Casey Hudson is practically a celebrity in gaming, and today, he officially announced his departure from BioWare after a solid 16 years with the company. Many of you might know him best as the lead director behind the Mass Effect trilogy, but Hudson also worked on some of the company's classics, like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Neverwinter Nights.
In two rather heartfelt letters to his peers and the community, Hudson talks about his desire to step back and "hit the reset button." Interestingly (or not so), Hudson was seen during EA's media briefing at E3 in June, promoting BioWare's upcoming mystery IP and the next Mass Effect. He does mention both in his message directed at the BioWare staff, in which he mentions having already completed the foundation for both to progress into full development.
Below is the letter directed at his fellow devs. He does give the impression that this departure has been a long time coming, but after 16 years and several high-profile projects later, this shouldn't come as a surprise.
“After what already feels like a lifetime of extraordinary experiences, I have decided to hit the reset button and move on from BioWare. I’ll take a much needed break, get perspective on what I really want to do with the next phase of my life, and eventually, take on a new set of challenges.
Though there’s never an easy time to make a change like this, I believe this is the best time for it. The foundation of our new IP in Edmonton is complete, and the team is ready to move forward into pre-production on a title that I think will redefine interactive entertainment. Development for the next Mass Effect game is well underway, with stunning assets and playable builds that prove the team is ready to deliver the best Mass Effect experience to date. And the Dragon Age: Inquisition team is putting the final touches on a truly ambitious title with some of the most beautiful visuals I’ve seen in a game.
But while I feel that the time has come, this is without a doubt the most difficult decision of my career. BioWare is as magical a place today as it was when I started. The projects we are working on are some of the most exciting and prestigious in the world. The talent in our teams is second to none. And the people here are some of my closest friends. I’ve spent more time with many of you than my own family, and I have enjoyed every day of it.”
The second part of Hudson's letter addresses the fanbase, the larger community that's so faithful to the BioWare name. He of course thanks everyone for their support and patience, and hopes that the fans will enjoy whatever BioWare has to offer in the future.
“Long before I worked in games, I was fascinated by their ability to transport me to places where amazing and memorable experiences awaited. When I made my very first asset that I knew would actually make it into a game (the laser bolt in MDK2!) I couldn’t believe how fortunate I was to contribute in some small way to the process of creating interactive entertainment.
Now, having led the development of four major titles, I’m profoundly appreciative of the role I’ve been able to play in creating these games. The very idea that so many of you have enjoyed spending time in the worlds we’ve created is the defining achievement of my career, and it’s your support over the years that made it all possible.
I know that I leave our projects in great hands, and I join you in looking forward to playing them.”
Seeing a senior developer like Casey Hudson leave a major studio is never not surprising, but I'd argue that it pales in comparison to the departure of Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, the founders of BioWare. Either way, EA and BioWare will likely continue business as usual.