer calls term BioWare magic “bullshit”

Mark Darrah uploaded a video about the term to his YouTube channel

Former Dragon Age executive producer Mark Darrah has released a video critical of the term and process of “BioWare magic”.

Darrah uploaded a video to his YouTube channel (thanks PC Gamer) that took a look at the term which became public via a Kotaku report about the development of Anthem. He initially compares development to a “hockey stick” – where “you are going along, not making a ton of visible progress”, which is followed by a “pivot point” where development gets done much quicker.

This uptick is what Darrah says was called BioWare magic, where “things get better really late” which he added was “terrible”. Darrah said it leads to a lost understanding, and development that doesn’t allow for the game to be played and iterated on as it should be.


That said, Darrah makes a point of how having game development follow the smoother cycle isn’t often possible 100 per cent of the time, but that it should be strived for.

“What is BioWare magic? It is shit process, its putting a name on something that’s saying “don’t worry, don’t freak out, because we know at a future date it’s all gonna get faster and it’s all gonna work out.””

Darrah says that this attitude is where delayed games and crunch come from, as the aforementioned “pivot point” can come at any time, or at any angle.

“BioWare magic is bullshit,” he adds. “At least BioWare magic that is used in that way. If you want to use BioWare magic to refer to making characters that are evocative or interesting storytelling, great, use that all day long.”

Dragon Age 4
Dragon Age 4. Credit: BioWare


Darrah says the problem plagues many other studios, as they have difficulty “generating completion urgency earlier in the project”. He continues by saying that “things aren’t finishing. Things are accumulating”.

In December of 2020 both Mark Darrah and Casey Hudson – who was a creative force behind Mass Effect – separately announced they were leaving BioWare. In November of last year it was revealed that the creative director on the upcoming Dragon Age 4 had left the company, with an internal email stating BioWare’s “commitment to a high-quality Dragon Age game has not waivered.”

In other news, a release date has been given for Banjo-Kazooie’s arrival onto Nintendo Switch, and it’s this week.

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